2018: Photographic Ups and Downs

I think it’s fair to say that 2018 has been rough on most people. Personally, I will be glad to see the back of it – there were some good times, but overall my feeling is that it was a big bag of shite.

Photography-wise, I feel like I didn’t really get much done. I started the year with a group of good friends as is our tradition, partying and unwinding at a remote location somewhere in the UK. Last year we all made the trip to a remote lighthouse, got battered by the wind and wondered if the long, cold halls were home to ghosts. My XA4 recorded the ensuing mess pretty well, and I’ll be bringing it along again for this year’s outing.


March saw the birth of The Great Pinholio: a pinhole camera I made over an afternoon, from foam board, paint, bits of a broken Recesky TLR, and a couple of hairbands. For an effectively free camera (minus the cost of the tin of cider I used for the pinhole section), it produced some interesting results, and I’d like to continue exploring pinhole photography next year, probably with some sturdier and more light-tight cameras.


My DIY experiments continued in April, when I extracted the 6-month image from my DIY Solargraph camera. Solargraphs are definitely something I’ll be trying again, in different locations around Bristol – I have a proper Solarcan now, and I’ve also recently collected two more coffee cans to turn into low-cost cameras.

This year, the camera I used more than any other, was the Olympus XA4. Also the subject of my first article with Casual Photophile, who I started working with this year, the XA4 was a trusty companion and a way of making images with less effort, when I felt like my creative energy was at a low ebb. I went back to Burning Nest this year in May, and although I took fewer shots than last year, I used a wider variety of cameras – a Lomo Fisheye and Automat also helped capture a selection of fun photos.


Real life sadly got in the way of photographic endeavours in the middle of the year, but in the last couple of months I feel like I’m getting back into my stride. I’ve now got a beautiful 4×5 Chroma camera in my possession, and next year I will buy a lens and learn to use it. I’ve also been trying out a couple of different K-mount SLR bodies – the Vivitar V3800N was lovely to use, but the broken meter is an annoyance, so I’ve splashed out a whole £20 on a Chinon CE-4 that has the same multi-exposure functionality. Stay tuned for a test roll in the new year.

holkham portra 800-13

If I’ve learned anything from the hellscape of 2018, it’s that low-stress, fun or toy photography is the way to go, if I’m feeling low or uninspired. Trying to learn new techniques if you’re in a mood is never going to be successful, so stick to what you know, until the mood passes. I’ve also really enjoyed writing more on the subject of photographic techniques, cameras I enjoy, and related topics – it’s great to have a prompt when you’re feeling useless.

Photography Resolutions for 2019:

  1. Get a large format lens for the Chroma, and take 10 photos with it
  2. Finish setting up the darkroom at home, and print 10 images successfully
  3. Keep writing!

What are your resolutions for 2019? What did you enjoy doing in the last year? Let me know!


6 thoughts on “2018: Photographic Ups and Downs

  1. Nice summary of your year, and I’m enjoying your work on CP!

    1. Charlotte Davis 17/12/2018 — 7:25 pm

      Thanks very much Jim! I’ve really enjoyed having a reason to write, it makes a big difference.

  2. nice set of goals and great summary of the year 🙂 it seems that you have learned quite a lot over the past year, about photography and about yourself, even with real life getting in the way.

    1. Charlotte Davis 17/12/2018 — 10:19 pm

      Thanks, it doesn’t always feel like it but even small amounts of progress is still progress! Hoping for a calmer 2019 🙂 What are your photo plans for next year?

  3. Marcus didius falco (@falcos2012) 17/03/2019 — 12:14 pm

    Dear Charlotte,
    Good solid set of of resolutions for 2019.

    Mine are:
    1/Shoot a minimum of 40 rolls of film(120 & 135)
    2/Shoot & explore Infrared pictures using different film stocks
    3/Take part in a print exchange
    4/Organise a series of PhotoWalks

    1. Charlotte Davis 17/03/2019 — 12:48 pm

      40 rolls is a great target!

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