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I am Sam Smith and this is why I shoot film

I am Sam Smith and this is why I shoot film

Welcome to EMULSIVE interview 102! Today we’re grabbing some time with new film shooter Sam Smith from Nottingham in the UK.

Sam’s a bit of a medium format landscape junkie, as you’ll see below.

Over to you, Sam!

 

 

Hi Sam, what’s this picture, then?

Back Tor - Hasselblad 500C-M - Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 - Ilford HP5+ - Kodak HC-110 - Epson 4180

Back Tor – Hasselblad 500C-M – Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 – Ilford HP5+ – Kodak HC-110 – Epson 4180

This is the last picture I took on a trip to the Peak District three days after I bought my Hasselblad. I got up at 3:40 in the morning so I could get on the first train and get there at 7:00am, just after sunrise. It had snowed quite a lot the night before and I didn’t really have any idea where to go but I wondered round and take a few shots.

In the afternoon I decided to walk to the next town over, which turned out to be massively overambitious but I made it to the pub as it got dark. This shot was the very last shot I took that day and on that walk.

I must’ve done something wrong in the development from the first roll that day because they all came out weird but I took 3 shots on a second roll which worked out fine, but the first 2 aren’t very good photos so after all that this was the only good photo I got that day. If anybody’s interested it was taken on Ilford HP5+ and developed by myself with Kodak HC-110 (1+49, 8 mins).

 

 

Ok, so who are you? (the short version, please)

Caravan - Zenza Bronica ETRS - Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 - Shanghai GP3 - Ilfosol 3 - Epson 4180

Caravan – Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 – Shanghai GP3 – Ilfosol 3 – Epson 4180

SS: I’m Sam, I’m 19 and I’m currently studying Physics at the University of Nottingham in the UK..

 

 

When did you start shooting film and what about now? What drives you to keep shooting?

Swallow Falls - Zenza Bronica ETRS - Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 - Ilford HP5+ - Kodak HC110 - Epson 4180

Swallow Falls – Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 – Ilford HP5+ – Kodak HC110 – Epson 4180

SS: About a year ago, when I found a Bronica ETRS at the Oxfam (a charity shop) that I was volunteering at. I went out to Birmingham city centre with my dad and shot my first roll soon after and really enjoyed it. I started self developing after my first roll because there was also a lot of development equipment available at the Oxfam.

I keep shooting film because I enjoy it, and that’s it really. I like using the cameras, I like developing my pictures and more recently I’ve been enjoying printing them in the university darkroom.

Hardraw Force - Zenza Bronica ETRS - Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 - Shanghai GP3 - Ilfosol 3 - Epson 4180

Hardraw Force – Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 – Shanghai GP3 – Ilfosol 3 – Epson 4180

 

 

What’s the next challenge…your next step? How do you see improving your technique, or what aspect of your photography would you like to try and master in the next 12 months?

Swaledale - Zenza Bronica ETRS - Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 - Shanghai GP3 - Ilfosol 3 - Epson 4180

Swaledale – Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 – Shanghai GP3 – Ilfosol 3 – Epson 4180

SS: I mostly just want to take more photos, which for me means going to interesting places. Other than that I’d really like to get more consistent results from my black and white photos. It seems every roll for me has some issue in it.

 

 


Any favourite subject matter?

Thornton Force - Zenza Bronica ETRS - Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 - Velvia 50 (Expired 2004) - Epson 4180

Thornton Force – Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenzanon EII 75mm f-2.8 – Velvia 50 (Expired 2004) – Epson 4180

SS: I like shooting landscapes, so trees, rocks and rivers I guess.

 

 

You can never use film again. What’s your last roll?

Spiral Stairs - Hasselblad 500C-M - Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 - Kodax T-Max 400 (bad batch) - Kodak HC-110 - Epson 4180

Spiral Stairs – Hasselblad 500C-M – Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 – Kodax T-Max 400 (bad batch) – Kodak HC-110 – Epson 4180

SS: I’d probably never be able to decide, so my last would be the last one I shot, which was a roll of Kodak T-MAX 400 from one of the bad batches which I shot in the Peak District in June.

 

 

You have 2 minutes to prepare for an assignment. One camera, one lens, two films and no idea of the subject matter. What to you take with you and why?

Andrew - Hasselblad 500C-M - Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 - Kodak Portra 400 - Epson 4180

Andrew – Hasselblad 500C-M – Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 – Kodak Portra 400 – Epson 4180

SS: My Hasselblad 500C/M, Zeiss Distagon 60mm/3.5 and two rolls of Iford HP5+. It’s my best camera and lens, and the film I’m most familiar with.

 

 

You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location. Where do you go?

Ruined House - Hasselblad 500C-M - Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 - Kodax T-Max 400 (bad batch) - Kodak HC-110 - Epson 4180

Ruined House – Hasselblad 500C-M – Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 – Kodax T-Max 400 (bad batch) – Kodak HC-110 – Epson 4180

SS: Iceland. I went there on a school trip a few years ago, before I started shooting film, and really enjoyed it.

 

 

What do you think is people’s greatest misconception about film photography and how would you set it straight?

Natural Light - Hasselblad 500C-M - Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 - Kodak Portra 400 - Epson 4180

Natural Light – Hasselblad 500C-M – Zeiss Distagon CF 60mm f-3.5 – Kodak Portra 400 – Epson 4180

SS: That it’s expensive and not worth pursuing anymore, but I’m not bothered about correcting it because I’m happy to let people continue to shoot digital if they want.

~ Sam Smith

 


 

Over the years I’ve become a lover of landscape photography, especially what I’d call “big landscapes”. You know the ones I’m talking about: wide, sprawling vistas that provide a feast for the eyes time and time again. I’m still also stuck on photographs of the world in slightly closer quarters – urban landscape and detail, if you will. Sam delivers on both counts.

He’s only been shooting his film camera for a little over a year now and he’s really gotten to grips with both. Swaledale above especially sticks out as an amazing piece of work. Really mind blowing.

Once again, it’s encouraging to see young, new film photographers enter the fray, especially those with an open mindset toward digital photography like Sam. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

You can see more of Sam’s fantastic work over on his Flickr Stream. Please do go and check it out.

We’ll be back again with another film photographer very soon. In the meantime, keep shooting folks!

 

 

 

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About The Author

EMULSIVE

Self confessed film-freak and filmphotography mad-obsessive. I push, pull, shoot, boil and burn film everyday, and I want to share what I learn. It might not all be right but it's a start.

1 Comment

  1. Great Interview!

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