All posts filed under: Comment

Differing opinions.

For me, a satisfying image has shapes and layers. I was at the SteamPunk festival in Lincoln on Saturday. This image was from the lower half of the city (where there were fewer SteamPunk attendees). I was drawn by the incongruous hat of the SteamPunker – a white military helmet surmounted and enclosed by an Octopus. I use that as the front layer and slightly out of focus, with shoppers passing in the next layer.  The layer which first attracted me contains the Irish Dance Busker making eye contact with the delighted little girl.  Finally, in the last layer of interest is the shop attendant peering out of the window. I find this image satisfying even though it’s far from perfect containing as it does elements others may believe detract from the image. As you maybe aware, my images are just for me so you may not agree. That’s OK. That’s what makes this art form so interesting – alternative views of the same thing and differing opinions.

Camera bags; it’s all bollocks.

A while back I wrote this piece on my personal, non-photographic, site. I’ve re-posted it here as the discussion has awoken again elsewhere. You may know I’m not keen on talking about camera gear.  It’s my opinion the gear you use is not what makes the image.  Just use what you want to so long as you get the picture. However, whatever you use there may be a need to carry it in some sort of bag. The camera bag industry is large, catering as it does to all price points in the huge camera market. I confess. I have had, even still have, a whole slew of camera bags. All of them stuck in a cupboard. I keep telling myself I’ll sell them someday. Really? The first bag of note was an early Billingham. I bought it over 30 years ago. It went with me everywhere. It became my everyday bag when I travelled in the Exhibition Industry. So it had been around a bit. It became that knackered on the inside that I had …

Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay.

An excellent, even essential,  film over on YouTube, for all those interested in photography. Featuring input by photographic greats of the 20thC. Link to youtube video: Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay.   Image credit: Bill Jay photograph copyright of Darius Himes, from SoCal PhotoExchange. The PhotoExchange.

Just how much better are today’s cameras?

The image you see above was taken on a freezing cold, steel gray day which the UK seems to get under high pressure in the winter. Light levels are low and very flat. It was under such trying conditions I decided to test a 1930’e Zeiss Ikon 515/2 camera. The test subject was the city where I live, Lincoln in the East Midlands of England. Hardly the South of France on a sunny day but… I used 400asa Ilford XP2 (c41 film) because I could take it into the local Snappy Snaps shop to get it processed quickly. I’m impatient you see. For those who may be interested, the shot was hand-held with a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second and an aperture of f5.6 It barely froze the people who were walking. This is the camera. It’s a folding camera with bellows separating the film and lens planes. It’s odd and clunky but despite being over 80 years old it’s still serviceable and still produces more than adequate images. It has a focus ring, …

Snapped by a street photographer

I am not a street photographer.

In an e-mail conversation with John Meehan, a founding member, contributor and the editor of the f50 collective, I was rambling on, attempting to explain why I am not a ‘Street Photographer’.   John asked me to flesh  out my view a little and publish, so here it is. I’ve never been happy calling myself a ‘Street Photographer’. There’s something about the term that makes me shudder – especially when the short form ‘togs’ is used. I’m old enough to remember street photographers at seaside towns and in cities across England. See the image above. My great Aunt and her family ‘Snapped’ by a street photographer at a seaside resort.

Vernak camera made in Birmingham.

Don’t Talk Cameras. Use them.

I saw a small piece recently that had a clip by Hunter S. Thompson on focusing too much on the “technicals of photography”. You can read it for yourself here… But this is the element which chimed with me… “When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer. Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything” I’m probably going to upset colleagues when I say… “Don’t talk cameras. Use them”. I admit to once being beguiled by the  equipment. Still, today, I collect cameras – of all types. I have dozens but I’m not really interested in them photographically. I just like old cameras. I shall be putting a few up on this blog from time to time just to share my obsession and to show, by comparison, I suppose, where we have come from and how we …