Analog Photography by Andrew Bellamy Book Review | Amy Jasek

I am a book enthusiast, from a long line of them: the Jasek family business, started by my Grandfather in the late 1940s, was a book bindery.

So, Kindle schmindle: give me a printed volume I can hold in my hands! A great deal of book reading goes on in my house, although most of it is not by me; even with the best intentions I am pretty bad about setting aside time to read. That isn’t usually something Mom gets to do, unless it’s for a few surreptitious moments while I’m sitting in the school car line.

The books that sit neglected on my own shelves include a fairly hefty number of reference / instructional guides on film photography and darkroom work. My well meaning father, who has lectured me for years on being more technical, has gifted me many wonderful books that have sadly received far too little attention. I have to be in just the right frame of mind to take in technical information, and sometimes just opening them makes me feel like I am back in my college calculus class, where the professor would stand around talking about his fishing trip instead of teaching us what we needed to know. Still, I feel guilty about not reading those books on a regular basis.

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To my happiness and ultimate benefit, into this climate of informational procrastination came an email from Wes Seeley at Princeton Architectural Press offering us a review copy of Andrew Bellamy’s brand new (released April 9 of this year!) book Analog Photography. I was thrilled and immediately jumped at the chance. And - spoiler alert - having read it from cover to cover (yes, really!) I will hereby be officially recommending a copy of this book to every film photographer that I meet.

For starters - and yes, this matters, book people will understand - the book itself is pleasing to hold. The feeling of the cover and the quality of the paper in my hands, as well as its conveniently compact size (think camera bag worthy) made me keen to start reading it as soon as possible. It says on the cover “Reference manual for shooting film,” and it most certainly is. The layout is easily accessible and engaging, with cross references on every page, a comprehensive index, and handy charts right at the back. The contents cover everything: from information about exposure and filters, to fundamental camera function, and beyond!

What I really appreciated about this book, besides the fact that it is packed full of useful information, is the simple, concise way that the content is presented. You don’t have to wade through a lot of extraneous words to get to the nitty gritty of what you need to know. There isn’t too much on each page, either, so you can process and learn in manageable bits. Lately my 11 year old daughter has been asking to learn film photography from me again, and true to form has asked me far more questions than I have the answer to. Well, guess what: I have the answers now. I am planning on having her read the book herself this summer. I am planning on getting my dad a copy, even though he’s been darkrooming for maybe 60 years.

Do you need a copy? Absolutely. Read more about it, and order one, here.

Now that I have sung the praises of his book, I would like to introduce you to the author, Andrew Bellamy. He was kind enough to chat with me via email about himself and his work; words in bold are mine, the rest are his replies, and all photographs are by him!

First of all, please tell us a little about yourself, and your relationship to film photography.

I'm English and living and working in New York City as a Design Director for global branding agencies. Growing up, my dad repaired cameras and projectors in his spare time, so I was surrounded by cameras, bits of cameras, and the sound of a whirring carousel. When I was little he gave me a broken camera to play with. I'd draw stamp size pictures of people, put them in the back, and then reveal them after pretending to take a photo. We had a couple of Cartier Bresson posters in the house so I was aware of photography as an art form, and my dad taught me the basic mechanics of photography. At high school I studied art and design, part of which was photography where we were lucky enough to have access to Pentax SLRs and a dark room, so I cut my teeth on film photography at a fairly early age.

What was your motivation for writing this book? What was your process like?

When I moved to Miami I got heavily back into film because the light was so nice, I had time to roam around, I found a load of expired Fujifilm in a dollar store, and cameras were relatively easy to come by because the market in the States is so big. I would mostly get cameras in need of repair and fix them up to use them (I inherited my dad's tools) and started the website ILOTT Vintage as a way of sharing how the cameras performed. As it grew over time. I would add descriptions of any technical terms referenced in the reviews to the glossary on the site, and the book started there. As the glossary got more and more entries—being a graphic designer—I thought it would be better off printed and a useful resource for people getting into shooting film. A lot of the cameras I had collected came with their original manuals from the 60s which were the visual inspiration for the design (you can download some of them as PDFs in the camera reviews). I printed 35 copies of the book myself as a limited edition personal project, and a publisher in Europe saw it featured on a design blog and contacted me to make a proper edition. It now has European and American editions and has been translated into German and Spanish.

I looked at your photography website and noticed you seem to have a fair amount of cameras (I identify with this!). Do you have a favorite? Or a favorite film stock?

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It's tough to pick out a favourite camera as they all have their own personalities. For a combination of design, ergonomics and image quality I'd say the original Canonet has to be up there.

For compact size the Minoltina AL-s has all the same features including a fast lens, but it's tiny.

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And for having the best viewfinder and sharpest lens the Konica Auto S2 is hard to beat, but sharpest isn't always best.

