After the almost-documentary photography of Burning Nest, I wanted to try something a bit creative, and without much expectation of an end result. I bought a job lot of cheap Cokin filters from eBay a while ago, including some shaped bokeh filters, and a multi-image glass filter, that splits the image into 5 parts. While visiting a friend in Norwich, we got some fairy lights out of his loft, and shot a roll of images in the dark using the filters. Then, I rewound the film (being careful to leave the leader out) and re-shot the roll in the nearby woods, Mousehold Heath.
Burning Nest is a yearly celebration of art, music, and alternative culture, held in the UK. It’s a free-spirited celebration, its more-famous sibling being Burning Man, held in Black Rock, Nevada. The Cornwall celebration this year was significantly smaller, hosting around 500 people in the glorious grounds of a stately home (I wonder if they knew what they were letting themselves in for).
I’ve used a trusty Nikon Coolscan IV for years, since I bought it for a song from someone who didn’t really know what it was (sometimes in life, you get lucky). It’s a fantastic scanner – quick, produces scans of decent size, and because it focuses on the film itself, capable of producing sharp results. However, it’s only designed for 35mm film – as I’m shooting more and more 120 film recently, I thought it was (sadly) time to replace it.
I’ve always been drawn to super wide-angle lenses. I don’t know why – a combination of the distortion (reminds me of 90’s skate videos) and being able to get REALLY CLOSE to things and still get a whole background in, maybe. A kind person over on the Talk Photography forums kindly lent me theirs – a 17mm Tamron lens, which I quickly picked up an adaptor for.
If you’re going to try out a new film or a new camera, you usually do one or the other. This reduces your chance of failure, and gives you the opportunity to assess the film or camera properly (without too many new variables). However, on this occasion I decided to throw myself in at the deep end. A new film (Lomography Redscale) and a new camera, the Lomography Konstructor! The Konstructor is a DIY kit camera – lots of plastic bits you put together yourself.
For a while, interior photography was my day job, for a lettings agent. I worked in central London, carting my gear around in the top box of my motorbike and trying not to get my muddy boots on people’s cream-coloured carpets. My gear was minimal – dSLR, 18-22mm lens, on-camera flash and a remote shutter control. No room for a tripod, annoyingly – but we do what we can, with what we have.
We all have to start somewhere. For me, my first camera was a little red plastic thing, that took square photos. I took it on outings to Battersea Park and Crystal Palace, and took lots of blurry photos of pigeons and concrete dinosaurs. My mum diligently took them to Boots to be developed and printed, and then I was hooked.