Favourite resort of the rich and famous English during the first half of the twentieth century, we visited this seaside town in July. Shot with a Holga and a Diana.
See more here.
Friday, 31 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Friday, 17 December 2010
On August 27 1943 bombers of the US 8th air force attacked a large construction site at Eperlecques. The bombers dropped almost 380 one ton bombs causing extensive damage to the site and tragically killing large numbers of the slave labourers used by the Germans to build the site.
The site was the blockhaus at Eperleques near Calais and the purpose of this huge bunker was to build and launch V2 rockets at London. Unfortunately the Nazis were soon rebuilding the bunker using even more sophisticated construction methods to build a bomb proof bunker.
In June of 1944 it was the turn of the RAF to try to destroy the Blockhaus and the British launched two raids dropping about 30 5 ton "Tall Boy" bombs. One of these enormous bombs scored a direct hit and yet incredibly did virtually no damage to the reinforced structure. However, the shockwave from the bomb created a mini earthquake causing the machinery foundations inside the bunker to shift and in July the Nazis abandoned the site realising that sustained bombing would make it unusable.
The Blockhaus is now a fascinating museum and a moving memorial to the slave labourers who died there. The site has a series of excellent multilingual audio commentaries at various locations throughout the site and I took great pleasure in visiting the site at the same time as a group of Germans - I made damned sure I always got to the language selection button before them so they had to listen to all the commentaries in English.
I visited the site during a wet and windy morning in June and these photographs were taken with a Holga loaded with Delta 3200 and XP2 400. It is difficult to get an idea of the sheer size of the blockhaus from these photos - the Holga's fixed lens made it difficult to fit all the building in.
The bunker is like a head quarters of the baddies in a James Bond film and I hope these photographs the size and the air of menace of the blockhaus.
You can see the full set of travel photographs by following the link.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
A Dianarama is a panoramic photograph taken using a Diana camera. The technique involves partly winding on the film after each exposure so that each frame overlaps and then moving the camera to create a pano like effect from a number of different exposures.
The same effect can be achieved with a Holga and the possibilities are endless - limited only by the length of film in the camera.
The trouble with the Diana is that the frame mask can't be removed so the line between the overlapping frames is too obvious and can be jarring. In the Holga the frame mask can be removed leaving a much softer edge between frames.
These two examples were shot in Cairo. Click on Dianaramas for more examples.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
I have long toyed with the idea of owning a panoramic camera - ever since I came across Wim Wender's work with a ART Panorama. The possibilities of the format fascinated me but I found the prices of most panoramic cameras rather less appealing. In fact it was while trawling Ebay for cheap panoramics that I came across the Holga - rather than spend £1,000 plus on a Hasselblad Xpan I spent fifteen odd quid on a Holga and so began my love affair with plastic cameras.
I had the good fortune to receive a small windfall this year and decided that part of that would be spent on a panoramic camera. I started looking at the various makes and models and came across Jeff Bridge's excellent work with a Widelux camera. As it happened a Widelux F8 came up on Ebay which looked in good condition and I was lucky enough to win the auction.
At the same time I was about to leave for a well earned holiday with my wife and various In Laws (or should that be Out Laws) to Egypt. The camera arrived a week before I was due to leave and what better place to try it out than Egypt. I managed to ruin a couple of films by not loading the camera properly but other than that it's a joy to use.
This shot was taken at the temple of Hathor in Dendera. Shot vertically the panoramic format let's you take in all of the column and the detail in the roof. You can see other shots taken with the Widelux F8 by following the link
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Monday, 6 December 2010
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
Ardres is a sleepy French town in the Pas de Calais, located just south of Calais and near the site of the famous Field of the Cloth of Gold.
We visited Ardres one wet and windy Sunday morning in July. The town was deserted with not a soul in site and the empty fairground near the main square gave the place a forelorn air.
This photo was taken with my Holga and is of a typically wonky doorway in the main square. I have always found doors and windows fascinating subjects. Not the plastic and featureless modern windows but the decayed, weather beaten timbers that you find in many an old townhouse or cottage.
It's true to say that doors and window frames reflect the personality and culture of their owners. There is something engaging about the colours and styles that you come across especially the aged and often brightly coloured timbers in older houses.
