The Whole Roll

38 frames / A Whole Roll of Fujicolor C200 in a Canon Snappy LXII – #FullRollFriday – by David Hume

April 9, 2021

This is part of a project I’ve had going for a while. It’s about aesthetics and observation. I’m trying to strip everything I can out of the process of making an image and then see what’s left.

Each summer for the past thirty-odd years we’ve spent a couple of weeks here at the same beach.

The idea is that every now and again I’ll walk out of the front of our house and stand in the same spot near the sea, point the camera in the same direction and make a frame.

I started this in  2019, skipped 2020 and am back in to it in 2021.  I have the idea of maybe getting it up to 100 frames over a few years, and planning to do it again in 2022.

I made my little Canon Snappy shoot square images by putting plastic flags inside the frame. I wanted square images but I was all dogma about not wanting to crop. This was part of the deal – no changes to the image once I’d pressed the shutter.

So – the process was just this; the light would grab me for some reason so I’d pick up the camera and make a frame. Just whenever I felt like it – when I thought it would look good, I guess. I’d do this at odd times over the two weeks we were there.

Part of the idea was to explore the nature of  the part the photographer plays. I’m trying to minimise my input by using a point and shoot and not adjusting any of the frames – no cropping, no curves, no tweaking the files – just using them completely as they were.

It’s a very simple camera and there really was no skill involved. All I did was press the shutter. I could give instructions and anyone could do it, I guess.

In the time since I started the project I’d also started to develop my ideas about repetition; using repetition as a tool to make the observer look more closely.

Initially I’d called the project “Dave’s Boring Pictures of the Beach”.  I was really doing everything I could to make these “nothing” photos.  I’ve deliberately tried to take any skill out of the process. Once the photos are made I’m abdicating any editorial responsibility.

You may feel that I’m succeeding admirably in making a boring piece of shit; I won’t be offended if you let me know this in the comments because I’m still genuinely scratching my head over this.  And yet – the process did yield something interesting in terms of making work to exhibit. The show I had in 2020 that contained the first lot of these  was well received. It might not work on a website, but walking up and down past a bunch of  55cm prints on a wall did seem to work. If you want to see more about that exhibition – here’s a link.

If you count – there are only 28 square images here. This year I screwed up; By mistake I used a roll that I’d already put into my Olympus Trip 35 for another project. I thought the film wasn’t winding on, but it was. I didn’t bother to mark the film as a partially used one because I thought all the exposures were made over the same frame. I just put it back in the fridge and forgot I’d used it. But the film actually had been  winding on so about 10 frames had already been exposed. (Because the Trip winds left to right and the Snappy winds the other way, the Snappy shots are upside down in relation to the Trip’s.)

I thought I’d show them because it is a #fullroll after all – but I did learn something also. I often use a technique of only partially winding on the film so my frames overlap – I’m getting good result from this.

That process has an element of chance to it. You never know how far you’ve would on the film, or exactly where the framing will be.  I’m getting better at it as I go along, but there are lots of variables at play and the results are always slightly unexpected and not really possible to plan too exactly. What I didn’t get from this roll though was any happy accidents. There are parts of these frames that do contain some nice elements, but it also made me realise that my random shooting is actually planned more closely than I thought.

So there you go: out of this roll I’ve got 28 images that I might use one day, and I’ve learned something too. Thanks for reading and I hope there’s something useful and enjoyable in there. Cheers.

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  • Reply
    Michael Sherman
    April 9, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    I think it’s interesting and a great project. Keep it up. I also like to see something that doesn’t revolve around a person and focuses on doing something as simply as possible. No reviews to give us GAS, no muse, just the sea and a point and shoot. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Kevin Ortner
    April 9, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    It’s your view but so un-unique. We’ve all been there (except for those who have never seen the open ocean). Thanks for sharing this!

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 9, 2021 at 9:03 pm

      Cheers Kevin, you’re welcome! Yes – part of what fascinates me is that anyone could have done this but then, no one did. Or are they really pictures of the sea or are they self portraits? Once I did a series of paintings that were all just blank horizons, and the series was called “Figure in the Landscape”. The idea being, of course that any painting tells you something about the artist.

  • Reply
    Ted Ostrowski
    April 9, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Great project David. It reminds me of the 1995 movie “Smoke” were Harvey Keitel plays a smoke shop merchant that photographs the same corner his shop is located at every day. The shots are all the same but different too. Hope the link transfers as active. All best from Western Canada mate.

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 9, 2021 at 9:36 pm

      Hey – thanks Ted! The link didn’t work but I googled it and was able to find it. It’s great; I had not come across that film (movie) before. (I’m a fan of Harvey Keitel though.) I’ll check it out further. Yeah – if the shots are the same then the differences are revealed, eh. A shot of a cloud over the sea is different when it’s placed next to a shot of the same bit of sea where there’s no cloud… thanks again.

