After a slow start blog-wise to 2021 things picked up apace and from March to July I averaged around ten posts each month. I never set a monthly target for blog posts, preferring to only post when I’ve something to say, but nevertheless like to see a healthy output of writing to complement the photography.
One of the projects that I started in May was a new zine, entitled A Sense of Place, which brought together a series of images all made in or around water. My “happy place” as it were, as I love being beside water be it the sea, a river, a lake or a reservoir – I even enjoy the rain sometimes! The initial intention was to print and sell the zine to recover my costs but ultimately I made it available to anyone who wanted it via the ISSUU website.
Also in May was a very small set of images made with a swing lens panoramic camera in the back streets of Halifax town centre. The resultant images, documented in a blog post entitled “Here Be Rats”, were a totally unexpected hit on Twitter and amongst my favourite images of 2021.
In June I wrote “An Ode to a Wooden Box”, a blog post that subsequently became another zine which I gifted to my friends in the Twitter #believeinfilm community. I really enjoyed all my excursions with my various pinhole cameras over the course of 2021 using them for my “365”, in urban settings at home and whilst away from home, on the sea shore and in fact at pretty much every location I visited during the year. For obvious reasons my travel was severely restricted this year but I still managed to get quite a large number of films through my pinhole cameras over the twelve months.
June also saw the start of an ongoing project that came to dominate the blog in July. A series of “dry” posts chronicled my entry into the world of dry glass plates using both my large format Intrepid 5×4 camera and also my 5×4 pinhole cameras (a Titan and a Zero Image). Over the Winter months I paused the project but there are a supply of plates in my cellar awaiting the Spring when I will resume my experiments. A very niche subject in a relatively niche hobby I guess.
July saw another essay, this time pondering on the longevity of digital images as a source of family memories. It was more than anything a plea to print out these precious memories rather than trust to the anonymity of a computer hard drive or the inimitable cloud drive where I suspect so many family memories fester unseen. My large format pinhole camera continued its travels on it’s “world” tour and the growing group of participants kept up a lively and often irreverent discussion online. Meanwhile, I continued to expose film in my pinhole cameras and develop an even fonder affection for the genre.
I am not a huge podcast follower but there are a small number that I tune into fairly regularly. One of these is The Lensless Podcast so you can imagine my pleasure at being invited to take part in an episode during July 2021. I was apprehensive to start but it turned out to be one of the highlights of my photographic year. The host, Andrew, coined the phrase “a photographic butterfly” when introducing me and that indeed does describe my current approach to the hobby as I have eagerly attempted a host of new challenges throughout the year and indeed have plans for more in 2022.
As a further development on the panoramic theme, and not content with using the various panoramic cameras at my disposal, I chose a half-frame camera to create, in-camera, joiner-style panoramic such as the one above which uses six consecutive frames from an Olympus EE3. I also “discovered” Rollei Blackbird during 2021 which in the right situations proved to be a fabulous film.
This was the second part of my 2021 retrospective, I’ve deliberately refrained from putting “nth of x” because I’ve not yet written subsequent parts … we will see when we get to the end how many parts there were!