Back towards the end of 2016 and early 2017 EM asked the film community what type of articles we would like to see in 2017. I suggested maybe he challenged photographers to shoot in a style that was opposite of what they normally do. Little did I realise that EM’s first response was to challenge me to shoot in a different style and me the first victim willing participant.

Grudgingly agreeing to do it, the first step was to choose what type of photography I was going to be challenged to shoot. It turns out close-up was the challenge EM chose, it would have been macro but I don’t own any macro lenses or kits.

I guess this was because I normally shoot city or landscape types of photographs.

[EM: Got it in one, Sandeep. I’ve challenged myself to produce work that’s different to my usual approach, as well as portraits – a type of photography I rarely engage in. Share the pleasure, share the pain, I say!]

So challenge accepted, I needed to decide on the whats and hows. We agreed I would use my Olympus OM-1N with its 28mm Zuiko lens, as it can get a bit closer than the 50mm lens.

My next choice was what film stock to use. I probably should have put a bit more thought into this and maybe made it easier on myself. However I made my choice based on two things:

  • I am trying to work through my expired film stash as part of amove towards ‘fresh’ film only
  • I had some film from a #filmswap with EMULSIVE so I figured it would be fitting to use one of those films

Thus I loaded the camera with Kodak VISION2 250D 5205 motion picture film (there’s a review here for Kodak VISION3 250D 5207). I had never shot this film before & being expired, it could have been a bit hit and miss with the results. The roll was shot over the course of a week during my work lunchtimes in London.

Out I went with not a clue what to do. Thinking “close-up“, my mind went through a number of thoughts about what to photograph.

Am I to shoot patterns and textures?“, “…should it be small details of things I see or a close-up that leads the viewer into something else in the rest of the picture?

As you may know, being London based I like to photograph aspects of London, so I started with the plan to find London-related images. The below are what I went for.

Having shot a few frames like this, it got me thinking if I was actually following the brief or simply taking an easier option.

By way of a bit of background for context, when I go out to shoot I tend to only take one or two rolls of film with me. I am not a prolific shooter on a walk, thus I knew I would be restricted to 36 exposures for this challenge. So, I decided to change tack and try and get a bit closer and not be so obvious in what I was shooting. Below are the images that I went for.

I could feel as I was taking those photos that it wasn’t very inspiring or interesting and to keep it fresh for me I needed to think again about the challenge, so I became determined to try harder and shoot closer.

My thought process lead me to think about patterns, shapes and textures; something I don’t do very often at all. Thus the below are what I went for next.

I will leave it to EM to say if I met the challenge correctly or not. But what I can say is it was a very worthwhile.

It got me thinking about different ways to take photographs, to not only focus on expansive shots but to think about details. Of all the images in here my favourites are actually the last group, textures, which surprised me as heading out I would have thought the London aspects would have been the one’s that appealed to me most.

So what now?

Well it doesn’t mean I will now shoot lots of textures and close ups or inherently change my style, but I will now be much more thoughtful about looking for textures as part of the sets of photos I am taking and I’m sure a few will be incorporated into my future images.

So who out there is next up for the challenge?

~ Sandeep

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About the author

Avatar - Sandeep Sumal

Sandeep Sumal

London and South East England based amateur film photographer. I enjoy wandering with my camera seeing what the world has to offer and how I can capture it. Oh and biscuits, I enjoy biscuits.

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