      • Reply
        Ted Ostrowski
        April 9, 2021 at 9:41 pm

        NP David, too bad it didn’t link to the clip, if you its on Youtube as Smoke (2/12) Movie CLIP – Auggie’s Photo Album (1995) H
        Happy shooting 🙂

        • Reply
          David Hume
          April 9, 2021 at 9:47 pm

          Cool- got it now thanks. Very interesting movie…

          Actually – this just reminded me I am currently doing a public art project called “The Brown Hill Tree” where I went and took a whole bunch of photos of the same tree from the same place at different times. It got funded to make an artwork so there you go!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I really like the conglomeration of the images.
    I don’t find it boring at all, looking at it (for me) is contemplative and relaxing.

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 9, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      Cheers Huss! It’s an interesting distinction maybe, between quiet contemplation and being put to sleep. I wonder if there might be a bunch of 35mmc readers who just fell asleep at their screens?

  • Reply
    Harry Houchins
    April 10, 2021 at 2:37 am

    Years ago I saw a major Impressionist exhibit at the LA County Museum. They built a round, dark room and placed a circular couch in the center of this room. The room was painted black and around the walls was the complete set of Monet’s “Haystacks.”
    Brilliant, lovingly presented. I spent over an hour there enthralled by his light and his talent. The same stack over and over again, but, not…
    Your project is worthy…

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 10, 2021 at 2:55 am

      Thanks Harry – I’m a big Monet fan and I love his haystacks. One of the cool things about posting here and the conversations it starts is that it allows me to see my own stuff in different ways, and see new relationships between older bits of work. It reveals themes I hadn’t recognised. Thanks for that! I don’t know why, but the image of one of Monet’s red haystacks that just appeared in my head also made me think of a pomegranate series I did:

  • Reply
    Brian Nicholls
    April 10, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Why not just call this, ‘Painting With Light?’ because that’s what comes across to me as the main determinant of your work here. More or less a ‘Kodak Moment’ as George Eastman once famously said. Yeah, I like it. I keep going back to it. Keep the faith David!

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 10, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Cheers Brian – yeah I reckon I’ll keep going with this 😉

  • Reply
    Stefan Wilde
    April 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    I love this! The sea is one hell of an emotional subject – here the emotion is calm. Reminds me of a digital series I made. I was crossing the same bridge on my bicycle ride to the office every morning and I took a picture from the same position every morning. It was fun to see that in more than 100 pictures, no 2 were looking the same… Keep this going! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 10, 2021 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Stefan – thanks for that observation. As I’ve mentioned in comments to some other people’s observations it’s so lovely to hear what others are doing and how one idea might resonate with others. I’m learning a lot here from what people are saying: “The emotion is calm.” So nice – thanks for that.

  • Reply
    John Squillace
    April 10, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    I love both the project and your modified Canon Snappyblad!

    • Reply
      David Hume
      April 10, 2021 at 10:10 pm

      Snappyblad! Love that name thanks. Yeah at age five my grandfather gave me an Agfa Rapid that shot 24×24 on 35mm film. Always loved the square. I was actually thinking of modifying my Fuji GA645i to shoot 45×45 like the old 127 format, but given that it’s worth a grand that seemed a bit excessive…

  • Reply
    Keith W
    April 11, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Super work David. It’s almost, and I know this sounds a bit daft, like a stationary panorama. I guess the images also link with the way so many people just stand looking at the sea, almost meditating

    Looking at the images as a whole, it’s the colours that strike me and I can understand why it made a successful exhibition. Do you use the same film and processing procedure each time?

    Thanks for a fascinating and thought-provoking read.

  • Reply
    David Hume
    April 11, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Hi Keith – not daft at all! The whole stationary panorama/moving panorama thing is something I’ve been grappling with, so it’s gratifying that it resonated with you… I did a sort of moving panorama also on 35mmc as FullRoll Friday here;

    And yes – while it contradicts a bit of the other stuff I’ve said here, for this project I’m using the same old bog standard Fuji C200, sending it to the same lab (bless them for their patience with me) and then doing nothing with the scans they send back.

    Cheers, David.

  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    July 5, 2021 at 4:03 am

    Hi Dave,
    Better late than never…just got around to reading your great article! I like it because, on the surface, it’s stupidly simple. But, really take time to look, and your series is complex, subtle and quite artistic. I could see this as a large scale poster, or a self-published book. BTW, the term ‘stupidly simple’ was one my fellow teachers & I would tell our students. I taught tech ed (shop class) for 35 years & we always told our budding auto mechanics & graphic designers not to overthink the task at hand.
    Well done.

    • Reply
      David Hume
      July 5, 2021 at 4:10 am

      Cheers Dan! Thanks for stopping by… Yeah, I like your thoughts, and it’s something that occurred to me too. I enjoy how my work is getting simpler and simpler. 😊

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