Starting Off On The Wrong Foot Is Usually Better Than Not Starting At All

20/06/2021
Hi everyone, and welcome to my first ever blog post. I am really grateful you stopped by here, and I hope you’re doing well.

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I feel like I should start with a small introduction…. Short of an in person “hello” where you can see me in real life, I’ll give the information on the most relevant details.

My name is Tim, and I’m originally from Kent in the southeast of England. I live in a van with my girlfriend Willow. We are both creative, outdoorsy people and try to spend a lot of our time climbing, running, making photos, and generally exploring. The aim is to try and live a life more in tune with our values and interests, prioritising fun adventures, freedom to be ourselves and easier access to wide, wild spaces. I can’t really sum it all up with a tick-list of things we’ve done or like to do. I’d say it’s more about an attitude of approaching life as an experiment, where the idea is to test how much of an interesting and memorable experience it can be when you go out of your way to be true to yourself.

We work hard to sustain the lifestyle we have, and in that sense there is no arrival. There is no regular routine to make this way of life work out, and that’s part of the appeal.

I’ve started this blog because I want to add a little detail around some of the photos I make and because I want to share some of the ideas and stories that come with them. My aim is to offer a deeper connection to my work and more permanent platform for my images, as opposed to the tiny and short-lived squares on Instagram. I’ll try and keep this first post fairly brief.

I’ve been obsessed with taking photographs for as long as I can remember, and I decided at the beginning of this year that 2021 would be a year of portfolio; where I set aside time and focus on creating the work I truly want to create. Like many things in life, this path isn’t a linear or obvious one. A couple months back, I’d planned a month-long trip around Wales with locations and shots in mind; we’d explore and make incredible images. I was really excited about the days we had planned and the stuff we'd shoot. A week into the trip, I managed to soak my DSLR in a waterfall in the Brecon Beacons. The camera shut down on the spot and just like that I couldn’t take photos. Long story short, fortunately the camera was salvageable and got sent off to be repaired* – but in the meantime there were images I still wanted to create.

I’ll be honest and say the loss of my DSLR knocked me flat for a day or so, and I took the incident very personally. I didn’t know at first if it could be fixed; and the timing of losing it wasn’t ideal, though it could have been a whole lot worse.

I’d never shot film before, but incredibly, a family member had just gifted a hand-me-down Canon AE-1 Program along with a few lenses. Though I’ve been using DSLRs for years, I look up to a lot of photographers that do shoot film; and I’d say the colours that film produces inspire my digital grading. I picked up this analogue camera and just felt charged with fresh energy to create.
I'm used to autofocus and having a huge colour screen to see through. Even shooting fully manual with a DSLR is a cushioned experience; you have a preview of what the image will look like and unlimited storage space, providing a wide safety net should you miss the mark first (or second or third) time around.
Holding this film camera, I found myself suddenly paying attention more, feeling more analytical of the environment around me; and also encouraged to be bolder when shooting. I missed a couple of golden moments when I decided to play it safe or wait for the perfect frame. Shooting film, I feel, encourages in the photographer that sixth sense of picking up on moments about to happen; as opposed to waiting till they're definitely here and almost passed. Additionally, I discovered that being a beginner in an activity you’re essentially very familiar with is a very exciting and intriguing feeling. I was starting again in a sense and felt that sense of boundless potential that comes with not being established with a skill. I started snapping away, already obsessed. Film forced observing moments without impeding onto them, and I love that aspect of it.

What follows here is a selection of my first five rolls that I shot in just over three weeks – from mid-May to the beginning of June. Wales, Yorkshire, and the Lake District; mostly candid snapshots of life in the slow lane, moments at the birdsong helm of a ship that steers itself. We did a whole lot of climbing, hiking, wild swimming, and generally hanging out in beautiful parts of the country. We also came away with some beautiful images, and despite everything, images I am truly proud of. I’m stoked to begin a wholesome journey shooting film. I had some bad luck at the beginning of this trip and I’m so glad I persevered to create images. Starting off on the wrong foot is usually better than not starting at all, and this was definitely the case here.

Thanks again for reading and checking this out, and I hope of course you enjoy the photos. If you did, you can sign up to my newsletter here and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every month.

Thanks to all the friends who made the last few weeks so incredible, and thanks to those who’ve given me advice on film photography – especially Jacob Martin for showing me how it’s done (you can check out his work at www.midnowhere.co.uk or his Instagram: @mid_nowhere). Thanks to The Film Safe (www.thefilmsafe.co.uk) for processing these scans, I absolutely love the way they have come out.

If you'd like to hang out and shoot some images or just hang out for a good adventure, I'd love to meet up with you as well. Drop me a line through my contact page or head over to my Instagram @timhasfun. I look forward to hearing from you.

 ̴ All shot with Kodak Gold 200 & Kodak Ultramax 400.

*My DSLR has still not been returned over a month later at the time of writing, but is thankfully being successfully repaired.