Shutterings and Mutterings: A Creative Blog

Bluebells in Beckenham Place Park taken with pinhole camera

It's A Long Road Back...

I was rather alarmed to realise that it's nearly two years since I updated this site in any way.

Lockdown Loopiness stagnated into lockdown boredom and physical inactivity - was it safe to go out or wasn't it? I was allowed to return to face-to-face teaching in May 2021 and I've been rather busy with a major project linked in with that...

The result of staying at home all day, every day, and never venturing further than the supermarket has taken its toll and I find my energy levels have dropped alarmingly. I use a step counter app on my phone to monitor my activity and I can see that days when I'm teaching a practical class, moving around between student desks - one moment giving advice, then rushing over to another screen to rescue something that appeared to be lost - are they days when I clock up the highest number of steps.

However, when Spring 2022 finally decided to show itself I made a trip out to the bluebell wood at Beckenham Place Park armed with pinhole cameras to revive my interest in lensless photography.

Two things startled me. First, I realised the last box of 120 films I bought expired in 2018... Crumbs - I'd clearly been away from serious film photography for a long time... Secondly, I found there were films sitting in cameras that had probably been there since at least 2018 and were well over their expiry dates when I finally got them out for processing.

Expired film used to be considered a great no-no but now colour shifts, along with light leaks, overlapping frames and double exposure, such as the one below, are my idea of a creative result. That doesn't mean I completely reject digital photography - it's essential for the images needed for immediate publication and being able to check results as I go along when I'm experimenting is a godsend. However, it is fun to slow down, shoot some film and do some old fashioned waiting.

Anyway, the bluebells looked - and smelled - beautiful and there some pleasing results from the expired films... Bluebells in Beckenham Place Park taken with pinhole camera

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Blog Extras

Where did you photograph the bluebells? The bluebells were at Beckenham Place Park, once part of a mansion estate, later a golf course and now an attractive public park in the borough of Lewisham, south east London. Beckenham Place Park website.

Where did you get the pinhole camera? The camera used for the two shots here were taken with a camera made in Poland by a craftsman named Cezary Bartczak. He sells his cameras through a shop on Etsy called vermeercameras. vermeercameras shopfront on Etsy

Where do you buy your films and where do you get them processed? I buy most of my film from Mr Cad in central London. I get a lot of my processing done through Mr Cad but this time I wanted them processed quickly and tried a place called Rapid Eye Darkrooms in Shoreditch, East London. They were very helpful - I'd definitely use them again.

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