Behind The ScenesTheToms

BTS: Shooting Cars on Film

Behind The ScenesTheToms
BTS: Shooting Cars on Film

So we've been going for a bit now and the other Tom keeps nagging me to do a post about some of the photography antics we get up to for the blog...

Here we go!

This is probably going to get technical at points so if that's not your thing, don't worry, check back in a couple of days as normal service will be resuming. (If you're still interested but get a bit lost, Google should be able to set you straight on any jargon.)

So you may have noticed that we've got a bit of a look going with pictures these days. We're both massively inspired by Amy Shore's work when it comes to shooting cars. Although, you'd be forgiven for not seeing the link as she's so very good at what she does and she has spent quite a while refining her style into something that is so distinctly 'her'. No one can do 'Amy Shore' like Amy Shore does. My other personal inspirations have come from the old school heroes like Don McCullin and Eugene Smith. I believe their often blunt visual language compliments our tone of honesty. 

The most recent photographic venture with photography on this blog has been flirting with the idea of introducing more analogue photography into the mix. At the moment we are still shooting almost entirely digital. Occasionally we'll mix in some 35mm SLR shots, the Aston Martin shoot had a few shots from a Mamiya RB67. At the moment however, the reliability and speed of digital is important, so the 5D is still our main workhorse at the moment. The flexibility that comes with a modern DSLR is so powerful. If it's a scorching bright day outside, the shutter can go up to an 1/8000 of a second - which means we can keep fast lenses fast and get a really shallow depth of field, even in the middle of August, without needing fragile and expensive filters on the front of the camera. On the flip side, the 5Dmkiii will happily snap away in darker environments, with high ISO speeds at the press of a button and a rock solid auto focus system that will pull sharp focus out of thin air - it's stupid how good it is.

In my opinion the biggest 'boo' with film is that someone else has to develop it. (Writing that last sentence prompted me to spend an entire morning researching the ins and outs of processing C-41 myself. It could be on the cards). The other issue we're having is that the nearest good photo lab to us is in Brighton, which is a fair stint in the car and if the traffic is bad, you run the risk of topping yourself at the wheel out of frustration as you watch your time being thrown out of the window.

What you've got to prepare yourself for with film is when it goes well, it's like magic, and when it goes bad, (in my experience) it's for a reason you didn't see coming. For example, for the Firle post we did a couple of weeks ago, I was just using my 35mm film SLR and an out of date roll of cheap no-brand film that I had lying around. I was expecting the film to have deteriorated significantly, but I did expect it to be usable. If you click on the images below, you'll probably be able to see why I was disappointed.

I suppose in hindsight, what on earth was I thinking? Of course the no-brand, out of date, non refrigerated film wasn't going to be sharp.

But! The second biggest secret in photography is putting the past behind you and persisting with ideas, especially if you really want them to work. So there will be more film, and it will be good. Being able to process rolls of film as soon as we get back from a shoot and scan the negs could be the secret sauce to making 35mm and 120 film work for us.

 
120 Polaroid test shots from 'More Than A Movie Star'.

120 Polaroid test shots from 'More Than A Movie Star'.

 

We shot another post yesterday, it's going to be an interesting one because I shot it between the 5D and a roll of Fuji Superia 200. I've picked up an old Olympus OM-2 which has quite a neat little 35mm f2.8 lens on it. It will hopefully be a refreshing way to spice up the 5D and 50mm lens combo that you're used to.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little insight into the lessons we're learning on the journey of *developing* [har har] Spoke. Keep an eye out on the posts and you'll probably spot us trying out new ideas as we go.

- Tom D