July, 2012

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Oxford: Lunch hour session

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The long awaited summer weather has finally arrived here in Oxford and after months of rain we’ve been enjoying scorching hot sun. When the sun comes out people are generally in a good mood and that makes for better conditions to make street portraits. I’ve got quite a backlog of films to process and scan but I’m working through them slowly. Here are some images made on a brand of colour film that I haven’t tried before but I keep hearing and seeing great things about it so I decided to give it a go. So far I love the results. These images are all consecutive frames on the same roll of film. I like how they’re sequenced. As you can see the tv show Lewis is currently being filmed in Oxford and Kevin Whately was nice enough to stop for a quick street portrait in Turl Street.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66, 80/f2.8 lens, loaded with Fuji Pro 400H film, processed and scanned by me.

Top frame: focus puller with the Lewis crew

Top frame: Party shop in Market Street, middle: Kevin Whately, bottom: sound crew working on Lewis.

Top: Michael, middle: Jamie, bottom: conservators working on restoring St Mary's Church.

Oxford: Lunch hour session

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Here’s a little something different, triptych’s. Each set of three frames are consecutive shots on the same roll of film. As I was scanning them I liked how they fitted together and it also shows you the order in which the images were made. While I was waiting to make the image of the walking tour on the steps of the Clarendon Building a man walked past me and I could see by the way his head turned as he walked past that the camera I was holding caught his attention. After he passed me he turned around and came back. We chatted briefly about the Rolleiflex camera that I was holding and he began to tell me about his parents and how they both met while working at the Rolleiflex factory in Germany many years ago. They couldn’t afford to buy the classic twin lens Rollei so instead they bought the cheapest one they could afford (which I think was 35mm). I wish I had made a portrait of the man.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66, Zeiss 80/2.8 lens, loaded with expired Kodak Tri-X film, processed in Kodak HC110 dilution b (1:32).

Top: a bench where I work, middle: Walton Street Post Office, bottom: Richard the tailor.

First two: Little Clarendon Street, third: Broad Street.

Top: Broad Street, middle: Divinity Schools quadrangle, bottom: Nya giving me two thumbs up on Broad Street.

Top: a rare grab shot for me, middle: a barber on Walton Street, bottom: Mick the security guard.

Oxford: BMX riders

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Some more images from my series documenting a local BMX ramp and the people that use it. The first images were made in the morning of my first visit there (Saturday), these were made in the afternoon and the following morning (Sunday).  I found that once the sun had moved around in the afternoon the light was a lot less contrasty and perfect for the group shot of the BMX riders. The group shot was not pre-arranged, the riders had arrived while I was setting up for the shot of the two people sitting on the middle of the ramp. I think they were intrigued by the old skool camera I was using but they were naturally cautious when I asked if I could make a group shot of them. I knew the shot would be worthwhile and once I focused the image on the ground glass screen I was sure it would be. Fortunately I had a sheet of Fuji Veliva Transparency film with me so I was able to make a colour image as well but I’ll try to process that later in the summer. The film is quite expired so there’s no knowing how it will turn out.

The shot of the two BMX riders almost didn’t happen. The rider on the right is Pipe Williams, I photographed him on Polaroid earlier in the summer during Eights Week and we’d loosely arranged to meet up at the ramp during the morning. Just when I thought he wasn’t going to show I started to pack my camera away and it was then that he arrived with another rider. I like how this shot has turned out and the sun went behind a cloud just at the right time to reduce the contrast. They’re both sponsored by Stolen BMX, a bike company.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 with Sinaron 300mm lens on green sensitive x-ray film, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

BMX riders.

Pipe Williams (right) with friend.

I forgot to ask these two guys whether they're skateboarders or BMX riders.

This ramp is due to be torn down at the end of the summer and a new one built.

Middle of the ramp.

A behind the scenes shot of the camera I used.


Oxford: Skaters and riders

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

There is a ramp near my house that is used by skateboarders and BMX riders. It’s been there a very long time. Originally there were two but the higher one slowly rotted away so it was torn down. This weekend I decided to make some portraits there of whoever I came across as a way of documenting the ramp and the people that use it. On my way over there I found out that the ramp is due to be demolished and a new one is going to be built in its place. I’m glad I found this out now rather than when it was too late. My old middle school is next door to where this ramp is so I can remember the time before the ramp was there. I can also remember a time before BMX was popular in the UK. It all started with the movie E.T.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 camera with Sinaron 300mm lens on green sensitive x-ray film (ISO 50), processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Skateboarders. These guys were leaving just as I arrived. Thanks for stopping.

