The Personal Work of Mark Hillyer
When I was putting my new website together I thought that I’d really like to have a page that featured my personal work. Most of it isn’t from a particular shoot or anything like that, I just carry a camera around with me wherever I go and a lot of the posts featured on this page where taken when an opportunity arose. Some of the posts might be some of the photographs I’ve taken when Fiona and I have been away somewhere or if there was a particular event that we went to. Everything featured on this page does have one thing that ties it all together though. It’s all shot on film, or ‘Analogue’ as I believe the kids are calling it now…perhaps this page should be called ‘Why I love shooting film’ ?
When I first learned photography, it was with film. All the way through college I used film and then even working on the cruise ships, you guessed it, we used film. A LOT of film – sometimes hundreds of rolls a day. I should say right away and to avoid being bombarded with email from digital photographers that I’m not anti-digital, I do have several digital cameras too and digital photography is great for so many things, including weddings. I do shoot my weddings digitally (Although I also bring a film camera with me for a few shots).
The thing with film is that it slows you down and makes you consider every frame. The limitations of having only 10, 24 or 36 exposures makes every frame valuable, so you take your time and make sure everything is right. It’s a great mindset to get into, even when you’re shooting digitally where it’s so easy to end up taking 10 photographs that are all the same.
Film just looks great. The colours and tonal range are stunning, you’d have to spend quite a bit of time on the computer to give a photograph that special something that Fuji 400H or Kodak Portra has straight out of the camera. Even the imperfections, the things that used to earn you a ‘Sticker of shame’ when you used to take a film to a lab for processing, double exposures and light leaks look good now. When film was all we had I’d have discarded those shots, but then when digital photography removed those particular imperfections, I started to miss them a bit.
For the technically minded, I use a pair of Leicas (M6 & M2) for 35mm work and a pair of Pentax 6x7s for medium format work – I love them all and yes, they all have names.
I use the excellent UKFilmLab for my colour work and I process my Black and white stuff in the kitchen before scanning it myself. You just can’t beat the smell of Photographic chemicals…