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Cosina CX-1 review


How the Lomography craze all began…

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be first. The Cosina CX-1 is a Japanese zone-focus camera which was released in 1980. It was small enough to out in your pocket, had an automatic mode for fuss-free shooting, and a sharp, contrasty wide-angle lens.

The CX-1 is a capable little compact camera, but that’s not why it deserves a footnote in photographic history. It’s the fact that it’s the CX-1 that’s responsible for the Soviet Lomo LC-A, the camera that kick-started the Lomography movement, toy camera photography and – perhaps – sparked the rise of Instagram.

The CX-1, you could argue, doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

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52 Photo Tips #17: Use leading lines


This is the 17th post in a series in collaboration with Film’s Not Dead.

Photography draws much from the rules of painting. One of the most important is the use of leading lines.

When our eyes see a line, they instinctively move along it, seeking to follow it to the end. Painters and artists have used it to great effect – creating what’s known as the ‘vanishing point’. And for photographers, those leading lines are everywhere – both in the man-made world and the natural.

Using leading lines – a road, a fence, the sweep of a shoreline – is one of the easiest ways to make an image more powerful.

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Heavy Trash in concert

Heavy Trash's drummer/bass player Sam Baker

Heavy Trash’s drummer/bass player Sam Baker

Rock ‘n’ roll is dead – at least as far as record sales go. Album sales dwindle with every passing year. It’s in the live arena that it’s at its healthiest. Bands tour now like they did in the 60s. You get paid to show up and play, and anything else on top of that is a bonus.

For 20-odd years I was a music journalist, first in New Zealand, then in London. I went to hundreds upon hundreds of gigs, in venues big and small. A decade go, I started shooting bands for my project capturing bands during soundchecks. Before then, I’d only shot a handful of live gigs. I went to those shows as a reviewer, not a photographer.

Times change. Now, the prospect of capturing a band on film is too good to miss up, especially when that band includes an old friend and means I won’t have to head for the exit after only three songs.

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52 Photo Tips #16: Frames within frames


Framed with a frame, on the streets of Ljubljana

This is the 16th post in a series in collaboration with Film’s Not Dead.

The frame within a frame is one of the simplest tricks in the photographic armoury.

It’s up there with the rule of thirds as a classic toll to improve your photography. And once you start using it, you’ll find it can hugely improve otherwise flat scenes.

Creating a “false frame’ within the composition helps bring attention to your subject. The good thing too is that these frames within a frame exist in many forms – in the streets, in buildings, and out in the great wide open.

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Analogue travel: Zorki Photo on the road


The flash of a passing train, somewhere in Morocco

Photography and travel go hand in hand. For years before I began this blog, I’ve been travelling as much as I can – and always with camera and film in tow.

Living in London the last few decades has meant I’ve been able to indulge in city breaks and longer trips; from the Greek Islands to the Trans-Siberian, Morocco to Copenhagen, and Istanbul to Lisbon.

Capturing them on film is all part of the fun. Below are all the travel posts so far – with, I hope, many more still to come.  Read More