"Don’t let other people’s expectations limit your creativity."
Tell us about yourself.
I’m 32 from Birmingham, England and I fix computers for my day job.
(Have you tried turning it off and on again?)
When and how did the film journey begin for you?
I started taking pictures with a DSLR in my twenties but got bored with how flat the images looked and the ‘noise’ was horrible.
My wife bought me an analogue camera and I loved it – the manual focus, grain and nature of the process were all completely new to me. I could be more playful with it and I was learning with every shot.
I don’t believe either medium is inherently better but for me, using film is more exciting and I couldn’t get the same results without it.
What Could we always find in your gear bag?
Whatever fits. If I’m out to shoot, I’ll chuck in my Hasselblad, an autofocus with B/W film, my Polaroid SX-70 and some kind of toy camera.
For everyday use, I always carry a compact 35mm like my Contax T2. You never know when you might see the factory down the road set on fire or cross paths with a particularly good cat.
What camera makes you click?
I wrote a whole article about how indestructible and brilliant Yashica T4 was and then I lost it falling down a mountain. Then I became obsessed with the Lomo LC-A+ because of how easy it is to create multiple exposures but the electrics packed up last week.
However, I’m a magpie and love a good deal so I’ve always got something to use. Lately, looking down at my Hasselblad is a very comforting experience.
Who are your models?
Mostly they are my wife, cat and close friends. I don’t give much direction and just try to catch something real.
If I see an interesting stranger, I tell them they look fantastic and ask to take a picture.
What inspires you most?
Everything can be interesting but I’m drawn to the unusual and transgressive, the weirder the better.
Seeing photography in ‘real life’ is necessary and vital, an online image might be engaging but a print in a gallery can be spectacular. You gain so much more, both visually and emotionally, in a dedicated space that is curated by people who love the medium.
Exhibitions by Bruce Davidson, Diane Arbus and Alec Soth have all had a powerful impact on me.
I’m lucky enough to live in a city that has several contemporary galleries, community dark rooms and creative spaces. Birmingham is very inspiring.
Do you have any advice for film photographers out there?
Learn how your camera works and then take it everywhere. Henri Cartier-Bresson said that your first 10,000 photographs are your worst, so shoot whatever you are interested in, make art part of your life and even if your pictures aren’t great yet, at least you had a good time.
Find a community, either local or online, that promotes honest discussion and thoughtful criticism. Ask questions, share your knowledge and learn from others’ experience. Know that photography is always a collaboration with your subject, audience and context.
Craft and technique are important but not as much as the way you ‘see’ and represent an evocative moment. Don’t let other people’s expectations limit your creativity.