Photo-Philosophy

Deciding on My Favourite 5 Frames From 2019 (And Maybe A couple of Sneaky Extras) – By Gavin Bain

Good evening and/or morning. My name is Gavin Bain, and I am a black and white film photographer living in Townsville, Australia. Indeed at the time of writing this most of our country is suffering from terrible bushfires so please whatever your belief system, keep us in your thoughts, prayers, seances or whatever your vibe is. Where I live we have been fortunate to not be affected although our friends and family south (where my wife and I grew up) are affected. It’s pretty rare to have big bushfires where we live… but we do get cyclones so we aren’t exempt from the possibility of natural disasters!

Anyway…

I dedicated the month of December 2019 to curating a zine I planned to self publish simply titled “two thousand nineteen”. My goal for this zine was to compile my absolute favourite images I’ve made from the year into a tangible, printed piece of work outside of Instagram. If people were interested in buying it then I would sell it, if not then it was to be something I would have for myself to represent a year of growth. I also liked the idea of being able to show somebody my work rather then open my Instagram to show them.

In the course of curating this zine, I am fairly certain that I decided upon my favourite 5 frames for the year, and I would love to share these images with you all.

If I can indulge in some numbers for a second to support my narrative, in 2019 alone I shot 129 rolls of film and developed them all at home myself. 110 of those rolls were Ilford, 15 of them were Kentmere and I shot 1 roll of Tri-X (I adore it but I can’t afford it). I tell you this, because all 5 of these frames are from the same roll of film, a single roll of Ilford FP4+, shot on the same day in the one camera and somehow they’re all my favourite out of 129 rolls.

I don’t believe they’re anything special in regards to composition, they aren’t world changing journalistic images. But I look at the scans and think, “I really like these images”. The contrast is lovely, the image is relatively sharp, the grain is there but subdued just enough. And I shot them with the camera I take out the least, my Canon AT1. I have nothing against the AT1, I even wrote a review of it on this lovely site, but it’s just not the sexiest or most exotic camera. That Canon FD 50mm f2 has some insane contrast though!

This roll of film was shot with my friend Jayden after a short trip out the back of town, down a dusty back road and eventually over at the back of the town dam.

 

The sneaky extra’s I mentioned in the title were close contenders for the list of favourite 5 images:

In the end, I just printed a test run of the zine. I carried it in my bag with me for a few weeks, flicked through it from time to time, put out polls on my Instagram gauging interest etc, but ultimately I decided not to go ahead with offering it to others. It’s nice, but I want to put out work that I am really proud of. This zine is a nice reflection piece for me, but if I were to present it to somebody else the images would seem messy and disjointed as other people just won’t have the same ties to the images. Plus I couldn’t bring myself to charge people for a copy if I wasn’t proud of it. So I have re-evaluated my goals for 2020, and have decided upon a more refined zine with a cohesive theme that I think should grab people’s attention a little more.

I am titling it “Lifeblood”, which is all I will say for now… Short of adding that it was definitely worth spending the time loking back and reflecting.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Duncan G
    March 1, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Nicely done Gavin! I only started shooting film again in 2019 and am thinking about how best to chart my progress and provide something for me (mostly) to be able to remember by. So, I’m very interested in the zine thing and how practical it is to produce in very small numbers but still at a quality that will satisfy me. If you felt like sharing your experience in curating, collating and producing, I’d be very interested!
    As you say, others aren’t invested in the images but I especially like the ‘extras’ at the end!

  • Reply
    Louis Sousa
    March 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Beautiful imagery Gavin.

  • Reply
    Juan
    March 1, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Nice article. I was waiting for it ever since it was mentioned on the Hypersensitive podcast, and it definitely lives up to the discussion. That last image is absolutely wonderful, by the way.

  • Reply
    Gilberto Agostinho
    March 1, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    I really like these photos, Gavin!

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