A photographic first? BMX action shot on 10x8.


Oxford: Lunch

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

A new burger restaurant has just opened here in Oxford on George Street, it’s Byron Hamburgers but don’t be fooled by the name because the veggie burger on their menu is mighty tasty. I went for lunch there with two of my work colleagues and I have to say it was a very enjoyable experience, tasty food in a nice atmosphere. I really like both the exterior and interior of the building and the light inside is particularly nice with sunlight streaming in through frosted skylight panels in the ceiling at the back of the restaurant. Of course I happened to have a film camera with me (much to Rachel’s horror), so I couldn’t help making a few images while we waited for our food to arrive. Our waitress did a great job and we were all surprised to find out at the end that we were the first people she’d ever served! I’ll be going back there for sure and hopefully I’ll make some more nice images there when I do.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66 and 80mm lens, loaded with Fuji Acros 100 film. Processed in Kodak HC110 dilution b (1+31).

Stacked shelves.

Rachel's drink.

Water jugs. (Notice the distinctive shaped highlights from the Zeiss 80mm lens).

Some of the friendly staff. Our waitress is on the left.

Nice light on a chair next to our table.

Rachel and Michael.



Test shoot: Helen part 2

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

During my second test shoot with Helen I was able to test out a number of different rolls of film. The shots below are all from the same roll (with this particular camera I only get 10 shots on a roll). This was towards the end of the shoot and we decided to change things up a bit by making use of a nearby tree. Helen showed her excellent climbing skills, barefoot! It was tricky to find a comfortable spot in such a cramped space but I think Helen did a great job. The film I used here is Kodak BW CN which is sadly no longer made. I bought some expired rolls from a photographer who was having a clear out. The advantage was that you could have the film processed at any regular photo lab because it requires colour film chemistry even though it’s a black & white film. This is only the second roll I’ve used of my batch and I really like it so far.

[Tech info:] Pentax 6×7, Kodak BW CN (expired 2009). Processed and scanned by me.

Branching out.


Lean back.

Perched on the edge.

Eye contact.

Looking at the horizon.

Last frame.

Oxford: Pandora’s Box part 2

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Here are some more images from the Pandora’s box themed shoot I did a couple of weeks ago. I had previously photographed a few of these students at the Keble college 2012 summer ball, they liked my shots from there so I was asked if I wanted to make some shots of them all dressed up before their party. This was a really fun shoot with a bunch of very creative people. Those wings were made by Josh from scratch and it was quite a sight to see him walking down the road with them strapped on his back. The location we chose to shoot at was a local lake which had the most beautiful summer evening light but unfortunately we didn’t have very long for photography before they all had to leave for their party. Some Polaroids I made during this shoot can be seen here.

I hope to do more photo shoots like this so please get in touch if you’ve got anything interesting planned.

[Tech info:] Mamiya RB67, 90mm lens, loaded with Fuji NPH400 film. Home processed and scanned by me.

Group shot.

At the water's edge.

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Pandora's Box group shot (I'm the one without a cool outfit).

Oxford: Oriel Ball 2012 pre-shoot

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Here come the girls! I was asked to photograph some students in their ball gowns before they attended the Oriel 2012 commemoration ball and I have to say it turned out to be a really fun photo shoot. These shots are all on film, I previously posted some Polaroid shots from the same shoot. You can see there’s a huge difference in the colour and clarity of film compared to scanning a print.

While we were photographing in the middle of Oxford’s High Street at Queen’s lane the girls literally stopped the traffic (I later found out from someone who happened to be walking past that the traffic was tailed back to Carfax!). I found it hard to choose between these shots so I decided to post more than usual because you get a sense of how fun this photo shoot was. It’s a shame that Oriel didn’t reply to any of my requests to photograph at the actual ball itself.

[Tech info:] Mamiya RB67, 90mm lens, loaded with Fuji NPH 400 rated at ISO 100 and processed as normal. Processing and scanning by me.

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X-ray film test #2

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

A couple more portrait tests with large format 10×8 inch x-ray film. So far I’m very pleased with the results. I want to do some more portraits with this film so please get in touch if you’d like to be photographed.

[Tech info:] Toyo 810G, Nikon 300mm lens @ f11, green sensitive x-ray film rated at ISO 50, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Andy in my studio.

Andy, one light studio test.