I’ve loved photography for as long as I can remember. The 15 rolls of film I wasted (I mean shot) on holiday in Tenerife 25 years ago, the countless hours I spent in the school darkroom developing film for art class projects, or the few thousand photos I took at a wedding and spent a solid week editing, there has always been something about photography that captivates me. One reason must be that it allows me to hide behind the lens, to be the quiet observer instead of being the centre of attention which I don’t particularly care for. I am, essentially, a quiet, socially awkward person.
Wow – this is getting deep and slightly off topic… Let’s get back to photography, shall we?
About 90% of the photos I take these days are shot on an iPhone. It’s convenient, as I always have my phone with me, but I dislike the quality of the photos. Unlike many people I rarely spend more than 10 seconds adjusting or cropping those photos, and since I usually just post them on Instagram quality shouldn’t be much of an issue. In all honesty, I’d much rather be shooting with my trusted Canon EOS 400D and Sigma 30mm f1.4 combo, but the idea of dragging it around everywhere gives me a backache. So I end up relying on my iPhone 5S and only bringing out the DSLR on special occasions.
I spend a lot of time on Flickr. I mean A LOT. I upload all of my photos there and I particularly enjoy the community element of it and I’ve made many friends on Flickr. You don’t really get the same with other photo sharing platforms like 500px or the aforementioned Instagram. By the way, Flickr give everyone 1 TB (that’s a whole Terabyte) of storage for free. As a Pro Account holder I get UNLIMITED storage. Not that I’m ever going to use up even that 1 TB…
About a year ago I grew a particular liking to film photography – through Flickr, of course. I found the graininess and the small imperfections irresistible. Naturally I had to get in on this myself. One could argue – and my friends have – that you can get the same look and feel with a bit of photoshopping. Yeah, you probably can, but to me it’s just not the same. Besides, I’m not very good at photoshopping anyway. So, after very little research and a nail-bitingly fierce eBay bidding war, I secured myself a Pentax ME for £30 in very good condition. After a few months, however, I started to have buyer’s remorse.
Shooting with the Pentax ME is very easy as you don’t get a lot of choice in terms of settings. Just set your aperture, focus and shoot. Somehow I just wasn’t happy with the way the photos turned out. Maybe it was just me not using the camera properly. Perhaps it was the Lomography Store Lab I use to get my films developed and scanned, or perhaps the camera’s just not that good. Who knows. I went on to do a bit more research and found overwhelming evidence that the Canon AE-1 Program is the ultimate film camera still today, nearly 30 years since they’ve stopped manufacturing it. Another eBay bidding war later and I’m now using my new (old) Canon AE-1 Program, hoping to get the first roll developed next week. I shall keep you posted!