Category Archives: Photography

Photography with an 86 year old!

Photograph of St James Park, Liverpool

St James Park, Liverpool

Sorting out the loft (still not sorted by the way), I came across my dad’s old May Fair Camera. A simple box camera made in 1931.

After cleaning the May Fair inside and out, I ventured out armed with a new roll of 120mm Ilford HP4 – still available from Boots the Chemist – and made a few photographs at St James Park by Liverpool Cathedral. What you see above is scanned from the original print and has not been enhanced or altered. The weather was overcast but the light reasonable.

After using digital cameras for many years now it takes some getting used to the idea that you only have 8 negatives! It really focusses the mind on the job in hand.

The viewfinder is very small and despite my best efforts at cleaning remains a somewhat scratched. Composition was difficult and the photographer has to rely on sufficient light reaching the mirror that reflects the image up onto the tiny viewfinder.

My dad's vintage May Fair Camera

My dad’s vintage May Fair Camera

I think for an 86 year old camera this image is impressive and I will be going out again to see what else I can capture with this vintage gem.

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A New Direction

My first camera

My first camera

Back in May 2014 I posted this:

Over the past couple of years photography has increasingly become a more important part of my life. I use it as a part of my job as a graphic designer but I’m also using it more and more outside of the professional sphere to take images that give me pleasure or capture a moment in time. Drawing and painting are truly pleasurable activities too but there’s something about photographs & photography in general that is really beginning to dominate my free time.

I intend to post a some of my photographs to this blog, along with observations on photography, cameras equipment etc and I hope you enjoy the new direction this blog will now take. I will, as before, continue to make comment or write about other subjects or events that interest me or come to my attention.

To read my May 2104 post follow the link below:
https://taylorsimons.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/between-one-second-and-the-next/

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1950s: New York by Saul Leiter

“Saul Leiter (born 1923) is an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as The New York School”

A true master of observation and creation of something sublime out of the ordinary.

http://bit.ly/1gng1c1

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A new photo blog

I’ve started a photoblog at: http://gerrysimonsphoto.wordpress.com – so if you have a moment please take a look. Thanks.

Statue Barcelona Pavillion

I’ll continue blogging here too from time to time so keep dropping back.

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Iconic Photographs Recreated with Legos

If you like Lego and famous photographs this one is for you. Brilliant!

lego pic

 

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A box of old cameras No.4: Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35

The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus and was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. 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.

An elegant and simple design

An elegant and simple design

I can’t remember when I bought my Trip 35, most likely back in the 70s. This model has the black shutter release button and not the snazzy and somewhat less common chrome version that came with the earlier models.

I had recently landed my first design job with the graphics department of a local authority. With a regular income coming in (at last) felt that I could splash out on a new camera. I wanted a compact, but something better than an ‘instamatic‘ and the Olympus Trip fitted the bill.

Rear view

Rear view

Lighter and smaller than my Praktica the trip offered me the ideal mix of a quality 35mm with a decent lens and some manual control. My old Praktica was brilliant and I had taken it to Paris when I was a student, but this was a bulky and heavy camera to lug about all day. The trip turned out to be the perfect solution on a trip to Amsterdam, back in the days when that was a cheap destination.

I suppose from the on it became my favourite camera right up until the digital era.

For those who want to see what this little camera can do try this Flickr group.

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A box of old cameras No.3: Praktica Nova 1

Praktica Nova 1 camera

Praktica Nova 1 still looking good

Presented at the 1967 Leipzig Spring Fair, the Praktica nova 1 brought much needed updates to the nova series. Following the lead of the Prakticamat, the nova 1 replaced the two-range shutter speed dial with a modern non-rotating one, with regularly-spaced speeds. In addition, it introduced the PL system for secure and rapid loading.

This East German camera is different from the two earlier posts on this subject (the Kodak Deluxe and the Kodak Instamatic 50) in that this beauty was all mine and represents a turning point for me in so many ways. Back in the 70s I was offered a place on the pre-diploma design course at Warrington College of Art & Design but a 35mm SLR camera was a prerequisite of the course. As my grant back then (yes, we did receive state aid), only amounted to £16 (not a lot of state aid), I had to ask my parents for some help. Despite his serious reservations about the art and design course and the fact we were far from wealthy, my dad purchased the camera after seeing this model on offer in a local shop. You can imagine my delight in owning such a great piece of equipment and I did appreciate the trust placed in my career choice.

Nova One front view

Nova 1 front view showing the Domiplan lens

This was my first camera and photography (along with design) has been a part of my life ever since. I went on to master darkroom techniques including developing and printing in both black and white and colour. I moved on to shooting reversal film using mainly Kodak and Agfa products and now have a large number of old slides that I must digitize one of these days, once I find the best method, (any suggestions would be appreciated by the way).

Nova one back

Nova one back view showing part of the PL loading system

Now all the studio kit is digital, mainly Canon and Pentax, but I will always have a soft spot for my old Praktica Nova 1.

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