How to not get into Photography

I’m not quite sure why I did it; the t-shirt I was wearing, something on Instagram, or a joke from the summer are my current suspects. Whatever the case, in mid-October, I bought a camera. An Olympus Trip 35 to be precise.

If you have seen my Instagram, you know how awful my usual photos are. For those that haven’t, my feed is mostly pictures from gigs, where I take a single photo of each act as quickly as possible on an old iPhone.

Clearly, this would have to change.

Throughout the three rolls I have shot and developed, I have tried to think more about what I photographed. Lighting, focus, and how good something actually looks have become more important. I take more photos than before, because I notice more things that may look good than before.

Film has without a doubt been kind to me so far. Kodak Gold 200 has been my film of choice, solely because it is the cheapest I could find. To me, it feels exactly as I want film to. Slightly grainy, with saturated but not intense colour, and sharp enough to look clean while not so sharp as high quality digital or medium format photos. Sure, I’ve taken some absolutely awful pictures, but those have been entirely down to me setting apertures or focus wrong, or having unsteady hands, or just a bad eye for what will come out well.

When I got the camera, we were fortunate enough to have pretty bright weather. They’re not the most exciting, but actually look like decent photos to me. They do a good job of capturing a fragment of Uni life, and bring back memories, which to me is what’s most important with personal photography – a connection.

This is later in October. It’s a shame we didn’t get all the pumpkins lit up, but I think given the variety in the carvings, the darkness outside, and the bottles behind them, it all works as a complete composition. The second photo was shot from the kitchen window, honestly just on a whim. Seeing ‘skyline’ photography that isn’t all dramatic skies and towering structures is a nice change of pace. Without the Orbit in the background, we could be pretty much anywhere.

What can I say, I love cats! The ten minutes I spent on a floating cat shelter in Amsterdam were too adorable for words. Everything in the room seemed to be perfect for snapping some pictures, so I had to. The light and shadow just worked, and somehow I managed to not forget to focus the camera and got some decent shots.

This is my favourite photo on the three rolls. Mid-afternoon, Chamonix, I think New Year’s Eve. The gradient of the sky and the mountain tops highlighted by the setting sun as the valley lies in darkness, feel like things landscape photographers like. It incorporates so much more than just the location, through no conscious decision of my own. Perhaps the tree and chalet on the left are a blemish on the picture, but to err is to be human, or some whimsy like that. I probably wouldn’t change this shot if I could go back, something I can say on very few of my photos.

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