By way of introduction my name is Geoff Roughton and to get it out of the way, 4 years ago I had a stroke…..well actually a series of mini-strokes followed by something more major. I don’t tell you this because I want sympathy but merely to let you know where I’m coming from, as I’ve made a pretty good recovery. Lucy over on the Colour Film Photography group on Facebook encouraged me to pen this and I’m glad I have.

I had for many years been a pro snapper, nothing great just bread and butter stuff, weddings, sports and suchlike and my only claim to fame is to be, at one time, The Ring magazine’s “man in the UK”. Anyways enough of that.

Since my stroke, every year I’ve said to myself, “this is the year I’m going to get back into my photography.” Its always been a passion of mine but I’d go out with my old film cameras and something would happen that would knock me back. Forgetting to do something, camera shake, poor results from poor labs and a whole multitude of other sins. It got me, well, depression. People often speak about the physical loses a stroke imposes but rarely about the mental issues, loss of cognitive skills and the melancholy mood the recognition of this brings.

So, this year, I decided it really was going to be my year: start with a clean sheet. I dove in.

I’d promised young Sam Lyon a photo shoot a year ago, she’s a local musician I shot years ago when she was starting out. I arranged a test shoot and the weather, much as it was everywhere, was cold, dark and grey. I used my Canon EOS 33 and 50mm f/1.8 STM lens, and decided to underexpose and then push process the film. I was hoping that would be enough to give me faster shutter speeds to avoid handshake and something told me it would bump the contrast.

I’d learnt the hard way that if you want good results from film and can’t do it yourself, you should send it to a good lab. My lab of choice is Canadian Film Lab, I’ve known Christian and Erica a long time and only ever had excellent results from them when I got it right.

So, I sent my film off to them with a certain amount of trepidation – I hadn’t underexposed and had film pushed in years. I was over the moon with what I got back and for me, it’s a great start to the year. These frames are five of my favorites from the roll I got back.

I have loads of projects planned and hope I can take you along on my journey. I have a website planned and a decent Instagram feed as well for a web presence. See you all soon.

~ Geoff

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  1. The five frames you shared with everyone are truly wonderful. I think that portrait photography is the toughest, at least for me. She looks completely at ease and natural in each shot! Beautiful work. Its all about the journey, so I hope you continue to enjoy each test roll 🙂

    • Thank you so much! Although I struggle with the technical side I’m very much a people person which helps with portraits. Working in gyms, in a previous life, trying to get shots of boxers who really didn’t want you there helps as well. You quickly learn the cheeky chappy banter that puts people at ease and it’s when you get the best shots. Having a rapport that connects with the subject regardless of how long you’ve known them is the key…most of the time 🙂 best Geoff

  2. Its funny how what will be the most therapeutic when a photographer struggles or finds themselves in a dark place can be the most difficult thing to move forward with. It can feel like suddenly photography has turned her back and will not longer provide the comfort she always has in the past. It can feel like a betrayal. The more time we spend away from our passions the further out of reach they feel and every attempt to get back into the swing of working again can be met with the most consuming doubt and self criticism, even more so than when one is first starting out. I too have felt similar struggles with depression and finding myself unable to pick up a camera. Thank you for sharing this very personal triumph, its nice when we can share not only in our art but what makes us vulnerable and human.

    • Thank you for your kind words and very well said. It’s like within each of us lurks the artist, the means of expression may differ, but that need to express can be a powerful force. It can also be destructive when how hard you try you cannot meet your own self imposed expectations. I seem to have now won that battle and have started my renewal and re acquaintance in my old friend photography. I’ve much to do, to remember, relearn, but I’m enjoying every step and while each and every roll shot feels like a “test roll” Im loving it…best Geoff

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