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My favourite set of cameras are 3 black Minoltas; an SRT-101, Hi-Matic 7s, and a Minoltina P. I could go on but those are all great. As for film stock I'm not fancy. I bought a lot of that expired Fujifilm and it lasted me a while, before I got into shooting slide film. I collect a lot of Kodachrome slides; the image quality is unreal, and I would have loved to shoot on Kodachrome before it was discontinued.

What’s next for you? Do you have any projects in the works?

Analog Photography has introduced me to a broader network of film lovers, and I’m looking forward to future collaborations with exciting and like minded projects such as you guys at FSC.

I have a new book in the works, and I continue to develop fonts for the -OtherwhereCollective project, and will keep updating the ILOTT Vintage website and instagram with results from all of the cameras I own but have still yet to test.


Connect

Film photographer Andrew Bellamy is currently based in New York. See more of his work on his website, and connect with him on Instagram.

Film photographer Amy Jasek is based in Texas. When she isn’t curating the FSC’s instagram, you can find her on her own.

Who we are, now | FSC members & Amy Jasek

Recently, inspired by a variety of things that led me down the path of thoughts about the passage of time, I asked our members if they wanted to participate in a self-portrait project that would portray who they are, right now. Life is an ever changing journey, as we all know, and I believe both the the sorrowful / difficult times and the joyful / easy ones are worth honoring. Even the boring times, when everything seems static, stagnant, are worth noting, because who knows what is actually in the works behind the scenes. We only see through a glass darkly right now, after all.

Anyhow, my proposal was met with a resounding yes, so I present to you below the resulting photographs and accompanying words from the members who were able to participate. May this be a challenge to you to create your own!

Anda Marcu

Anda Marcu

Colin Poellot  Shot March 9, 2019 at night in Riverside Park, New York, NY with a Rolleiflex Automat on Fuji Provia 100 film. Bulb time 60s exposure.  The last few years of my life have seen tremendous change, both good and bad. I’ve lost a few good friends to addiction and disease, moved 3 times, strengthened some relationships and severed others, adopted a rescue dog, and traveled to some new places. I’m constantly reminded of how transitory life is, so my favorite style of self portrait somewhat reflects that. Stepping in and out of the frame of a long exposure to create an impression, but not a strong one, shows how we fade in and out of our environments.This shot is in front of a stone enclosure that houses lighting to illuminate Riverside Church at night. I walk by it every day with my dog and it took me a month to figure out what it was for!

Colin Poellot

Shot March 9, 2019 at night in Riverside Park, New York, NY with a Rolleiflex Automat on Fuji Provia 100 film. Bulb time 60s exposure.

The last few years of my life have seen tremendous change, both good and bad. I’ve lost a few good friends to addiction and disease, moved 3 times, strengthened some relationships and severed others, adopted a rescue dog, and traveled to some new places. I’m constantly reminded of how transitory life is, so my favorite style of self portrait somewhat reflects that. Stepping in and out of the frame of a long exposure to create an impression, but not a strong one, shows how we fade in and out of our environments.This shot is in front of a stone enclosure that houses lighting to illuminate Riverside Church at night. I walk by it every day with my dog and it took me a month to figure out what it was for!

Chris Tennyson

Chris Tennyson

Colton Allen  Showering with ALS  Since getting into photography, and since I was diagnosed with ALS around that same time, I have made a point of not making my photography be about my ALS. Despite that, ALS has been a major factor in how I approach photography, and has placed huge limitations on what I can do, as well as forced me to adapt on a weekly basis. I don't want my photography to be about my health condition, but I think that it is important for people seeing my photos to have some idea of what it takes to make them, and that doesn't often come through in our modern online world. To that end, I have tried on a few occasions to show the extents of what ALS causes. This self portrait is an attempt to show just how weak my body has become, but even this fails to truly convey the devastation caused by this terrible disease.

Colton Allen

Showering with ALS

Since getting into photography, and since I was diagnosed with ALS around that same time, I have made a point of not making my photography be about my ALS. Despite that, ALS has been a major factor in how I approach photography, and has placed huge limitations on what I can do, as well as forced me to adapt on a weekly basis. I don't want my photography to be about my health condition, but I think that it is important for people seeing my photos to have some idea of what it takes to make them, and that doesn't often come through in our modern online world. To that end, I have tried on a few occasions to show the extents of what ALS causes. This self portrait is an attempt to show just how weak my body has become, but even this fails to truly convey the devastation caused by this terrible disease.

Efrain Bojórquez  Often times my photographic efforts suffer from being taken a step back because of the day job, or family obligations, or even my other hobbies. There are seasons in which this seems to overwhelm us, when it feels like a ball and chain from which one can only be freed by completing all that takes one spots in our schedules. I feel fortunate enough to be able to hold all of my interests very near to me, both figuratively and physically. My wife complains that my office is quite the mess, but in reality is all just designed with a purpose: to not go crazy and to remind myself that there are always other things to look at when you've had it up to your forehead in whatever the hassle of the moment might be.

