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Sunday, 18 March 2018

6x6 medium format portraits

Since owning my lovely Bronica SQ camera, and embarking on a new side-project of basic portraiture, I've had at least three conversations along the lines of 'why is this better?' from people who find it a bizarre piece of kit to drag around in the 21st Century.

Indeed, the camera directly contends with the trajectory of modern camera technology, and products in general; it's huge, heavy, expensive, and quite removed from the 'instantaneous' or easy when it comes to capturing that decisive moment. 

So, why indeed. Well, I could argue its the crop. There's something appealing about a square format photograph, solidly framed by the remaining negative. I could say it's the superior lens quality which captures shadows/highlights, sharpness and blur in the way that digital couldn't, or any of those other purist ideas that get thrown around most often... that for the most part are probably nonsense. 

I would argue that the high-end digital camera market could probably replicate a lot of these things. Heck, your mobile phone could probably replicate a lot of these things. You could throw a photograph into Lightroom, crop the image square and stick some borders in, and most people would be none the wiser.

It's not really a matter of quality, but rather a matter of craft. When I'm shooting 35mm on my digital camera, I'm safe in the knowledge that if someone is blinking or I've blurred the shot, I can easily take more... in fact I can take thousands more.  If you're shooting with a Bronica SQ, everything is manual, and thus it's in your hands. Light readings have to be taken with a separate light meter, your photographs have to be composed, focused and accurately exposed by your hand alone... and if you have the means, don't even get me started on developing film. 

This might sound laborious, but it creates a sense of worth to every photograph you successfully make. The below images aren't fleeting snapshots, they're consciously arranged, and there's a sense of victory when they come out right.

So, much like the guy toiling in his garage to build a bookcase rather than dropping £40 at IKEA, the traditional means of image making, and particularly medium to large format photography, still retains a degree of skill and sense of reward, that I don't believe digital, by its very nature, is capable of contending with.

Bronica SQ selfie Medium format camera

medium format black and white photograph
My friend David at the coffee house, Reading

TMAX 400 black and white medium format photograph
Little brother, Dutty, at Artigianos Wine Bar, Reading



Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The camera is dead, long live the camera

 The problem with usually being pissed when taking photographs is that the life expectancy of my cameras is pretty low. Indeed, the Christmas period saw my flashy Olympus suffering so many impacts on the dutty asphalt that most of my images have been lost and I've had to resume the diary without festive 2017 on record.

Since having the camera working again, I've taken a couple of neat sets from the weekend:

I'm also happy to introduce a medium format 6x6 Bronica SQ to my camera collection so have been working on a portrait series which begins here:

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Double visioning, Bruges & Bowling

Probably the last entry for 2017. Photography has been a constant but editing for the blog has taken a downturn. The final months of this year has seen some picturesque ventures to Bath, Bruges, and attempting a brief respite from the constant pub environment by doing some bowling... while drinking obviously. I've found its one of the wholesome activities that's pleasantly compatible with alcohol; a future akin to The Dude wouldn''t be so bad.

Kyle, Ross, Dutty & I. Another photograph of us oddly disparate siblings.
Oakford Social, Reading

Josh @ The Purple Turtle, Reading

Sparky celebrating David's infamous genitals

Back of Beyond, Reading

In Bruges

In Bruges

The Beer museum, Bruges

In Bruges

In Bruges
Anticipation, Wokingham Superbowl
Double vision I

Camden Market, London
Double Vision II (Punch & Judy pub, Covent Garden, London)
Camden Market, London
Double vision III, (The Northern Line underground train, London)

Wokingham train station

Double vision IV

Double vision V


Hanging' around

Friday, 15 September 2017

Paradigm shift

Some rather frugal editing has been made of the months May 2017 - September 2017.

I've long been obsessed by the Flatiron building in NYC ever since I saw Edward Steichen's image from 1904. I tried to straight rip it during my visit to the states but my angle maybe a little off. Anyway, it's profound to see these buildings (and trees) in person having glimpsed them from a time when top hats were in vogue.
The Flatiron, May 2017

The Flatiron, Edward Steichen, 1904

Manhattan bridge from Brooklyn

Liberty Island

Raquel and Leigh, Newquay Cornwall

Gamblers Anonymous coin

Josh and Frankie

Alex, Back of Beyond, Reading

Dutty, Kings Meadow, Reading

David with skateboard


Dutty getting inked at Bristol Tattoo Convention

Dad getting inked at Bristol Tattoo convention

Figueira da Foz, Portugal

David skating outside Reading station
Legend, Butchers Arms pub, Reading

Legend, Kings Meadow, Reading

Ben and Chris at Milk, Reading

Raquel, College Green, Bristol

Leigh, Newquay Cornwall

Raquel, Weymouth


Raquel, Weymouth