A whole lotta randoms

Ahh 2011.
2010 was bit of a whirlwind year for a number of reasons, so I’m looking forward to a more enjoyable new year.
To start off the new year I developed an old roll I had kicking around in a camera I don’t use very often. I couldn’t remember what was on it, so it was quite nice looking back over the last year from the perspective of random photos taken roughly over a several month period.
I’m looking forward to completing a couple projects/sets and starting a few more. Things had gotten stagnant for a period, but I’m somewhat relieved that has now changed. Fresh starts all round.

Some of these pics were in Melbourne, the others I have no idea.
(As usual, please forgive my crappy scans)

Oh, one more thing.
Came across some youtube videos today. They are from a documentary on Henri-Cartier Bresson and it’s brilliant. I think HCB is often misunderstood and his work over simplified. There is a lot more going on with his work than just “street photography” – a shallow term I’m actually getting a little tired of, as it’s continuously thrown around without much consideration. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time and place I think.

The documentary is broken up into 5 parts so make sure you continue watching them in order. This is the first : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6l09YEeEpI
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Olympus OM4 + Bessa Grip

Some months ago I decided to get back into black and white shooting after spending about a year shooting colour on a p&s.
It’s always refreshing to have bit of a change, and whilst I don’t make a conscious effort to exclusively shoot on one medium or another, I’ve found that I’ll naturally stick with one or two cameras/types of film unless I make an effort to mix things up a little. whichever way I “mix things up”, I inevitably find myself turning to the OM series, or one of my rangefinders. I’ve tried other SLR systems over the last few years but they don’t feel as natural as the OM system to me (if you couldn’t already tell by the number of OM’s I have and use).
Anyway, I got this OM4 for free after the previous owner told me it had electrical problems. It sat on my shelf until earlier in the year when I decided to find out once and for all if it was working. First step was to try and give it bit of a clean – the camera had come from someone who originally lived in the Northern Territory, so it was covered in that distinctive N.T red dirt/dust. I couldn’t see any obvious problems so after sourcing a battery cover from a generous member at RFF, I put a test roll through it and to my surprise everything worked perfectly.
After a few days I was looking at my Bessa R3A and noticed how similar in size it is to the OM SLR’s. From this I eventually discovered that the Bessa grips fits on the OM4 (and others) with ease. The grip is actually a little bit big for the OM4 (as the Bessa appears to be larger), but it does the job very well.¬† The ergonomics of the camera have improved substantially and it doesn’t stand out too much or add any noticeable weight. It’s a bit ghetto I know, but I’m thinking it’ll give me more street cred now… Will attach to a Holga next for maximum hipster coolness… ;)

Visual Sociology – Car Culture

For another Uni assignment (for my visual sociology class) we had to find a current social issue and conduct a photographic study on it.
For something a little bit different, I chose to look at the demonisation of car enthusiasts and the derogatory blanket¬† label of “hoon” applied to anyone who has an above average interest in cars and it’s related culture/s.

The purpose of the study wasn’t to condone illegal or anti social behaviour conducted by people driving cars, but to shed light on a different perspective rarely given an unbiased means for expression. I wanted to look at the motivation behind the wave of moral panic that surrounds car enthusiasts and demonstrate it’s ineffectiveness in addressing real issues.

I conducted interviews and looked into the government’s own research and statistics to challenge common stereotypes and publicised motives for legislation, in order to promote the need for genuine constructive discussion and original thought that involved multiple areas of society when dealing with issues of road incidents and illegal behaviour.

Below are just a few images from my study. My written exploration into the issue won’t be publicly published yet.

Expired Film

Just like cameras, I hoard film, and for some reason I quite often come across people throwing it out, or shops clearing it off their shelves.
I can’t stand the thought of film being thrown in landfill somewhere when it can be used for something creative or fun. It’s just a waste. So as a result I have quite a lot of it.
Mostly I just load it into one of my mju:II‘s and keep it in the car or in my pocket and shoot anything that come to mind. A lot of the time they don’t turn out, and from the ones that do, only a small number are “keepers”. I’m not really bothered. This “low stress” type of shooting is what got me into photography in the first place. It’s something I lost for a couple years. Instead I’d agonise about the shot I wanted to get, the preparation and post work etc. It became a chore and not enjoyable.
These days I just shoot for the fun of it and the final result isn’t the prime importance. I find it a lot more fun now.

Below are some shots from expired film I’ve been using. I’m not even sure what it is. Just some consumer grade Kodak 200 & 400 iso I think. These are some scans of the prints so things aren’t as sharp as they’d be from a negative scan, but I kind of like the aesthetic anyway.
Some shots are from my ongoing A car took me there series.

Urban Study

As part of one of the subjects in the Masters course I started at the beginning of semester, we had to document a urban social phenomenon. Here are a few photos from the set of 15. To sum it up briefly, the photographic essay was looking at the dichotomy of conformity and individualism in the Sydney CBD.  Taken in context with my essay and annotations it was well received.
For the project I used the little S90 which performed quite well I thought and was a fun change from film. The b&w conversions aren’t as bad as I anticipated also but not particularly special.