This past year has been my favourite so far. I'm going to write this as one stream of consciousness so that it lands in its purist form. (be kind to my grammar.)
2017 was a lot of things. It was the year I quit my job. The year I signed as a Film Director with one of my favourite production companies. The year I directed a music video for one of my absolute favourite bands. The year I went to the foot of Mount Everest. The year I started a company with two brilliant people. The year I moved in with my love.. and 2017 was a quite frankly was the year i fell in love with photography again.
Starting from the top- On January 1st, I was facing a huge wall of boredom with my photography and it was due to the rinse and repeat process of shooting a press shoot for a band on my digital SLR, processing and colouring 500 images and sending them on. It had reached a point that I was caring less and less about delivering each image to its full potential and more about getting through the shear quantity of files.
That's a recipe for disaster and, as with any bad recipe, is not to be repeated. So i dug my heels, I did some soul searching and all roads led to me shaking up my process. I threw myself head first into film photography and created a process for my photography that felt much more hands-on, decisive, pre-meditated and, most importantly, thorough. A year later, over 3/4 of my portfolio is shot on film and i come back from each shoot remembering every image i shot with maybe 100 images to lovingly edit. It has been a pivotal change in how i think, how i emotional connect with each image and how i create. That has been such a special process for me that has completely reincarnated my love for taking photos - photos of my core subject matter - Musicians.
One of the biggest changes is how empowered i feel to be decisive when i shoot on my Pentax 67 and Leica Film cameras. I often get asked when i move on from a setup 'have we got it already, that's amazing' and, on film, I know when i've got it. It just feels so much clearer. Not having a screen to check really focuses my mind to make the point i press the shutter my 'LCD moment' and i honestly love it so much having that absolutely clarity of vision for when i've got the shot.
I have spent the year experimenting with different mediums of film photography from normalising Medium Format to dabbling with Large Format and teaching myself to develop C41, E6 and black and white processes of my professional film in huge quantities at home.
I have home developed over 200 rolls of film this year and unfortunately, this started as a learning exercise that lead into something that became a monetary necessity to facilitate film photography on some quite challenging budgets . I was scared to raise my fees to absorb a pro-lab cost for developing 10 films a shoot. I would exhaustingly develop and scan from 6pm- 3am bi-weekly, sometimes daily at its busiest.
A big change for this year will be putting all my professional commissions in 2018 through a pro-lab so i can focus as much time as possible dreaming up further projects and bettering what I can offer. That said, I whole-heartedly recommend to any photographer learning how to develop yourself as it teaches you so much about photography and is a creative exercise in itself.
One of the coolest things and highlights from spending a year focusing on my craft working film into my everyday offerings has been the support and friends i've made within the amazing community of film photographers as well as the arrival of brand endorsements from Fujifilm and Cinestill Films.
2017 was a very big year in terms of overcoming one of my biggest pre-occupations - giving up the safety of a day job. After 2 years, I left my job at a record label and pursued my Film Directing and Photography full-time. Since then, I have been throwing everything I have into making the best of the opportunities that come my way and sitting tight through what i call the lay low days where you spend as little as possible and ride it out. So far, freelance has been as exciting as it is anxiety-inducing - a lot of 'ride by the seat of your pants' experiences so far. I'm still here and had three square meals today so WOO. One of the coolest things was the music video I directed on my first day freelancing hit a million views over Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who put their trust and belief in me to shoot their images and films over the past year and everyone who I have worked alongside crew and production wise so far. I have loved and learnt so much working with all of you and cannot wait to see what's possible with the 342 days remaining in 2018!
All my love,