Published on 10. 11. 2011 at 3:05 pm
Jonathan Keys’ photo of a drunk sitting in the rain (Fujifilm Neopan 400, Rolleiflex) is part of an ongoing street style theme that the Newcastle-based photographer has been exploring in his hometown. On a day where drizzle had set in for the long haul, he took advantage of a break in the bustling crowd to capture this complacent figure. The nature of such a scene is that the opportunity to shoot is very much ad hoc, and this is something Jonathan relishes: “I tend to find as I gain more experience I shoot less and less and rather look for the shot that might work.”
Taking inspiration from local scenes, Jonathan proves you need not stray further than your own home to find a shot worth capturing. In “Hung Out”, he has made use of an outdated Polaroid B&W film to take advantage of his wife’s decision to wash their daughter’s soft toys. One of the joys of Polaroid is its unpredictability – no two snaps are the same, yet they always bring an added sense of character to their results. The washing line scene provided Jonathan with the excuse he needed to test this theory out, and also to try the tilt and shift action on his Micro Precision Products Mark 8. It’s a camera which forces greater planning than he employs in his street photography, and this alternative, slower and more methodical approach is one of a range of styles Jonathan enjoys.
Discussing his ongoing experimentation and processes, he notes a good method for technical development and confidence-building is to attempt to recreate images taken by other photographers. At this point in the learning curve, Jonathan relishes the flexibility of breaking away from what is expected and focussing rather on what he wants to take. By following a varied range of photographers, he has also found his own “melting pot” of styles and themes – although notes that an element of good luck never goes amiss.
Another Rolleiflex photograph, this camera is the one which gave Jonathan the film bug, and rescued his passion for shooting:
“I came to a stage in photography when it was more soul destroying than enjoyable. I felt I was just pressing a button. Then I came across an old Rolleiflex in a secondhand shop… To me film had kept the atmosphere in the shots as opposed to the sterilisation that digital attaches to the shot. I realised what avid film shooters where talking about and I was a convert.”
And now there’s no turning back. He even has his preferred film for all scenarios taken care of:
“I find I like Kodak Porta for natural light shots as this captures the scene as I remember it. Fujichrome Provia for flash and studio gives a polished, clean feel and works well with my lighting system. And when I’m in a black and white mood there’s usually a roll of Fujifilm Neopan in the camera. This I like especially if I push it a stop or two, and it works wonders in natural light interior shots.”
Jonathan uses a Nikon D700, a TLR Rolleiflex (“which I adore and have named Rachael”), and an MPP mark 8 (5?4 field camera with tilts and swings).
More of Jonathan’s work can be seen on his ChooseFilm profile: http://choosefilm.com/members/rolleimpp/album