I have really wanted to try to get back to posting my images on an (almost) real-time basis rather than waiting for weeks, months or even years (I have an un-shared archive now that is, frankly, embarrassing – if of course you believe images are made to be shared which is another debate for another time). In that spirit, here are some images made on my recent trip to Brittany. These were all made with the Supersense 66/6 pinhole camera which I have written about before…more on that later but for now, on with the show.
Every trip to France, in my opinion, should start with a glamorous and luxurious Channel crossing. Sadly, luxury and glamour are far from on offer on most ferries. What is on offer are some rather sad plastic deck chairs, and some interesting nooks and crannies to explore and to get away from the inane conversations of other travellers (I am amazed more people don’t get thrown overboard…she didn’t take a breath!!!). On our rather wonderful Transmanche ferry we also got some really rather decent food, clearly a ship operated by the French and all the better for it.
We were staying in the very charming medieval town of Dinan, fairly close to St Malo, in Brittany. The centre of Dinan is a maze of small streets, creperies, restaurants where they set your food on fire and cobbles. Lots of cobbles in fact, which when wet are particularly slippery, especially when climbing the road up from the river. Its really pretty steep, but unbelievably pretty so that’s OK. Also, when you have a pinhole camera you have every excuse to take a breather on the way up. One word of warning though, the restaurants down by the river and really quite good, and climbing that hill after a long lunch can be a challenge, we had to take a lie down afterwards. Oh, and the cats in Dinan are not well trained in remaining still for the whole exposure as you will see above.
I’m going to pause here to just mention one piece of news that did come through whilst we were away, which was that the very wonderful Stuart Pilkington had suffered a stroke. Stuart is the brains behind 100 Mile Radius (I was selected as one of the 50 photographers, with a pinhole image you can see on the site), The Swap (again, you’ll find my work there) and a fine photographer in his own right. Much more importantly though, Stuart is a wonderful wonderful man. He is incredibly encouraging to other photographers and generous with his time, his talent and his friendship. Pretty much as soon as the news broke the community decided that the best way we could support Stuart’s speedy and complete recovering was by sending him selfies. This is my Selfie for Stu – and you can see a brilliant montage of more here (with thanks to Tim Andrews). I should also mention here that Stuart’s mum, Linda, has taken the time to update his Facebook so his friends can see the progress he is making, which seems really good so far. So, get well soon Stuart and thank you Linda!
Right, back to the Supersense 66/6 and my developing experience with this camera. I have to say it is a delight to use, but not without its frustrations as well. I struggle, at times, to get simple things like horizons straight, so have taken to trying to remember to carry a bubble level with me (perhaps I should try to be less OCD). The way you can alter focal length is a delight, as is the ability to use different pinhole sizes. I tend to use the tiniest of the two tiny holes so I can have an exposure time that is a little bit longer, to allow for the fact that the shutter is pretty rudimentary.
The main challenge with this camera still remains the film. I’m now generally getting better results but the reciprocity is a complete pig. I have underexposed many images, like below, even in decent light. This might in part be due to my metering but I’m tending to still think it is the film’s characteristics that I have to learn. To be fair, this colour film was expired, which probably doesn’t help.
When you overexpose it is a delight though, so that’s OK I guess. What it isn’t is very good at picking up fine details, I have some shots of beds of yellow flowers that have, sadly, just disappeared from the image. Again, that might in part be due to the film being expired.
Overall though, I do still love the camera, and the results when you nail them can be brilliant. Unusually for me, I think I prefer the black and white images I make, partly because I think the film is better and partly because I think it suits the way the film resolves. Simple images are definitely the way forward…and I guess I just have to keep learning.
Well, that’s it for another post. I hope you like the images from Brittany, there’ll be more to follow from my trusty Zero. Remember too, if you want to be featured on Pinholista please just get in touch (here). Happy shooting kidnicks.