London Extinction Rebellion Protests - 8th October 2019.

Tuesday (8th October 2019) I travelled across to London from my (new) hometown of Bournemouth. The reason for the trip was to get back out there doing what I love: observing and photographing people. What better subject than the current two-week worldwide XR protests that started on Monday (7th October).

Now, I must make clear that I wasn’t heading down to London purely for personal gain. I am also a huge supporter of the protests and everything they are fighting for, so, I was not only there as a photographer but as a supporter.

With me, I had one of my two trusty Canon A1 SLRs with 4 rolls of Ilford’s just as trusty HP5+ film. I chose HP5+ because it’ a reasonably fast film (400 ASA) but also because I know it handles being pulled and pushed well in the development stage meaning that I could change the way I was metering the film dependent on the shooting conditions when I made it into London. Luckily, in the end, it turned out to be a lovely sunny day (minus the final 30 minutes) so metering and developing for box speed was perfectly fine.

When I arrived back in Bournemouth on Tuesday evening I immediately began to develop the rolls that I’d shot. However, due to the time, it takes to scan 3x 36 exposure rolls on my Epson flatbed I’ve only just finished fully processing the 3 rolls.

Below are my favourite images from the day. It definitely wasn’t the easiest shoot I’ve ever done but I had fun and that’s all that matters right?

R.I.P. Robert Frank & Fred Herzog

R.I.P. Robert Frank & Fred Herzog.

Where do I start? Two photographic legends lost within days of each other.

All though I discovered these two extremely late into their career (due to the fact I’m only 20 years old) they still had a tremendous impact on my own work, the way I look at photography and in the way I look at life in general. One thing is clear when looking at their work is that they both had an extreme admiration for life and all that it offers.

I can recall the exact moment that I discovered Herzog’s work. It was beautiful, warm summers day in Paris in the August of 2017. I had gone over to Paris with a couple of friends for a 72 hour get-away. On the second day, we went into a local bookshop which housed an exhaustive collection of art books and one that stood out to me immediately was ‘Modern Color’ by Fred Herzog. I must have stood there for at least 10 minutes slowly making my way through the book *probably to the shop owners distaste*. Everything I saw in the book was perfect; I couldn’t put it down.

Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have the means or money to take the book home with me so reluctantly I had to leave it where it was. However, after ranting and raving about the book for the next 4 months a dear friend of mine bought me the book for Christmas and I couldn’t have been happier.  In the following years ‘Modern Color’ has been one of the books I’ve always gone back to when in need of inspiration. Each time I pick it up I take something new away from it whether that be the use of colour, lighting or even just using it to escape reality for a short while. In my opinion, ‘Modern Color’ is a true masterpiece that should be part of every photographer’s book collection - it will never be leaving mine.

Speaking of masterpiece books - ‘The Americans’ by Robert Frank is a book that should not be left out of the conversation. Admittedly, I do not have such a romantic connection to this book the work has still been instrumental in influencing my work. I only acquired a copy of ‘The Americans’ for my collection fairly recently, however, there is no way of escaping Frank’s work no matter which branch of photography you’re in. Frank is an omnipresent force within the photographic world and always will be. ‘The Americans’ completely changed the game when it was originally released in 1958. The raw, gritty imagery was unlike anything most people had ever seen. The work showed (some people would say exposed) the American life during that time period through Frank’s eyes.

Frank’s work was and is completely unapologetic.

“I was tired of romanticism,”
“I wanted to present what I saw, pure and simple.”
— Robert Frank on The Americans

Film Test - Cinestill 800T

If you’re not familiar with Cinestill 800T then let me introduce you. 800T is an 800 speed tungsten balanced colour negative film available in both 35mm and 120 format.

800T is made by removing the remjet layer from Kodak Vision 3 motion picture film. Removing this layer not only allows the end user to develop the film within a standard C-41 process but also creates a unique halation effect (as seen in the sample images below).

As you can see in the above sample images the film has extremely peculiar colour reproduction leaning extremely towards the reds. Because of this colour reproduction this film can help reproduce surreal atmospheres that work amazingly well in portrait situations. One of my favourite portrait photographers Ryan Muirhead often uses 800T (along with its sister film 50D) to create beautiful, atmospheric portraits.

Photo-book Review - David Hurn: Arizona Trips

This book could quite possibly be the most important book to me that I have bought so far. This booked has travelled thousands of miles with me and was the single biggest inspiration to my latest project ‘Golden?’.

Photo 1

In 1979-80 Hurn was awarded a Bicentennial Fellowship which allowed him to spend a year in America in which he chose to spend photographing Arizona. The work in this book follows Hurn over his numerous trips across the state between the years of 1979 and 2001.

