Most photographers have a tendency to look back over the last year as December ticks into January. We can be a self-critical lot, looking back over the pics we’ve taken, sensing missed opportunities and allowing ourselves some self-congratulation on the ones that didn’t get away.
Thanks to the nice people at Lomography giving me a Lomo LC-Wide to use, I shot a lot more Lomography-style pics this year. The LC-Wide’s more than just an update of the LC-A+ with a slightly wider lens – the inclusion of masks to take half-frame and square format pics essentially makes this three cameras in one.
It was the first time I used Lomography’s dev and scanning service too – and you can really tell the difference on cross-processed films, with just the right amount of grain and boosted contrast.
I really strived to have a camera on me at all times this year, even on the journeys into work. Most of the time that camera was a Pentax ES II, a 70s-era SLR which auto aperture using Pentax lenses. It’s got a classic 70s SLR look and a reassuring weight to it. I’ve picked up three for around £100, and they’re now my standard travel camera outfit. I’m sure fellow tourists might think I’ve warped in from another decade.
I’ve collected the pick of my pics from 2012 into a Flickr set. There’s still a dozen or so rolls to process, most notably from a fantastic gig by Josh Rouse at London’s Union Chapel… but this will do for now.
Getting in the habit of having a camera at all times pays off. A half hour of winter afternoon sunshine gave me two of my favourite shots of the year (here and here), colour slide film catching the late, low light.
London’s South Bank is a location I come back to time and again… always crowds, and so many tourists with cameras that people become de-sensitised… one on the first super sunny spring days I caught this pic of a man peering over the walls of the National Theatre, while in November I padded around the kiosks and afternoon crowds, the book buyers and fellow photographers. It’s always an inspiring place to people watch and catch a candid moment.
London’s Chap Olympiad is one of the most enjoyable days out in London, and I returned for my fifth visit there in July… grey days couldn’t get in the way of a perfect place for shooting black and white film, and a cavalcade of characters showing a stiff upper lip to the brooding British skies.
I travelled with my best friend to Montenegro in July, before peak season but with the thermometer hitting 40C some days. It’s one of Europe’s underappreciated gems, stunning coastline and compact old towns. The tourist action hugs the coast, and the interior – even the capital Podgorica – has a sleepy yet welcoming air. It’s always good, too, when you travel somewhere and feel that you haven’t quite captured a place with your pics… but in a way that makes you want to go back.
It was my third visit to Istanbul in November (I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks), and it’s fair to say that I left the city wanting to return immediately. It’s a photographer’s paradise, a city of bustling activity and with history around every corner. A week there felt like an age and like five minutes at the same time.
I didn’t manage any of the Soundcheck Sessions I’ve been working on for the last seven or eight years (aside from Mr Rouse), though I did snap my friend Billy’s band Thee Faction in the summer, loading my Pentax with Tri-X like it was the 1970s.
Here’s some of my favourites from this year. Happy shooting, all, in 2013.