Compact Photographers

35mm Compact Photographer #7 – Alan Duff – A Hiking Street Shooter

September 23, 2013

First, a bit of background? As much or as little as you are comfortable sharing… Name, Where you are from, what you do, What else in life do you enjoy? that sort of thing?

I’m Alan Duff, originally from Dublin in Ireland and now living and working in London.

How long have you been taking photos?

I started to really take photos about 7 years ago as my girlfriend at the time had an SLR and took wonderful photos. I wanted to be able to take as good a portrait of her as she could take of me. Shortly after I bought my first DSLR and a few weeks I bought an Olympus OM10 to help me work out what words like aperture, shutter speed and ISO meant! That camera then led to me loving the look of film and the joy of waiting to get a roll developed to see how your intended photo turned out.

What sort of photography do you enjoy or partake in the most (street, landscape, etc)

As much as I like to say I’m a street photographer, having recently looked through my archive I may be wrong… I enjoy street shots but also enjoy hiking  and that means I take a lot of landscape shots.

How big a part of your photography life are 35mm compact cameras?

All depends what you deem a compact! Most of my equipment is pretty small but if I was pushed into giving an answer I’d say 20%.

What about the experience of shooting with them appeals to you?

I enjoy different styles of shooting, but one of the things which I enjoy about shooting with something like the Olympus mju II is people think you’re crazy for bringing a small camera up to your face!

Apart from that though, it’s the fact that it is SO small and pocketable and it’s “weatherproof” so I bring a compact film camera to more places and I know it has a superb lens and is capable of great prints.

Do you feel they have affected your style? Become part of it? Or are the reason for it…?

Possibly, my film shooting has a noticeable effect on my digital shooting, making me think more and consider each frame.

Having the mju II is probably partly responsible for my purchasing a Fuji X100 a couple of years ago, larger and less durable camera, but very small, superb lens and small and light.

Which is/are your favourite cameras? the one/s that go with you the most?

The camera that comes with me the most is a Fuji x100, after that it is my Olympus OM4ti as I got a bargain 135mm lens and am finding the focal length very liberating! Then it’s the mju II, I tend to choose cameras based on activity, and working in an office everyday means the Fuji is able to come with me in a bag.

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What is it specifically about these cameras that appeal to you so much?

Compactness, fixed focal length, great lens and in the case of the mju II the fact it is weatherproof means I can continue shooting and not worry about my camera.

What was the path to this shooting habit? How did you discover it appealed to you?

For me it was discovering that I loved the view through a 35mm lens, from there I wanted something more portable than my SLR, something I could bring to music festivals and nights out and still get great results and shoot film.

Show us your favourite/best image/s taken with a compact camera?

What films do you shoot with and why?

I’m a big fan of Fuji Pro400H for colour negative, in B&W I shoot a lot of Ilford XP2 and I slowly go through my remaining rolls of my favourite ever film Fuji Neopan 1600, sadly discontinued.

How, where, why do you process and or print your photos?

I tend to use a trusted shop, when I still lived in Ireland I used the same store for all my developing and printing, if you’re ever in Dublin Gunns on Wexford st is a must visit. Now that I live in London I’ve settled on a store but am planning to develop my own film in the near future in Photofusion in Brixton.

What other cameras/type of camera do you regularly shoot with and why – what situations require something else/more if any?

My other cameras are an Olympus OM4Ti, a Contax 167MT, Olympus 35SP, 35DC and my digital Fuji x100. The Fuji probably gets the most use followed by the OM as an OM10 was my first SLR and it is the camera that helped me to develop my photography.

I’ve started to move away from my preferred 35mm focal length lately so now I find myself picking up the SLR’s to shoot at 135mm, I’ve found it liberating and challenging, especially as I have tried and succeeded to do street photography with a telephoto!

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