Efrain Bojórquez

Often times my photographic efforts suffer from being taken a step back because of the day job, or family obligations, or even my other hobbies. There are seasons in which this seems to overwhelm us, when it feels like a ball and chain from which one can only be freed by completing all that takes one spots in our schedules. I feel fortunate enough to be able to hold all of my interests very near to me, both figuratively and physically. My wife complains that my office is quite the mess, but in reality is all just designed with a purpose: to not go crazy and to remind myself that there are always other things to look at when you've had it up to your forehead in whatever the hassle of the moment might be.

Gavin Chapman

Gavin Chapman

Gina Gorsek

Gina Gorsek

Greg Williamson

Greg Williamson

Jen Brimmage

Jen Brimmage

Jen Zehner March 2019  This self portrait project has come at a pivotal time in my life. Iʼve had so many things begin this year… a new career, a new business, new photographic adventures. Iʼve been feeling open and expansive, yet this excitement is colored by an ever present doubt: am I good enough? It hangs in the background picking away at self confidence and progress. This is my attempt to stifle that nagging voice. I used an Instax camera to capture a disjointed portrait… representing all these different facets to my current life which Iʼm still trying to weave together. I then created transparency negatives to create a cyanotype triptych of outstretched arms and a bare body, as I am probably at my most vulnerable right now, even though I try to remain optimistic and embrace life as it comes.

Jen Zehner March 2019

This self portrait project has come at a pivotal time in my life. Iʼve had so many things begin this year… a new career, a new business, new photographic adventures. Iʼve been feeling open and expansive, yet this excitement is colored by an ever present doubt: am I good enough? It hangs in the background picking away at self confidence and progress. This is my attempt to stifle that nagging voice. I used an Instax camera to capture a disjointed portrait… representing all these different facets to my current life which Iʼm still trying to weave together. I then created transparency negatives to create a cyanotype triptych of outstretched arms and a bare body, as I am probably at my most vulnerable right now, even though I try to remain optimistic and embrace life as it comes.

Jesús Joglar

Jesús Joglar

Jocelyn Mathewes

Jocelyn Mathewes

Katt Janson Merilo  “Becoming Mom”  My past 10 months have been about the transformation from an independent childless 20-something to a 30-year-old new mom. I now know that I can function on 2 hours of sleep a night for months at a time, and that the amount of work one can get done in a 24 hour period is more than double what I’d previously believed possible. In addition to the new 25-pound weight I’ve been tossing around and bouncing on my knee, I’ve started an adventure in learning roller derby, and picked up skating at about 2 months postpartum. It’s been a nonstop adventure, and juggling it all and my full time job – with increased responsibilities this year – has been a lesson in making use of every minute.

Katt Janson Merilo

“Becoming Mom”

My past 10 months have been about the transformation from an independent childless 20-something to a 30-year-old new mom. I now know that I can function on 2 hours of sleep a night for months at a time, and that the amount of work one can get done in a 24 hour period is more than double what I’d previously believed possible. In addition to the new 25-pound weight I’ve been tossing around and bouncing on my knee, I’ve started an adventure in learning roller derby, and picked up skating at about 2 months postpartum. It’s been a nonstop adventure, and juggling it all and my full time job – with increased responsibilities this year – has been a lesson in making use of every minute.

Lilly Schwartz

Lilly Schwartz

Mark Hillyer

Mark Hillyer

Michael Rennie

Michael Rennie

Rajmohan   I’m a little shy and dislike being the center of attention, hence the hat*. This self-portrait was made using Tri-X in a Canon EOS 500 (my first film camera, purchased 20 years ago); the background is a canvas print of one of my photographs.  *As an aside, this is the only hat I’ve tried which doesn’t make me look entirely ridiculous, and so it will probably reside on my head through most of the coming summer.  www.rajmohanart.com

Rajmohan

I’m a little shy and dislike being the center of attention, hence the hat*. This self-portrait was made using Tri-X in a Canon EOS 500 (my first film camera, purchased 20 years ago); the background is a canvas print of one of my photographs.

*As an aside, this is the only hat I’ve tried which doesn’t make me look entirely ridiculous, and so it will probably reside on my head through most of the coming summer.

www.rajmohanart.com

Ralph Whitehead

Ralph Whitehead

Shaun La

Shaun La

Tracey Bos

Tracey Bos

Hernando Conwi

Hernando Conwi

Lucy Wainwright

Lucy Wainwright

Amy Jasek  Sitting on the edge of more change than I really know how to handle. Trying not to overthink things. Taking life one day at a time. Taking nothing for granted; giving all that I can.

Amy Jasek

Sitting on the edge of more change than I really know how to handle. Trying not to overthink things. Taking life one day at a time. Taking nothing for granted; giving all that I can.


Submit

Inspired? Want to join in the self portrait party? Send me your self portraits - new ones, not more than two please, of who you are now, and some words if you are so inclined - submit them here by August 15 for a special article to run at the end of summer.


Connect

Most (probably all) of the members who participated in this project are on Instagram - you should look them up, connect with them there, check out their websites! If you want to know more about me, I’m on there too.