Buildings bear mute witness to lives and trials of their owners. Not only have all of life's individual dramas been played out within their frames but many of the doors I have photographed have seen some of the most tumultuous events in history played out in front of them. All this is unknown to the passerby who walks along engrossed in their own petty concerns.
The photographer captures the briefest of moments in the building's own life and creates a permanent record but his own relationship with this subject is fleeting and ephemeral. We see the door but we never see what lies within and maybe what's saddest is that we do not really care.
Click on Ardres to see the full gallery.
Sunday, 31 October 2010
I spent a week in the Pas de Calais in July this year, exploring the countryside and local towns with a brace of cameras.
The holiday also saw the debut of my vintage Diana camera and I was pretty pleased with some of the results I got. I will post the results of this trip over a series of galleries (Agincourt was the first).
These images were taken in the city of Amiens, site of the bloody battle in the Great War- both were shot with my Holga.
You can see the full gallery by clicking on photographs of Amiens.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
On St Crispins Day in 1415 an army of approximately 36,000 Frenchmen, including most of their nobility - the cream of France, faced an army of 8,000 starving Englishmen most of whom were ill with dysentery. There could only be one outcome of such a one-sided confrontation and by the end of the day, the English were celebrating one of England's most famous victories - the utter rout of the French army at the battle of Agincourt.
The battlefield is found near the village of Azincourt and this photograph was taken with my Holga loaded with Shanghai GP3. Click on Agincourt landscape photography to see the full gallery.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
These Landscape photographs were taken near the memorial to General Wolfe, the conqueror of the Plains of Abraham, which is found just outside the famous Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire.
On this particular day I wanted to try out some Adox CHS25 fine art film I had bought and so I took my Mamiya Universal Press as well as a Holga 120N loaded with Shanghai GP3. I had originally intended to photograph Stowe Gardens but unfortunately, these were closed on the day, so I decided to photograph the Wolfe Memorial instead.
The Mamiya Universal Press is a very good, well respected camera with excellent lenses and I bought a variety of filters, tripod etc., and yet for all that, the images I took with my Holga were (in my view) far better than those shot with the Mamiya.
Maybe it's the effects created by the cheap plastic lens that make the Holga shots more interesting - but if that's the case does the toy camera flatter the photographer and make even dull shots more interesting? Is the lens of the Mamiya a more honest reflection of the photographer's skill? It will simply show the image as it really is - no distortion or vignetting to distract the viewer's eye, just the image as it really is.
I do find using a tripod somewhat limiting - the great joy of the the Holga is that it is light and portable. If I see an interesting shot I can shoot it straight away from whatever angle I choose. If I have to use a tripod I find that by the time I have set the camera up exactly as I want it, all the fiddling around has killed my inspiration. That's not to say I never use a tripod but if I see something, I just want to photograph it and move on.
In this case the fact that I could just take the Holga out instantly and shoot, rather than having to put the tripod up, take readings etc., etc., meant that I could concentrate much more on the composition and therefore take more time taking photos which leads to better results.
Those of us who use Holgas and other toy cameras love to say "it's not about the camera, it's about the photographer", but I wonder if that's really true. There are some beautiful images taken with Holgas, Dianas and other "toy" cameras, by much better photographers than me - but there are also plenty of sloppy pictures masquerading as art just because they were taken with a film camera.
Let me know what your views are on this subject.
Click on landscape photography if you want to see the full gallery of pictures I took that day.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Saturday, 18 September 2010
More from Knebworth. These were taken during my first visit to Knebworth House in the Spring. Shot with a Holga loaded with Shanghai GP3. Shanghai might be abit curly and the sticky paper at the end of the film doesn't stick, but the film itself is superb. It handles well in a range of light conditions and I do like the tone and grain. Best of all is the price. It has become one of my favourite b&w films.
Anyway hope these scary beasts don't give you nightmares! If you want to see the full gallery click on dinosaurs.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Some more landscape photographs of the Lee Valley.
I recently bought a vintage Diana and a Stellar off ebay after having seen Nancy Rexroth's series IOWA. Anyway the photos below are from the first roll of film (Shanghai GP3) shot through the Diana. the Stellar arrived a couple of weeks later and as yet lies untested in my study.
These images were taken at Hook's Marsh which is part of the Lee Valley Regional Park and are part of my project to document the man made landscapes of this large expanse of riverside, lakes and parks.
You can see the full set by clicking on landscape photography.