LUCY WAINWRIGHT | FEATURED ARTIST | APRIL 2017

FPP branded colour IR, Superheadz w/yellow filter and ND filters

FPP branded colour IR, Superheadz w/yellow filter and ND filters

Gakkenflex clone, Provia, xpro

Gakkenflex clone, Provia, xpro

 

Can you tell us about your background in photography -- when and why did you start shooting and how did you come to film? 

In the 80s and 90s I was shooting film because film was all there was, and it didn't occur to me that I had an art medium in my hands. I was in a thousand photos and a hundred miles of super 8 as an obliging child poseur, and as soon as I could, I was documenting holidays and family events myself, not very well & without demanding more. 

Olympus XA2, Superia200

Olympus XA2, Superia200

Olympus XA4, Sensia, xpro

Olympus XA4, Sensia, xpro

At the same time, I was lucky enough to be able to use a darkroom at A Level College when I was a teenager. It was an extra-curricular course on a Wednesday afternoon. There were lots of different arty/sporty things that people did on Wednesdays, and I was drawn to the darkroom, and to developing and printing. I remember taking some execrable, imperfectly exposed shots around college, which pleased me very much. I turned them into funky graphic images by contact printing them onto coloured papers. I remember some great double exposures on red and blue paper - really bold and interesting. I liked the darkroom. I liked the smell. Magic, mystery, science, and watering eyes. Miracles! But darkroom stuff was at college and not really for real life, at least then.

Holga XP2

Holga XP2

Spectra, Impossible PZ Silver Shade 

Spectra, Impossible PZ Silver Shade 

Later in the 90s of course digital was ubiquitous, and it didn't occur to me to keep on with film. It was costly, and a faff. So I went digital for twenty years.

The Man Who Fell To Earth, 5x4 pinhole camera, medical xray film

The Man Who Fell To Earth, 5x4 pinhole camera, medical xray film

It took having a really decent digital camera and making some really nice landscapes with it to bring me to film. I was making pictures that weren't just documents but also pretty good pictures of beautiful places - like Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania when I climbed it in 2012 - and those pictures just weren't good enough. I couldn't put my finger on how and why they were so unsatsfying until I started using a Diana F+ given to me as a Christmas gift at the end of 2013 by my very prescient lovely partner. I was electrified, and there is no other word for it, by just how good these first bad pictures looked to me. My didge literally died in my hands. Digital pictures were good, but my goodness they were dull. MF gave me, quite clearly, a mountain to climb in terms of technique, but it also gave me a dream, and a vision, and a medium, and it did it immediately. I LOVE holding film cameras and handling film. And these days, darkroom stuff IS for real life. My colour work is handled by Photoghost lab, but from time to time, late at night, I make my kitchen into a darkroom and tray develop Washi or paper or x-ray sheets by red light. 

Southern Gothic, Diana F+, Expired Kodak Vericolour CN

Southern Gothic, Diana F+, Expired Kodak Vericolour CN

What projects are you currently working on now? 

Currently in photography I'm reviewing a false pano Minolta for one of the online blogs, semi writing an article for FSC that I plan to submit nearer Easterand interviewing a woman known to many of us for the She Shoots Film website (a slow business taking many weeks by email because we're all so busy).

FP3000b, Land Camera 250

FP3000b, Land Camera 250

What photographic endeavors would you like to try in the future? 

Plans are many and varied. Summer plans include shooting some colour paper in camera and RA4-ing it (this looks terrific if you've ever seen it), and also getting the IR out again. I've a roll of colour IR in the freezer. I can hear it from here. I'm also deciding what cameras and lenses and films to take to Scotland with me in August. I'll be photographing landscapes and wildlife, and whatever else throws itself at me. I just bought a krab for my LCA+ and those two are definitely going. I've got a few new cameras and accessories to try out this year and it's ALL exciting. I'm still exploring the brilliance of the Gakkenflex clone that I made last year. It's one of those self-build TLRs that's mostly light leak and they take VERY exciting images. So I've got broadening and deepening my skills on the agenda. And cyanotype (and toning). I got a UV lamp for Christmas so that I wasn't reliant on the sun and haven't used it yet. And I need to stop just looking at this Konstruktor and build it. There are secret plans too. 

The Time Machine

The Time Machine

Describe your Perfect Day (and/or Night) of shooting:  

My ideal shooting day is probably a trip to somewhere I've never been before on a lovely sunny day - pure sunny or stormy/sunny or frosty/sunny, I don't mind - with half a dozen different cameras with different film in different formats in a nice big bag. That's it really. Recently I went to Crosby again where Anthony Gormley's Another Place lives on the beach and my kids and I walked on the beach and I photographed the Anthonys and then we had tea and chips from the snack van. I've never been so happy in my life. 

Prog A, Helios, Ektachrome, xpro

Prog A, Helios, Ektachrome, xpro

One of my favourite shots of this year so far was taken in the garden in the early morning before the kids went to school. I took the recycling out and the garden was so nice I came back and got my Diana and took this great picture. It's a gift from the universe. But I love planning trips too, even if they end up being relative failures. 

Nikon F90x, Ektachrome, xpro

Nikon F90x, Ektachrome, xpro

I'm not so much for night time or indoor photography, though I do both. It's sunshine I love.

Wings Are Wide, Olympus XA, Kodak Elitechrome, xpro

Wings Are Wide, Olympus XA, Kodak Elitechrome, xpro

No holds barred, what would be your Dream Shoot?

My Dream Shoot probably involves some kind of caddy with a trolley. And if we're really dreaming can I have great gifts of social confidence and competence bestowed upon me so that I can speak to people more easily and then photograph them? I do sometimes like to put a human in my shot, and I'm rarely brave enough to ask.

F90x, Superia 200, Diana lenses

F90x, Superia 200, Diana lenses

Last Question - If you could give any advice to someone just starting out in film photography, what would it be?

I'm aware that when I offer advice it's based on my experience of being me doing what I did...

Snowdon Mountain Railway, XA4 Superia

Snowdon Mountain Railway, XA4 Superia

I'll just say this. Embrace the process and don't worry about the product so much. Look with love on everything you photograph. If in doubt, take the shot. Buy cheaper groceries and a bigger fridge. You'll need that extra money and space like you wouldn't believe.

XA4. Provia

XA4. Provia

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Film photographer Lucy Wainwright is based in Derbyshire, UK.  See more of her work on her Instagram.