The interview Hurn has with Sir Christopher Frayling gives a great insight into the reasoning and ideas behind the project which is a great source of information especially for new artists that are looking to find inspiration for their works.

Arizona being one of, if not, the driest state in the US compared to Wales (Hurn’s home country) being the wettest in the UK coupled with Arizona’s at the time right-wing views opposed to Wales’ left-wing views gave Hurn the perfect contrast which certainly helped inform his documentary process. Having such an explicit contrast helps underline and accentuate the key parts in the local life that makes their world tick.

[Arizona was] the exact opposite of my home country Wales. The contrast appealed to me.
— David Hurn -

Something this abundantly clear within Hurn’s work is that he doesn’t intervene. He doesn’t stage. Hurn lets life happen around him and then documents it as it presents itself. This approach to photography isn’t unique to Hurn’s work. This approach has been a staple in documentary photography for decades especially in the realm of the Magnum Photographers. However, what stands out to me about this work is Hurn’s eye for details and by this, I do not mean seeing something in the distance but more in the way of seeing into a culture just by looking at the items and people that they surround themselves with. This is shown throughout the book such as page 49 showing a ‘Secret Indian’ book in the ‘Brand New Used Books’ section of an Arizonan library or page 60 that shows three young female cheerleaders - two of them looking bored out of their minds. This eye for cultural details is something that I have tried to absorb and built into my own work.

One of the great things about photography is that whatever level it’s done at, almost by definition it gets better because it takes on historical associations, sociological associations etc. Even a bad photograph is interesting if we can say people didn’t wear socks at that time! In 50 years time that’s of interest
— David Hurn in Conversation with Cultural Historian Sir Christopher Frayling

Photo-book Review - Alec Soth: I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating.

For a long time Alec Soth has been one of my favourite artists.

The first time that I encountered his work was in David Campany’s ‘The Open Road’ which has outtakes from Soth’s book ‘Sleeping by the Mississippi’.

‘Sleeping by the Mississippi’ showed me a new realm of photography that wasn’t just pretty landscapes but instead it was real people living their real lives. It had a social connection that at that point I had not yet attributed to photography. It opened my eyes to what photography was and is capable of.


IKHFYHIB is purely and simply an 84 page book showcasing 39 stunning large format photographs of “portraits and interiors wherever I travel”. The images in the book are some of the best portraits that I have ever seen. The interiors paired with the portraits really help to illustrate the characters they are showing in an emotionally impactful way.

I can give a super long answer. But the short one that I’ve been giving - portraits and interiors wherever I travel: I can feel how unexciting it is. It’s just not sexy.
— Alec Soth when asked about how he would describe this work.

You can purchase the book via the Mack Books site or by clicking here.

You can also view the project online by clicking here.

I hope to make Photo-book Friday a regular occurrence as not only does it give me an excuse to buy even more books but it also forces me to look deeper into the books themselves.

Journal Entry #009 - An Update

Back from yet another hiatus. This time, however, with some good news. The project that I’ve been working on for the last 7 months is finally becoming a reality. The project documenting the Californian lifestyle, the ups, downs and everything in between that come with that lifestyle started back in October 2018.

The original plan for the project was to publish a hardbound book but due to the expense involved in such a print run, I’ve had to alter my ideas somewhat. Nonetheless, I’ve now had some proof copies delivered and I am very excited to get this out as soon as possible.

More info to come!

Los Angeles, March 2019.

Los Angeles, March 2019.

Journal Entry #007 - My first time shooting slides. Venice, California.

I recently once again got back from the US after finishing the second and final part of my project partaking in a photographic study of California (mainly Los Angeles) and this time I wanted to try something new and fun. This was slide film. At this point, I’d never shot 50 ASA rated film let alone 50 ASA rated slide film so I knew this was going to be an exposure nightmare; especially shooting at sunset.

In terms of metering, I generally tried to meter for the shadows using the inbuilt meter on my camera. As you'll be able to see in the results below this didn't go exactly to plan. The final results ended up being perfectly exposed in the sky but horribly underexposed in the shadows. For some reason, my metering did not go to plan.

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and I am home. I book the roll in with my lab ( ) and eagerly await the scans back. Today's the day. They're back. It's always nice getting some scans back that you've no idea what's on them.

One thing I’ve always known about slide film is that the colours can be extremely saturated and Velvia in particular can pick up shades in the purple spectrum of light that aren’t always visible to the naked eye. This can make for some beautiful pieces. Below is the same image shot minutes apart yet the lighting is so dramatically different due to the inherent nature of the Velvia line of film.

An obvious struggle with shooting 50 ASA film this late in the day is of course going to be motion blur caused by a low shutter speed *seen in the above images*. The only way I could counteract this was switching to my 28 from my 50.

