OK – here’s my #fullrollfriday. I love this concept. There’s so much to think about. Why do we make photos? What is our intent?
How do we gauge the success of an image? Is it tied purely to purpose, or can we hope for something that lies beyond the specific and is universal?
So – I jumped in to my LR catalogue and had a look. I decided to stay away from the pretentious shit and leap in with a roll of good old-fashioned snapshots. Like in the olden days. It’s a holiday – buy a roll of film and away we go! This roll records the time I went away for a long weekend and shot one roll as a record of my trip.
The camera: a $5 op-shop Canon Snappy LXII. Fixed focus 35mm f4.5 lens Shutter speeds 1/45 to 1/200 Auto DX of 100 and 400. I recall I had just found this at the shop near where I live – so it’s also the first roll with this camera. It’s actually a pretty usable camera for this sort of thing. I liked it because the viewfinder is huge, because it’s easy to switch off the flash, and it takes AAs. After this trip I modified it so it now shoots 24mmx24mm.
The film: Kodak GC 400 (Ultramax) 24 Exposures (Cheap as). I guess I didn’t want to waste a roll of Portra in an untested camera, but I never buy 24 exp. rolls except by mistake.
So as well as testing out the camera, I had in mind I would record my trip and tell the story of my long weekend in a photo essay. (Which I did – there’s a link to the essay at the end so you can see which shots I used for that)
In September 2018 I put my bike in the van and drove by myself up to Ikara/Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. It’s about 450km from where I live. The plan was to stay in the van and do day-rides on dirt roads and fire trails in the Flinders.
Well – that was fun. What did I learn from this? For one thing I overshot! Initially I thought this was quite a tight roll – but there’s still too much crap on it.
On the other hand, it’s a roll that did what it set out to do. I’d have to say that in all honesty I’m pretty happy to have used a 24 roll on a cheap compact to tell a story. I think I only realised while going through this process that in retrospect I actually had a plan.
The plan was to make a story for a very specific audience. There’s a bunch of people who like riding their bikes on these trails in the Flinders, and this is for them.
I’m guessing people living in the UK might find rain a bit mundane, but over here, rain is a big deal. It’s rare, and if it rains it’s usually a boggy mess up there, so to be able to do what I did is a bit of a treat.
As I mentioned at the start, I also made a photo essay for my bike buddies. If you want to see how I used this roll in that essay, and which shots I picked – here it is.
What I continue to learn is the importance of having a specific intent when going out shooting. I’ve been shooting for ages but I’m only just starting to understand this. Maybe now I’m getting confident enough in my skill and and aesthetic that I can begin to think about how I actually want to USE what I know to try and get a meaningful result. On the other hand there is no skill at all in using a Canon Snappy LXII (bless it). It’s the whole point of the camera! Bear in mind too that this was 18 months ago, and I think I was on a bit of a wank at this point about deep observation and only shooting what you know. Making it true and good in some sort of Hemingway/Cezanne pastiche.
Anyway, I’ve certainly learned a lot just in the past couple of years, and I must say that engaging with a bunch of like-minded folks and knocking ideas around is a big part of it. So – keep contributing everyone!