A few weeks back I attended a film photography workshop hosted by Johnny Patience in London and it was organised alongside something called LNDNWLK - a photo walk around the streets of London for photographers of all calibers. This was the third one of its kind in London but they have them in a few other cities as well. I think NYCWLK 1.0 is next in September for example. I'm sure if you check out Johnny's twitter feed you'll get wind of them all. Below are a few gems from the workshop and the walk that I wanted to share.
When thinking back on the workshop the one thing that sticks with me was from the introductions. We were each talking a bit about ourselves and how we feel about film photography. I was last in line to talk and as I listened to everyone's stories I realised how similar we all feel about film photography. A lot of us previously had other creative interests - acting for and music for example. I've dabbled in both but music is something I spent a fair bit of time with in my youth. I started with the piano from a very early age and moved on to a range of other instruments as I got older. The interest faded though and I've never really put much thought into why that was. Listening to all these talented people something occurred to me. All this time playing music - I was never creating music. Sure I made the music happen but I was always playing someone else's notes. Be it a cover of a Green Day tune from my punk phase or an song written by my talented friend Michael Rendell - it was never my own.
I don't think I gave it much thought when I first picked up my grandpa's old Minolta for the first time. As I shoot more and more I better understand why it means so much more to me. Those images you see here on this site and the countless images I've shot and not deemed worthy - they're all my creations. Good or bad - I made them. And that's why photography means so much more to me than any music I ever played in my youth.
The mechanical part helps. There are so many things I love about shooting film. The mechanics is definitely a factor. It's all so tactile. Turn a dial here, rotate a ring there, adjust the focus. And don't forget to move your hands, arms or feet to frame up your creation. I believe the word is "compose".
Once the walk started I wasn't quite sure what to expect. This was the first time I've ever been to a photo walk myself so I had no idea of what's meant to happen. Whenever I'm out travelling one thing I hate is when I see something to shoot and someone else is already there taking a picture of it. While I'm sure there's lots to be said about how our photos would have different interpretations of the scene etc - I just don't like the idea of copying someone else. With that in mind I'm sure you can appreciate how the photo walk could be a bit of a challenge. That being said - I was happily surprised. I used the walk mainly to just talk and connect with a bunch of other interesting and talented photographers, share ideas and experiences. It was more of an inspiration walk than anything else to be honest. Sure - I shot a few frames but it was no surprise that at the end of the walk I had shot maybe a single roll out of the five rolls of Portra I got from the workshop. I had half a roll of Portra in the camera already and I just received the scans back from Richard Photo Lab while the other roll was the start of a new batch to be sent in later. Here's my experience of the day:
I can't thank all the organisers enough. Johnny Patience, Rebecca Lily as well as Mathieu Gasquet and Heather Broster of MirrorLessons. You all did a fantastic job setting this all up and I had an amazing time. Thanks so much! I can't wait to go to the next one.
- All images in this post are shot on Kodak Portra 400 using Johnny's brilliant advice to overexpose a few stops and they've been developed and scanned by the oh so talented folks at Richard Photo Lab. I'd strongly recommend them to any film photographer.