I love taking portraits, and used to take far more than I do now. Rather than just being satisfied by getting candid pictures when out with friends, I’d make a point of organising to meet up with someone where the main purpose was to take some portraits.
This was always viewed a bit strangely by some people, as I never really had any particular ‘theme’ or ‘concept’ – just straight up portrait pictures. The predominant idea was always that a photographer would have some sort of great idea for an image, and the model would help make that happen. For me though, it was never about that. Instead, the people were the interesting part – not what else was happening in the frame. I was always terrible at giving direction, instead preferring to talk pish and wander about somewhere, taking pictures along the way; a cross between candids and something more formal. I’m sure plenty of people thought I was insane, but that’s alright, because the results always came out way better than the posed equivalents… as far as I’m concerned anyway.
This sort of thing is where my Hasselblad really sang. There’s something about medium format film portraits that have always been particularly appealing to me, and it’s something I want to get back to doing more of. Heather kindly let me borrow her for an hour the other day, and I shot through a few rolls as we chatted about what was going on in our shared circles of friends, and tried not to freeze to death in the park.
Since I’m not processing my own colour film at the moment, it can take a few weeks to get the negatives back… and I feel guilty about not having anything to show people quickly afterwards. When I did the processing, I would make a point of developing the films within a couple of days maximum. To counter-act that guilty feeling, I took a few digital pictures as well – on the Leica M8, with the Canon 50mm f0.95. They came out quite nicely. Hopefully the 120 film shots will be even better…