Here’s some shots from one of my vintage cameras. These are taken with a Kodak Vest Pocket, a camera which many soldiers took to the trenches with them during world war one, my particular one dates to about 1920. This venerable piece of photographic kit is still in working order and until recently you could still buy the 127 roll film that it uses. Word on the grapevine is that it’ll soon be manufactured again as it’s in demand from vintage camera enthusiasts. 127 cameras were being manufactured right up to the 1960’s, albeit far removed from the pre-war folding cameras.
The lens as you can imagine on such an old camera is primitive and bedevilled by much distortion and bending of the image. If you’re going to use these cameras in the city expect street lights and buildings to be bending towards the road, and probably round the corner too, so you have to think hard about what you photograph, and how. Obviously, it’s great for taking shots of groups of people, that was the camera’s purpose by and large. You can get reasonable results assuming the day isn’t too dull. If it is you can expect images which are largely underexposed, like some of the examples above.
These pictures were taken a few years ago just before the film size went out of production and feature several views of London together with a couple of the river Arno in Florence.
More about the camera here: http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Vest_Pocket_Kodak
Vanishing point on a bridge over the North Circular Road. A pretty bleak corner of the London borough of Brent, human beings have no business being on foot. You never see anyone there, just the endless traffic speeding past on their way to or from Ikea and Tesco. It’s not the kind of place I’d like to be on my own after dark but with model Peter Mitchell in tow on a weekday afternoon it was a pretty safe bet we’d be able to photograph without me being relieved of my camera by a passing mugger, or indeed see someone relieving themselves. It’s that kinda place.
Feeling blue…. well this photograph hasn’t been filtered so it pretty much was a case of feeling blue. Not to mention perishing cold. Taken in Thingvellir National Park in Iceland (or Þjóðgarðurinn á Þingvöllum if you really want to break someone’s jaw…) this was the absolute depths of winter, not long before Christmas 2013. Daylight hours are few, with dawn at 11am and sunset at 3pm and the sun always very low in the sky. Get an overcast day and it doesn’t get light at all. Luckily on my trip the sun shone the whole time which meant, unfortunately that it got colder. And colder. And colder. At -17 I told the weather to get real and stop, which it did. I have the power. So I risked life and limb, well shutter finger, to take this picture at Þjóðgarðurinn á Þingvöllum (smirk). Overlooking the lake of Þ(th)ingvallavatn the sun had set about half an hour before but thanks to the more or less clear skies and reflection from the snow it was possible to take this photo without a tripod. Miraculously, because despite multiple layers of clothes, hat, hood, gloves and thick woollen scarf I was still shivering my tits off. Thank god for an image stabilising lens. The blue light reflecting from the snow was contrasted with the pale pink of the recently set sun leaving this view in front of me. How could anyone take a bad picture when presented with such a stunning view. It’s had hardly any Photoshop, just a little shadowing in the corners to help draw the eyes to the centre of the picture but it’s essentially an ‘in camera’ shot.
For the travellers among you, the national park is easy to get to from Reykjavik. It’s very much on the tourist trail and just a couple of hours drive from the city. You can hire a car or go on one of the many organised trips. Personally I hate being dragged around the sights by a stuffed full of facts guide on a coach but with the intense temperatures, icy and narrow country roads and overall wilderness its one of those times where, in winter at least, its the preferable option. These trips are usually combined with spectacular Geysir and the lava plains from where you can see the slumbering peak of the Katla volcano, a source of grave concern to the Icelandic government and those in Europe who would be affected by ash. Much larger than Eyjafjallajökull which caused so much disruption a few years ago, Katla is considered to be overdue and there is no question it will eventually blow, the question is simply a case of ‘when’.
Someone’s been playing around with King’s Cross station and it’s not Harry Potter and his platform 9¾. Like much of the surrounding area the station’s had a whole shedload of money thrown at it and the dirty, grimy and hopelessly depressing station has been transformed into something bright and airy, a focal point for the inventive and exiting redevelopment taking place all around. From a place where you had to avoid drug dealers, users and prostitutes, King’s Cross is almost beyond recognition. The station is almost worth the exorbitant fares.
Another foray into the nude arts, or in my case, new arts. I’ve been experimenting on people for a while, so to speak, gaining some experience of model photography. I made this poor soul lie in an ‘S’ shape on a hard wooden floor, with the aim of getting, well, an S shape. There’s just a hint of something a bit private and that was my aim, to suggest rather than show. It’s something I’d like to do more of and I’m hoping to get some studio experience soon. If ya fancy being a practice session drop me a line.
Well this is a shot of Portugal. Well OK not Portugal per se…. but one of her sons who kindly got his kit off for one of my rare forays into model photography and even rarer forays into nudity. I like it because it’s all about someone who’s not an airbrushed 22 year old model but a real person who also happens to be a very nice guy. And hairy. Did I mention the hairy?
The picture’s called ‘Hairy’ in case you’re wondering.
A bit of colourfulness for these drab, dark January days. To state the bloody obvious, it was taken at Camden Lock which, for the non-Brits amongst you, is a slightly edgy, very arty, somewhat shambolic and endlessly street-trendy area of north London famed for, in no particular order street fashion, herbal cannabis, the horse hospital, Amy Winehouse, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and the Regents Canal.
And the well known photographer Cliff Docherty :p