Rest of the gallery:

Journal Entry #006 - Flour Babies in the studio - Pushing HP5+ to 3200 (+3)

On February 10th Flour Babies were recording in the studio for their first time. Having documented a lot of their band-life I knew this was key to attend and document.

At first, I was nervous, having never stepped foot into a studio the only preconceived ideas I had were those that I had seen in the film world portraying strict, almost clinical atmosphere. Luckily, this was not the case at all. The guys at earthworm studios were extremely accommodating letting me know when and when was not appropriate for my shutter to fire.

Anyway, to the developing: I had underexposed the HP5+ I was shooting by 3 stops meaning that I needed to adjust my developing times accordingly to compensate for that (pushing). This ultimately meant that I’d be developing my film in Ilford’s Ilfosol 3 (1+9 dilution) for 24:30 minutes, stop bathing for 1 minute and then fixing for around 5 minutes (although, I didn’t start my 5 minute timer until a few minutes after I’d poured in the fixer) then finishing with a 10 minute rinse under the tap and a 2 minute wash in a mixture of water and Ilfotol wetting agent to help with the drying process.

After all of that, I was left with 36 beautiful looking negatives ready to be scanned/printed accordingly.

Below I have added a gallery of a few images I took during the development process.

Link to my Flour Babies gallery with some of the images developed in this session:

Journal Entry #005 - California Pt 2.

Next week I will be venturing back out to Los Angeles to complete the final couple weeks of my photographic study of California. Being from a small English town the idea of California, even more-so Los Angeles is hugely romantic and iconic. However, this isn’t necessarily what I am aiming to capture. If it ends up that way, then so be it, but as I sit here typing this I am aiming toward an unbiased portrait of ‘The Golden State’.

I am still not too sure on how I will be presenting this project the only thing I know for sure is that it will be physical. The idea of putting such a project together to exhibit online does not appeal to me at all. It needs to be tactile, tangible and appreciable.

Hotel California-2.jpg

Journal Entry #004 - 31st January 2019.

Todd Hido is an artist that I admire immensely. His photographs encapsulate such emotion and sense of atmosphere that they are poetic. To create a story with a single image is an accolade that I admire in any photographer. Flicking through one of Hido’s books is like reading the best poem of your life. You finish with a different emotion each and every time.

One thing that’s instantly recognisable within Hido’s work is that it’s all attainable. There is nothing special in there; house, street, tree, road. It’s all familiar.

Now, to get to the reason for this entry. The images I shot on the night of the 31st January. The first night of snow of 2019. After last years attack from the “beast from the east” everyone was on edge to see how we would fair after this first night. In hindsight, nothing to worry about.

Anyway, thinking about Hido’s ability to make the extremely ordinary become beautiful I set out to do the same. Capturing the completely ordinary in a condition suddenly transforms it into a wonderland of beauty. All though not on the same level as Hido’s these are my images showing the ordinary turned beautiful.

Shot on Ilford HP5+ rated at 400 then developed in Ilfosol 3 1+9 dilution at 20°C.

Journal Entry #003 - Clare Means

I was wandering up and down Santa Monica pier searching for something/someone to pique my interest. Clare Means did exactly that. Clare has an amazing voice and creates beautiful songs that left me standing there entranced in the music. I was only distracted when this extremely well-dressed couple stood in front of me. Perfect. Two beautifully dressed people listening to beautiful music on a beautiful night.

I have followed Clare’s music ever since this night.

Shot on Ilford HP5+ rated at 1600. Home developed in Ilford IlfotecDDX.

Hotel California-39.jpg

Journal Entry #002 - Skateboarding produces artists.

Christmas has just come and gone but a copy of Todd Hido’s book Intimate Distance is here to stay. My mum gifted me this book this year as it’s one I’ve had my eye on for a while. One thing that struck me as soon as I started reading it was that Hido also came from a skateboarding background. This got me thinking of the countless other tremendous photographers and artists that skateboarding has spawned. The likes of Matt Stuart, Jason Lee, Mark Oblow, Ray Barbee, Joe Brooks, Matt Day have all come from skateboarding in one way or another.

I myself originally picked up a camera to document a holiday that my mum and I were going on to New York City but I really fell in love with photography when I started shooting photos of my friends out skating and having fun. Documenting is in the nature of skateboarding. You land a trick that you’ve never landed before and you’re so proud you want to film it or have a photograph of it. I think that’s where it all starts.

Ilford has recently released 3 great videos surrounding this topic. I have them linked below.

Journal Entry #001

Welcome to my journal. I have never done anything like this before so please bear with me while I get to grips with public writing (typing).