I am a musician and have been spending quite a lot of time in Krakow, especially as it’s a great city for jazz. For the last say 3-4 years I have been enjoying photography especially film photography, this bug started when I bought a Canon digital 750 for the purpose to film gigs and take a few promo shots.
On my free days I found I was walking around Bristol taking pictures on the street. I really didn’t know what I was doing, however it sparked an interest and something that I could only describe as adventurous. It brought back memories of briefly studying photography many years before as part of an art elective for GCSE. I suddenly remembered developing photos in the dark room and all the chemical smells came flooding back. This was when I knew I wanted a film camera.
Cut a long story short, after trying out a few cheap film cameras I realised the Leica M2 stood out after watching a few YouTube videos, I bought one from Reddot (serviced CLA’d). I am really interested in mechanical things , I also love well made automatic watches. I could see a parallel regarding German and Swiss engineering. Firstly I bought two Canon LTM lenses and used an adapter. One was a LTM 50 1.4 and the other was a 35mm 2.8.
These lenses were really nice and cinematic in the way they render the photos. As soon as a started using this set I felt freer enjoying this simplistic approach. There were no buttons or beeping noises to tell me that I was doing something wrong. I figured out the sunny 16 rule and some of the first pictures were hit or miss, although after around a week I was getting some pretty good results in terms of exposure and sharpness.
Carrying around this camera brought me some calmness to my thinking, a kind of meditational walk. As I walk around I am trying to capture micro moments (sorry for my lack of professional terminology). I switch between the 35mm Zeiss Biogon f2 and the 50mm Leica Summicron V5 depending on my mood.
I don’t have a clear strategy when it comes to taking photos, it’s more about spending a day with the camera and see what happens. I personally feel I am documenting my feelings associated with the day. I am really happy with the performance from these lenses, especially the effect they have on film. The portability is ideal.
Again, using film I really enjoy the process of being in the moment and not being being able to see the results straight away. I feel inspired if I get one or two keepers per 36 roll. Having a nice print feels tangible and something worth keeping or giving away as a present. Taking pictures and being interested in film photography has given me the space to think about music a little more freely and it has granted me another way to express myself.
In these pictures I am mainly using Ilford Hp5 or a cheap colour film (Kodak colour plus).
If you want to see more pictures follow me on Instagram gilesbarratt