Latest Posts

Soundcheck Sessions: Buffalo Tom, Ghent, 2007

streaks

Shooting soundchecks makes you work creatively with light. It’s rare to find the stage flooded with light. Instead, you have to make the most of those isolated pool of light, and use them to your advantage.

Often that’s from one of the house lights, shining down on the musicians or their equipment. But not always.

Shooting Iron and Wine back in 2006, I framed Sam Beam in front of the hard, bright light of a projector beaming it’s blinding glare from the mixing desk. And on tour with Buffalo Tom a year later in Belgium, The back of the stage presented another dramatic scene.

Read More

Alexei Leonov: The first man to walk in space

leonov5_sd_1100

Exit stage right, pursued by a spaceman…

Alexei Leonov is a man of historic distinction. On 18 March 1965, at the age of 30, Leonov spent 12 minutes and nine seconds doing what no human being had ever done before. He became the first man to walk in space.

The images of Leonov floating high above our Earth, the letters CCCP stencilled on his space suit helmet became a symbol of Soviet technical prowess and ambition. But Leonov barely survived this first space walk.

The temperature and exertion caused him to sweat uncontrollably. The space suit he was wearing inflated so much in the vacuum that he found it almost impossible to re-enter the spacecraft. He deflated the space suit, changing the pressure so much that he risked an agonising death from the bends. An ignominious end; stewing in his own sweat, a space-age doorstop that would have meant his cosmonaut colleague Pavel Belyayev was doomed to die in space as well.

Read More

Camera reviews on Zorki Photo

9289287353_d44a68dec5_k

(Credit: Martin Pettitt/Flickr)

During the century or so that film held sway, thousands of different cameras were produced. They ranged from the most basic point and shoot to gloriously sophisticated, precision-made instruments. There was even the odd ones designed to look like a Coke can, a pack of cigarettes or Disney big cheese Mickey Mouse.

I don’t own thousands of cameras, but I have a few dozen, and part of the reason for writing this blog is to show other photographers and film fans what they might be capable of. Here’s a round-up of the first 10 cameras reviewed on Zorki Photo – from some simple Soviet SLRs to an analogue throwback in the digital age.

Read More

Exhibition: Soundcheck Sessions, Lomography Soho, London

2963335985_d81cb4655c_o

Tom Maginnis of Buffalo Tom, shot during soundcheck in Ghent, Belgium in 2007

Shooting a photographic project – especially one that stretches over the years – is often a private affair. You shoot images which sit awaiting to be edited for weeks and months and years… the sense of accomplishment when they start seeing the light of day can be really rewarding.

Since 2004, I’ve been shooting my Soundcheck Sessions project in venues around the world. The idea, I think, is simple; shooting bands on black and white film, while they are soundchecking ahead of the night’s concert. There’s no flash and no posing; this is documentary-style shooting in empty, echoing venues.

After 25-odd bands and hundreds of rolls of film, I started exhibiting the project last year. Ten years seemed like a good point to take stock and start editing down shots for a collection that might one day make a book. After my debut show at the Zorki Photo Café in Cluj-Napoca, Romania last September and the Au Chat Noir café in Paris this March, my first London exhibition opened last Thursday at the Lomography Soho Gallery Store in central London.

Read More

52 Photo Tips #12: Keep film cool

IMG_0572

(Pic: James Butler/Flickr)

This is the 13th post in a series in collaboration with Film’s Not Dead.

Some films will degrade sooner than others; pro-level film, made to much stricter requirements, is less robust than the cheapest consumer film. But with all of it, the clock is ticking, as soon as it comes off the factory floor.

Different types of film, of course, expire in different ways. Slide films expire in a different way to colour negative films. Black and white films tend to expire less dramatically than colours films. And the fast the film speed, the more pronounced the effects will be – in colour rendition, sensitivity to light and contrast.

But there is one simple way to ensure your film stays in good shooting condition for as long as possible – keep it cool. The fridge is perfect, and if you have room in your freezer, that’s even better. Read More