The Photography Show Dress Code – By Simon Forster

It’s nearly time for Britain’s biggest photography show, the imaginatively named, The Photography Show. At this year’s event there is going to be a “Mega Analogue Photography Meetup” which I’m assuming will be something of a film users self-help group session.

The meetup (meetup seems to be a word now), has been setup (geddit?) by that popular beat combo, Hamish Gill and The Sunbeams, and promises to be one of the largest gatherings of film minded people in the UK this year. Throngs of analoguers (new word) are being drawn to meet their heroines and heroes to moan about Fujifilm.

The big question that’s on my mind and I suspect many more, is what camera gear should be worn to the event? Traditionally, men have it easy when going out to be seen by one’s peers, just dial in the correct level of shirt, trousers and shoes and be done with it. Women have a much tougher job. Visiting a photography show is different and visiting a show where people will be making judgements upon the gear that is worn, is fraught with difficulties.

What is the correct level of camera (and lens if applicable)?

What film to use? Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto will be there!

Potential options:

Pick out the most expensive well-known German camera and lens combo, that’s sure to get attention assuming that your most expensive gear option is actually expensive. (Don’t take the Nikon & 500mm f/4 that’s just being stupid).

Pick out the most expensive but obscure camera and lens combo, that’s sure to get attention assuming that your most expensive obscure gear option is actually expensive. (Risky if camera and lens do not look expensive).

Go ultra-rare and just wait for the inevitable, “what’s that you’ve got questions?”.

Be controversial and take a digital camera and slap on a film era lens.

Take the “look at me I’m wacky” route and go large format. (Steve Lloyd has a good excuse).

Take the “look at me I’m wacky” route and take a pinhole camera.

Take the “look at me I’m wacky” route and *add inappropriate choice of camera here*

Dress down and take a cheap compact.

Pseudo dress down and take an expensive compact.

#APSRevival starts here…

All of the above options carry perception risks;

Trying to (and succeeding) to look rich. (Not the done thing in the UK).

Trying to be too clever.

Looking for an argument.

Trying to look like you just picked up the first camera that came to hand.

Using gear to imbue a fake a personality…

The list goes on and on, and every choice you make says something about you whether you like it or not.

My tip is to take the camera that will do the best job in the circumstances, whatever that may be.

There is also the cop-out option:

Don’t take a camera as the light is going to be hopeless and nobody ever gets good photos at these events anyway.

I hope this guide has been of use and I look forward to meeting as many of you at the show, and I’ll be bringing whatever camera just happens to at hand on the morning…

The Color-Minotar is one of the more obvious choices

Simon Forster is a host of The Classic Lenses Podcast –

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12 thoughts on “The Photography Show Dress Code – By Simon Forster”

  1. You missed out the don’t take a film camera you haven’t testef or a way out of date film as all the shots you take of the sunny celebraties my be crap

  2. Richard Byrne

    Excellent – but you leave out one important category.
    Those seeking no more than simple pity.
    For them, wearing an Edinex will guarantee gushings of sympathy …

  3. The Sunnies spoke about continuing the get together afterwards at a pub in the NEC complex. I’d like to know until what time people are planning to stay more or less so I can book my train tickets. An open return costs a fortune but if I book a specific train it would be advantageous

  4. Nigel, an untested camera always makes for a great excuse if the photos turn out badly…

    Mike, no it’s not.

    Richard, good point!

    Jeremy, I’m planning to catch a train around 9.30pm and I think I’m not alone in that train of thought. Pun intended.

  5. Last camera show I went to: Leica M Monochrom with a 1936 Carl Zeiss Jena 5cm F1.5 Sonnar, yellow filter, Walz vented hood. I converted the Sonnar to Leica mount myself, using a Jupiter-3 focus mount. Several vendors at the show were interested in how that was done. I’ve also brought the Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 and Nikkor-QC 13.5cm F4, both Leica Mount, with me before. Always nice to walk into a show and find some of the vendors brought stuff along “just for you”.

  6. Ooh, i was thinking along the same lines as Mike, my OM4 was already looking forward to the show. I’ll be driving so if anyone wants a lift from the venue to the pub (probably miles from the venue) I can provide a lift, first three successful applicants only! Maybe to the railway station afterwards too.

  7. Too funny. Many years ago, a buddy & I were shooting up the streets of Gotham City w/our appropriately aged Leica’s (His was an M6, mine was an M2.) I can’t remember if it was MoMA or the MET, but there was great big show of H C-B’s work. We popped in, took in the show and were minding our own business when a young guy & his girlfriend made a point to comment to our faces about our cameras around our necks. We told them that we wore the cameras around our necks so they can see good work, absorb it and be inspired so our photos would be as good as H C-B. They failed to see even a sliver of humor or irony in our comments. Maybe we weren’t dressed correctly.
    BTW, the Sony w/the Minotar looks like it fell prey to headhunters that shrunk the lens. Enjoy the show, have a great time @ the pub.

  8. Oh, it’s in the UK. Then you definitely need to wear an Agilux, Corfield, or Ensign.
    It will definitely make you stand out in the crowd and show those European’s you don’t need them ????????????

    btw, almost fell from my chair laughing when reading the response from Daniel Castelli…

  9. Take a bag of silver nitrite, gelatin, and the window from the downstairs loo. When you get there, keep saying ‘bit dark in ‘ere innit?’

  10. Alpa. You need an Alpa. More expensive than Leica. Swiss, not German. So niche that most people in 2019 have never heard of it.

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