film photography

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.

Today something happened by Simeon Smith

Today something happened. 

I took a photo and was excited to see how it turned out. This is that photo:

an exciting photo.jpg

Okay, okay, it’s not a “Good Photo”. It’s not sharp. It’s not composed that well. And to MY horror, it wasn’t shot to film. But I had such a buzz when I pushed the shutter.

And it should be something that happens all the time, but these days, it’s less frequent than I’d like. 

I was looking down at my phone, trying to find my way to Nottingham’s Cat Café, trying to work out which I the blue dot on the screen was pointing and I looked up. The overpass, the the people facing me, the lights, the person in a hurry not seeing the traffic… it all came together and almost by instinct I grabbed the small digital camera that was hanging around my wrist and - CLICK. 

It was a great feeling. 

Not the greatest photo, but a great feeling.

Here’s what I’m going to make sure I get these feelings more often:

  1. Keep travelling. These days there aren’t many places in my home town that surprise me. I love my home town but I’ve lived here since 2002, and know it so well. The familiarity is great and makes for some great photos where I know the framing I want, I know the subject I want and I just have to wait for the moment. But rarely does this experience make me feel… anything. 

  2. Shoot on a great camera. Digital is great, and the images are arguably “better”, but I don’t LOVE the experience. But my Leica IIIa… Oh yes. I love holding it. I love the smell of it. I love the mechanisms. I love the cold metal. I love the sound of it. And that’s even before I see a photo! 

  3. Keep moving. Today, I was on foot. I could have caught the tram through Nottingham, but I walked, and shot pictures and felt emotions I rarely feel these days. 

Anyhow here are some more photos, that excited me less, but may actually be better. 

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Comfort Zones (aka What I Did in Scotland) by Simeon Smith

My wife is a photographer. I know, I know, we’re all photographers in the age of the iPhone, but what I mean is my wife takes photos for a living. And she does it bloody well. So well, in fact, that people give us free holidays in return for her taking some photos while we’re on said holiday’s and popping them on instagram. You should go check her instagram out. It’s here:

Back? Good. 

So this week I’ve been away in Scotland with my family, just north of Loch Lomond, while my wife takes the occasional photo. It’s been BEAUTIFUL. If you haven’t been it’s hard to describe quite how remote mid-Scotland feels. There’s nothing around but mountains and lakes, oh plus whisky and hot tubs. 

But as my wife took breath-taking photos of beautiful landscapes, I was utterly out of my comfort zone with a camera in my hands. 

I’m not really a landscape kind of guy. As my friend Darren put it, my style is “grainy / black and white / old people”. I don’t think I’m a proper street-photographer, but urban environments are definitely my jam, photography-wise.

Anyhow, I took my trusty Leica stuffed with grainy old black and white film, and my little digital mirrorless, as I fancied some immediate feedback on my attempts at landscapes. 

I didn’t want to abandon my grainy black and white style, but didn’t know how that’d translate to lakes and mountains. 

Anyway here are some shots (all shot on digital, haven’t processed any film yet!) 

Thursday though, I abandoned my family to finish their holiday while I went to a work thing I’d committed to before the holiday was on the cards, and I had 45 minutes to kill in central Glasgow between trains. So what did I shoot? Yup. Grainy / black and white / old people. Here they are. 

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Mango Bikes, shot to film. by Simeon Smith

The lovely guys at Mango Bikes sent me a one of their new single speeds, called The Gus. It's an absolute delight to ride. 

Here's a film I made about it, with my mate Rhys.

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Sunset by Simeon Smith

Shot to Fujicolor on a Canon AE-1.