Social media and photography are two different things, the latter is always more important.
This year, social media wise, has been different for me. During the spring I found I was fed up of chasing likes. I cut down sharing images on Instagram, one of two social media platforms I use (the other being twitter, and even then I don’t use it enough). The singularity of the platform too, means it is difficult to group together images of value, like I can with a blog like this one. It’s also the increasing number of memes, spam bots and irrelevant content, I find myself not browsing Instagram. I am unsure what to do with it, perhaps I will start to use the dreaded phone camera for a visual diary.
Cutting down and separating social media from actual photography has allowed me to think more about photography. Ultimately, what is more important getting likes and posting the same stuff, or progression and experimentation?
According to Instagram’s yearly best nine, these are my “best” photos. They are not.
However, this roll, or grouping, may well be my best. What a roll it was! This sort of grouping is more effective, getting my name and my work out there, rather than Instagram’s singular focused images which are forgotten in 2 days, tops.
Electronic compacts are a fickle bitch, mechanical is the way to go
Compact film cameras with prime lenses are my kryptonite. I like having my tiny mju II in my shirt pocket ready to go, the amazing carl ziess lens of the contax t2, and the cult status plastic brick nikon l35af “Pikaichi” with its punchy sonnar like lens. They are all quirky, convenient, and produce effective images that are more interesting than a digital or phone camera. This is all well and good, however these cameras are dying a slow death with no way to get the tiny complex electronics inside them repaired. Owning a compact, you should be prepared for the day it goes crunk. This happened to me with a ricoh gr1. I ran one roll then poof, nothing. I am now using my small but all mechanical rangefinder, Olympus 35RC, as my everyday film camera.
The Fujifilm x series and the xpro1 is the digital work system for me
When I had a canon SLR, I did various jobs with it. Though, I never felt inspired with it. It was clunky, plastic, and uninspiring unlike my film cameras at the time. Acquiring the xpro1 was a game changer. It’s small, unobtrusive, and requires a different and slower way of working. Rather than burst through a job, I take my time by finding a subject, take two sometimes three shots, changing aperture to make sure depth of field covers subject(s) and move on in a confident manner without looking down at the LCD screen. This sort of confidence is needed. Rather than turning up to a job with a big SLR, which everyone from grandma to granddaughter thinks is professional, you have to show it and let the work speak for itself afterwards.
Medium format, 6×17 is as good as it gets
Going from 6×12 to 6×17 for my panoramic pinhole work made a massive difference from wide to damn right wiiide. For example here is my favourite to 6×12 wide pinhole holga image:
And here is a 6×17 wiiide reality so subtle image of the peak district:
Experimenting with the reality so subtle, I found the extra 5cm of negative sucks in everything in front of the camera, making landscapes almost endless. It’s also fun to pull out 4 large negative images out of the developing tank. The fact that the images are from a pinhole camera too; I’m unashamed that out doing photographers with the latest most expensive kit with a simple box with a hole in it adds to the level of enjoyment.