A Photographer's Journal - May 2018

Leica M7 loaded with Kodak Portra 160 at Mount Barney National Park.

Hey, hi. It's been a little while since I wrote a decent photographer's journal. The truth is that the last few months have been a deeply personal wake up call, and has resulted in a fundamental shift in the relationship I have with photography as a form of artistic expression and why I want to practice it in my daily life.

Quitting social media pulled the rose-coloured veil from my eyes and planted me square back into the real world, and I realised I had a lot of work to do, and little idea of where to start. The acting classes I've been taking in recent weeks have been so beneficial to my state of mind and approach to my personal life that I feel a growing momentum of intrigue into the field as something I should continue to study and be involved in, regardless of any long term goals that might be easily dreamt up.

On the subject of photography, I had an epiphany recently during the collation and publishing of my latest Colour post. I had been experimenting with more colour film photography using my Leica M7 and the Yashica Mat 124G 6x6 that I purchased recently, and found myself falling for the results, no matter how they differed from my digital camera images, technically and visually.

Furthermore, the West End Camera Club had it's latest meet up at GOMA's local cafe and I decided to take out the now dusty (figuratively) digital Leica M and shoot some square format portraits in the style of the Yashica, since I had discovered it was flawed optically and not worth wasting more film with. The digital photographs, on the other hand, were technically fine but when I imported them into Lightroom and began to process them, I realised that I had very little enthusiasm for them as actual photographs. I ended up closing Lightroom and leaving them.

It was in that moment that I think I finally accepted black and white and colour film, no matter the cost or pain, as the medium I should practice my personal photography in. There is so much in film photography that digital erases from the process, along with the characteristics of the images themselves, that I sorely missed, and felt no connection to the images I had shot on the day. They felt like "image files" and no more.

From loading a roll of film and advancing every frame manually, collecting images on a little bundle of silver halide on plastic and developing them later, to the pre-visualisation and photographic skills required to shoot to a medium where you cannot see your images until potentially days and weeks later. Film just feels so much more natural to me as my photographic art form now.

20180521_151407 Rollieflex 2.8D, 6x6, Twin Lens Reflex, Camera, TLR, Film, 120 Medium Format.jpg

So... I managed to win a Rolleiflex 2.8D in really great working condition, similar the one I owned in 2014 and much better than the cheap Yashica I was hoping would fill the role. It's on its way along with a ton of 35mm and 120 format film to keep shooting.

I've always had a fascination and preference for 6x6 ground glass photography, especially with portraiture, that it felt like an opportunity I shouldn't pass up, despite the lightening effect it had on my bank account. I may have to start selling some things to balance the scales.

In the meantime, here are six portraits I made on a friend's Hasselblad 6x6 SLR with an 80mm F2.8 lens, the same configuration as the Rolleiflex.