I found an old 35mm camera in the attic of our house – I bought a battery and rewound the film that was in it.
These images are of a Rodeo I went to in Cuba (1999) – the vaqueros pictured were the ones I had the privilege to ride up and across the hills around Viñales with (a small town and municipality in the north-central Pinar del Río Province of Cuba). These are the same people I drank rum with at 6 0?clock in the morning and the ones who carried me to my bed at 1 o’clock in the morning.
This arena was part of a complex (by a lake) where Castro’s stallions were kept and a cock fighting ring was situated – surrounded by small pens where the finest Mexican fighting cocks were pampered and preened. The entrance to the whole complex was maned by well armed guards.
I recently went down to Paignton in South Devon to see me my old mate Garry – we had a splendid day drinking at a Beer Festival and managed to take some decent photographs of Paignton Pier with an old Pentax Espio 120mi. This is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera. The Espio is an autofocus unit with automatic exposure settings and a built in flash unit.
One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Still life painting is something that I have grown into and I am inspired, not by the great masters like, Caravaggio who applied his form of naturalism to still life, but photographs.
Using the camera to – set the composition, the precise aspect ratio, depth of field, the distance – is a great tool. I then use these images in conjunction with the real observed objects.
The photograph above was taken using a Pentax Espio 120mi, which I obtained from a charity shop for £1.50. I used Ilford HP5 Plus a 35mm black and white film. More on HP5 here?
The quality of point and shoot 35mm film cameras is rather poor if you compare them to modern digital SLRs but…
The warm quality and retro feel of the images are perfect for my paintings.
The Pentax Espio 120mi is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera (also called a compact camera) and is a still camera designed for simplicity. The Espio is an autofocus unit, having automatic exposure settings options and a built in flash unit.
Design initiatives make this a small and flexible camera – notably the physical size and overall quality of finish make this camera a stylish baby. It houses a good quality zoom lens (38-120mm), with plenty of features that enable a variety of picture taking settings.
The focus and exposure system on this easy to use camera is an improvement on earlier Pentax compacts, giving sharp results and a decent contrast of tones. One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Caravaggio‘s Basket of Fruit (c. 1595–1600) is one of the first examples of -pure still life, precisely rendered and set at eye level.
My rummaging around in junk shops sometimes reaps great rewards. On my recent hunting expedition I found an Olympus Trip 35, another film camera I was searching for.
The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus. It was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. This camera makes use of a selenium photocell to select the shutter speeds and aperture let novices use the camera as a “point & shoot”, unfortunately this does not work on mine.
The Trip name was a reference to its intended market – people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.
I have begun to work over a screen printed canvas (the painting below is the one I have reworked) in the studios of West Buckland School, to illustrate/show a student how to edit a painting. It is important to remove all the noise from a image to get to a meaningful statement – too much clutter, to much overkill detracts the eye from the real deal.
The image above is a photograph I took with a Pentax Spotmatic 35mm camera using ‘old stock’ (March 2000) Agfacolor HDC 200 film. My current preoccupation with 35mm film photography as taught me to look at things again – capturing the odd moment or peculiar juxtaposition. The colours and layout are similar to the painting I have created from the screen printed painting below (I will post the finished painting image soon).
“Reflections Ilfracombe Harbour Jubilee Day 2012?
The composition of this painting is based on a Union Jack and is a combination of screen printing and painting.
The reflections in the harbour in Ilfracombe always amaze me – the dirty sea water mixed with the vivid colours of the reflected boats, the bobbing flotsam and jetsam, the sunlight and oil spills.
Here are some more photographs taken with another vintage Pentax camera that I purchased of ebay on the 15th July 2012. The Pentax Spotmatic takes M42 screw-thread lenses and was introduced by Asahi in 1964, it was the first SLR camera to sell well with a through-the-lens (TTL) exposure metering system. The light meter is activated by pushing a small switch (which is on the left side of the lens housing) upwards.
This was a really good find being considerably clean and worked straight away when I put a new battery in it. All the shutter speeds work correctly, the self timer works and the viewfinder is clear. The photographs above were taken using an out of date (March 2000) Agfacolor HDC 200 35mm film.
The term public art is especially significant within the art world, amongst curators, commissioning bodies and practitioners of public art, to whom it signifies a particular working practice, often with implications of site specificity.
The need to display art in a public place is usually driven by the ego of a local authority or prominent business or public figure within in a community. Placing grandiose statements within a town or city is seen as a way of increasing the importance of a place. There is a misconception that art elevates and rejuvenates an area – this is incorrect. There is more bad public art than there is good – out of proportion statues of footballers for an example.
The public art I like is the simple three-dimensional representation of company logos – signage is great public art.