What brought you to the medium of photography?
This is going to sound like an incredibly on-the-nose statement, but I was brought to photography as I’m an incredibly visual person. I like to draw diagrams, write things out, take pictures in order to express what I’m talking about. I’ve always been into making images and telling stories, ever since visiting the cinema with my dad as a kid it’s what I’ve always wanted to do - take pictures, tell stories.
I constantly bugged my dad to take photos on his camera, I had an APS camera as a kid, but being a small plastic point and shoot style camera it never had that luxury build quality of an SLR. I was always eager to take photos with it and once in a blue moon I’d be given the privilege of handling the families pride and joy - not something parents would willingly let a 7 year-old do.
I guess I’ve always enjoyed photography on the whole, from those days, through my studies in which I’d always be the designated photographer, all the way up until now where the obsession has only continued to grow.
Why have you chosen to work with analogue photography in the era of digital?
It’s the tactile nature of film. It’s physical and, excuse the pun, it’s all smoke and mirrors. Harking back to the time of getting back from your holidays and taking the film rolls to the chemist and then waiting several days for the photos to come back and see what you’d got. The sheer surprise of flipping through each prints and not only reminiscing but anticipating whether or not the next photo would have come out well or not.
Not only that but the look. When you choose your stock you’re almost locking yourself into a look. Sure it can be tweaked digitally after the fact, but having that locked in starting point and grain structure is something you cant easily recreate flawlessly with digital. Choosing the film, loading the film (hell even bulk loading the film), shooting each individual frame, knowing how many photos you have on a roll and that each exposure counts and costs money excites me, it’s a thrill each time you press the shutter. Something you just don’t get with digital. The fear of not knowing if your shot is successful or not. It’s exhilarating.
My full time job is actually as an Editor / VFX Editor in the Film and TV Industry and I first started out working in a film lab helping to digitise rushes on night shifts, so I have a bit of a love affair with film for both my professional work and my hobby. There’s something about see a 35mm print of a movie in the theatre that sets it apart from watch a movie digitally, there’s just something ultimately more magical about the experience.
What’s going on in photography (or the art world) now that excites you?
There’s so much out there its hard to define, but the thing that really makes me happiest in photography is the Film Community, the people that gravitate towards it and immerse themselves in it are some of the nicest people I’ve met.
Film is building bigger and bigger community ever since its resurgence and for me its been nothing but positive. The likes of The Sunny16 Podcast, Negative Positives and The Film Photography Project, not to mention all the Kodak / KosmoFoto / Lomography sponsored photowalks (particularly in London) organised by Anil Mistry, Stephen Dowling from KosmoFoto, Robert of London Camera Project and Martin Westen of Photowalk.me are all hugely responsible for growing the good nature of the film community. It all feels very open access and inclusive. There’s no snobbery, almost everyone seems to be happy to offer advice on shooting, developing, printing and it really helps to attract people into shooting film.
What’s your film stock('s) of choice?
Bloody hell, the tough questions are coming out now! I’m not a die hard for one particular stock, but if I like one I will shoot a heap of it or at least stock up on it. I went through a phase of shooting Fuji Neopan Acros 100 a fair bit in both 120 and 35mm, then thankfully received a bunch of Kosmo Foto which gave me some incredible results and will certainly be revisiting.
I’m currently using up some Kodak Tri-X 400 Bulk roll and I’m eagerly awaiting a 100ft roll of Orwo N75. I absolutely LOVE Orwo N74 thought the slightly new version of this film can only be even more satisfying right? So I can’t wait to load that into my bulk loader and start shooting it! When it comes to colour I’m a sucker for trends, Lomography Colour Negative stocks are all incredibly good for the price, especially the 800. If I’ve got money to burn feed me Portra all day long.
What are the inspirations (or driving forces) behind the project?
So the 4 Stops Zine project was my way of collaborating with different folks from around the world. Most people I speak to who are film photographers typically have Instagram and through various channels I’ve ended up speaking to a multiple of people from around the globe, all of which have their own unique style or approach. I really wanted to work with as many of them as possible so creating 4 Stops was a manageable way to work with all these incredible photographers and feature in a zine alongside them. The idea is that we all come from different walks of life and the idea of 4 Stops is to juxtapose not only each photographers work technique and process, but also their subject matter.
Each volume of 4 Stops will have a different theme and typically the theme will cater towards the types of photographers selected in order to really focus on playing to each person’s talent. All in all though my inspiration is the community itself, as I said before its been so open and welcoming it’s just spurned me on to work on this awesome project. Each volume basically funds the next one so if one volume doesn’t do so well there likely wont be another one afterwards so I’d love to keep it going as long as possible, especially as Ive had interest from over 50 photographers worldwide now, so hopefully there’ll be many more volumes to come!
Give us a Business or creative you would like to collaborate with and why?
All 50 that have shown interest in the project so far! There’s some great photographers in there and I really hope each Volume gets the backing to be able to continue making the series. Just having so many people wanting to collaborate and get their work out there along with others is enough for me to want to work with collaborate with someone. Outside of that I’m really an amateur and a hobbyist so it’d be a dream to watch someone like Anton Corbijn work - his work is phenomenal, his music videos were incredibly inspiring to me as that’s what I stumbled upon first then got into his photography work. I’m not a portrait photographer in the slightest but if I could masquerade as someone else’s style it’d be him!
Who's work are you really digging at the moment (can be current artists’ or someone you've recently come across)
Today is actually my birthday and my wife just bought me a Glen E Friedman book, I love his work, again not really the sort of style I shoot but I’m always intrigued with that 80s culture and especially some of the photos took of the iconic music artists of the time. I also got Magnum Contact Sheets and it feels a bit like if you combine the two books you’d get Contact High which all in all is my favourite book, seeing the rest of the shots on the roll from incredibly iconic photographs from album covers and sleeves is awesome. It’s a peek behind the curtain and also inspires me to shoot the same subject until I get the shot I want which sometimes on the street I’m sometimes so in the moment I forget I can easily do that.
What is life when you're not shooting?
It’s hard to escape film for me.... I work in the film industry, admittedly not many films are shot on film anymore but still it’s a completely visual medium as I work in Editorial helping to cut a movie together. I have actually worked with physical film on a movie but it’s been a good 10 years at least. I recently was VFX Editor in Mission Impossible Fallout (which was shot on film) and prior to that both Kingsman movies. It’s a heap of fun working with ace people and especially fun to collaborate with some incredible talent. I love being part of a cut take shape and watching the story come together and change, it’s fascinating how different inflections and tone in a line delivery can change a whole scene.
Have you got any advice for photographers/creatives looking to do work in a similar field?
Always carry a camera, don’t make it too complicated and shoot what you like. Don’t follow trends, go with the flow and if something catches your eye snap it. If you think it’s a seriously good photo, someone else out there probably will too so put it out there. Make a zine, sell prints, it’s incredibly hard work especially in such a competitive and throwaway environment but once you do it’ll be so rewarding and make it all worthwhile. I put my first zine out this year and I’m incredibly proud of it, go do the same.