Massive Film Backlog by Simeon Smith


I’ve no idea when I fell out of love with developing my own film. 

At first it seemed like magic; the images appearing in chemicals. The mindful, mindless, meditative process of mixing, rinsing, drying and scanning.

Recently, it’s just seemed like hard work. 


I think part of it, is that the more you learn, the more you know can be done. Steps are added to the process, which becomes longer, more time consuming. 

When I didn’t know better I could process, scan and edit three rolls of film in a night. 

Now, I know the care and attention to detail that each image could be worthy of. 

But, in the end it all comes down to that old aphorism, attributed to Voltaire:

“Perfect is the enemy of good” 


And don’t get me wrong, there are times when I aim for perfection. My two exhibitions have only had 4 images each, and I of course wanted each to as close to perfection as possible. 

But with stacks and stacks of negatives either developed and not scanned, or not even developed, it was time to try an old process. 

Around a year ago I bought a flatbed negative scanner. Every image you’ve seen of mine since then has been scanned using that scanner. It renders beautifully detailed grain and amazing contrasts. 

It also takes me around an hour to scan one roll of 35mm. A roll that I might only use 2 or 3 images from.


So in order to work through my massive scanning backlog, the flatbed was put away, and my tiny old 5mp scanner came out of the cupboard. Is it good? Weeeellll…. It was good enough for my first book, but I guess no, in comparison it’s not great. But it has a great thing about it, and that is that I can scan a dozen films in an hour. 


These images would never see the light of day if they waited for the flatbed. 

And who knows, maybe this post will encourage me to scan and edit these photos “properly”. 


Film Swap with Lee Young by Simeon Smith


A few weeks ago Hannah off of Lomography set me and a few other UK photographers up with a film swap with Singapore-based photographer Lee Young. Check out his work on Lomography here.

A film swap is where we both shoot a roll of film, swap the rolls, then shoot OVER THE TOP of each other’s photos.

Here’s a sneak peak of our photos from the project, but I’m sure Lomography will put a bunch together from the different shoots.

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #13: Lines and lines and lines. by Simeon Smith

I know, I know, I skipped a week, we're half-way through the project, and momentum has slowed down for me. I'll get there. We'll get there. Together. I promise. 


One of the things I love most about art is how much of it we can understand through science. From colour to viewpoints, to what makes our heart race, perception is a weird mix of our senses and the way our brain processes this information, cross referencing it with our previous experiences. I'm not that knowledgeable on why we find some things fascinating and others not so much, but I sure like to capitalise on these ways. 

A great way of drawing a viewer in is to use leading lines, framing your subject or that provide movement or depth to your photography. 

This week, try shooting pictures with clear leading lines. 


1. What other things seem to be hardwired into our psyche as "visually pleasing"? 

2. What things seem universally unappealing?

3. Are there any techniques that are the "marmite" of photography, either you love them or you hate them? Why might we have these reactions?

26 WEEKS is a camera challenge I’m putting together to help someone through their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. You can follow along here on the the blog, but it’s best to start at the beginning. Here’s what we’ve already covered: 

Week 1: Do You. 

Week 2: Find Your Masters.

Week 3: Study Your Masters.

Week 4: Kill Your Masters. 

Week 5: The One Thing.

Week 6: Depth of Field. 

Week 7: Blur.

Week 8: We Were Made In The Dark.

Week 9: Forget Everything.

Week 10: Shoot a Stranger. 

Week 11: Pick a Colour

Week 12: You're only as good...

Every Shot Matters: Workbook - FREE DOWNLOAD by Simeon Smith


Hey, everyone? 

Remember that book you all helped me crowd-fund earlier this year that reached it funding target in, like, 4 hours and went on to be 400% funded? Yeah? 

Well as part of that I said I'd upload a free workbook for anyone not wanting to write in their print copies of the book, or for anyone to use and share with their photographic friends. 

I had some grand plans for the workbook, but had some trouble sorting it all out and had other projects to work on and got busy and... didn't release the workbook. I'm sorry. That was pretty shitty of me. 

Well today Jason (off of, got in touch and was like "Hey, what happened to that free workbook you were releasing?" and I made a lame excuse. So he was like "Just release it already! Upload a PDF, people don't care about the fanfare you had planned!" (paraphrasing, he didn't know about the fanfare I had planned, but...)

Anyway, thanks to Jason, you too can now download, print and hold the Every Shot Matters Workbook in your very own hands. 

Thanks again to everyone for your support. Please share this workbook far and wide! 


Videre: Build Review by Simeon Smith



I’ve taken a few photos already on the camera, but have yet to develop any, so this is a quick review of the building process and materials. I’ll post a second part of the review when I’ve actually got photos from the thing. 

Videre is flat-pack, cardboard, pinhole camera. It comes as a kind of press-out and build kit with a few extra parts.

I started typing “the only bits that aren’t cardboard are…” and then realised there are actually quite a few bits that are metal (clips and the pinhole itself), or plastic (pretty much all the functioning parts of the camera). 

So this is a cardboard camera body.


But that isn’t a bad thing. Kelly Angood has been making cardboard cameras for a while now, and this is a middle-ground she’s struck between all-cardboard glory, and actual real-world functionality. 

I found the build to be pretty simple, much simpler than the Wintercroft kits I’ve built before. The kit comes with glue dots and stickers that are easy to use to assemble the camera, and the parts fit together well. It’s a surprisingly tight and sturdy kit when complete, something I’m sure isn’t easy to design with cardboard. 

That said, it still is cardboard. It kind of bulges at the sides, regardless of how many times you crease the folds, and a lot of the pieces just slot together without glue or stickers, so I’d hesitate before throwing this into a bag with other gear. 


The good: 

  • It’s a lot of fun to build, and is totally reusable. I’m sure it’ll last a good few trips. 
  • It’s beautiful. It’s as much a card sculpture as it is a camera.
  • It’s locally printed and sourced in a way that a lot of manufacturers just don’t care about. 

The bad: 

  • Other than the novelty and fun of building a card camera, I’m not sure why you’d choose this camera over other pinhole cameras, or a pinhole “lens” for a camera system.
  • A lot of the parts are annoyingly just cosmetic. It’d be nice if “hood” of the TLR-style body had a small square cut out of the middle to help compose shots. It’d be nice if the rings around the pinhole were functional as an exposure guide. Instead these parts are just there to look cool.

I loved making this kit, and have enjoyed using it so far. As someone who’s never had the patience for pinhole photography, the fun of building the camera was encouragement enough to actually go out and make some images with it.

We’ll see how they turn out.