Does it have to be in focus? – Analogue photography

Near the Barbican centre, London, UK. Analogue film photography image (Phil Hill)

Analogue photography – Does it have to be in focus?

In a digital age of slick presentation, everything must stay in pin sharp focus. Wrong.

Since picking up the film camera, some of my favourite images using analogue are actually the worst focussed images. In the book Shots from the hip  Photographer Johnny Stiletto states ‘What happens in front of your camera is more important than f stops, depth of field and shutter speeds.’ And the same was true enough for Capa during WW2 as much as it is true for Anton Corbijn whose signature is marked by its motion blur.

London Umbrella. Analogue film photography (Phil Hill)

As always, context will outweigh perfect settings on a camera every single time. React and shoot. Get the shot.

Using a point and shoot camera from the 70s (which doesn’t have a sharp lens to begin with) that best suits my ‘out and about’ needs, I set out to create quick imagery and have fun with the medium again. What I found was that I wold carry my camera more often, on the smallest of trips that I would not have done so in the past. The biggest difference for this approach to photography is there wasn’t really time for the long set up when taking a camera unplanned, out everyday. Most of those things that happen in front of the camera, happen very quickly. I have had to embrace the blur.

Umbrella reflection, London. Analogue film photography (Phil Hill)

Umbrellas?

They work really well in terms of composition. Plus, they are everywhere in London.

Umbrella, London. Analogue film photography (Phil Hill)


How these were photographed

I am in the process of working through a bulk roll of Kentmere 400. This film is great, multi purpose and usable. As you would expect from the people who brought you HP5+. The shots in the post were created using Kentmere 400 at box speed in a Olympus Trip 35 point and shoot camera. Processed using Kodak HC110 using dilution B. I am also in the process of ultra-pushing this film, maxing it out to iso 6400 with some decent results, albeit high in wonderful grain. The biggest gripe with Kentmere is however how delicate the negatives are. They have a tendency to scratch easily if not handled wit utmost care. It is a compromise due to its price (It’s no T-max, or the poor defunct Neopan). Good grain, sharp results (when I want it), excellent contrast. I am a fan of this film.

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