Over the past couple of months I have been experimenting with film cameras both colour, black & white, 35mm and 120mm alongside my digital photography. I have taken my film cameras with me on some recent explorations and trips and feel for my final MA outcome the use of analogue photography will be a central component.
As the ideas behind my work have continued to develop film photography feels more and more appropriate to express those concepts further. I am interested in the idea that the everyday can be an extraordinary adventure if we allow ourselves to break free from the control which "normality" exerts over us. The idea that we are conditioned into a certain perspective upon our lives and our city through the distraction of consumerism, norms and non places.
But it is also about authenticity of experience and place, of memory and traces, history and culture. But not those which have been removed, sterilised and pre-packaged. It is about existence, about noticing what most over look and seeing the potential the everyday has. It is about individuality and taking your own journey and not allowing yourself to be weighed down by a false safety net, it is about daring to fail. I am interested in capturing the found languages and codes in the city, the ephemera, left over traces and quirks of the everyday urban landscape.
Using film instead of digital: The more I think about it the more I feel that film has more and more connections to my work. Of course there is the element of history that comes with film, the process and the look and texture which just can't be replicated in the same way on photoshop. You instantly know if a photo was taken using film and it is that association with something historical that automatically gives these images that sense of nostalgia and atmosphere I wanted.
I also used expired film for my 35mm colour images which gives nice colour tones which are reminiscent of old photographs taken in the 70's, it also adds to the unpredictability of the process. As someone who is a relative new comer to the world of analogue photography I am used to being able to see my image straight away, adjust my settings or focus and go again, but with film you are never quite sure you have captured the image in the way you intended, it adds to that excitement and I feel relates to the idea of wanting to get lost and explore the unknown crevasses of your city or a country half the world away.
I also have played with light leaks by opening the back of the camera which again adds to the uncertainty of the process and adds that element of "danger" as the whole film could end up ruined. Light leaks also give the images an air of mystery or a with holding of information, it makes them more abstract and encourages more interpretation. It relates to both the idea of the individual interpretation, intelligence and thought but also the idea of there being something out there we are not seeing, not allowing ourselves to experience because of our obedience of the cities norms.
Black and white film also allows the tones of the images to come out much more and the atmosphere and history to be more strongly reflected. It related to the places I have been exploring recently, abandoned mills and factories that dominate the landscape and history of the North West. These places were at the time the epitome of the everyday entrapment, but now they have fallen out of normality and become uncanny relics of themselves and that era. I like how my photographs represent their misplace of reality and time, my photos look like they could belong to the place, to the time before and yet show it in it's current condition.
I have some more film in my Pentax k1000 which I will be getting developed shortly as well as much more awareness of how my photographs come out. I want to experiment further with the light leaks, especially with my Diana/ 120mm film. I am also interested in playing with the negatives, scanning them through collected glass or textures, more double exposures and also looking at distressing the prints themselves or even the negatives.
I have also taken my cameras out and about on my recent trips to Budapest and Wales and you can see some of those images below. Using film whist travelling again relates to that anticipation and unpredictability which stepping into the unknown brings. I also used the last exposure on my pug! :-)
See more photos in this collection on my facebook page:Film Photography/ Lomography album