52 weeks – taken on a film camera

I admit we’d had a few beers when we came up with the idea, but I was already hatching the plan because I knew that after a year of daily self portraits I couldn’t go on. And I couldn’t stop.

So that conversation in a bar with some photographer friends started a whole new project – 52 weeks.

It was partly to make sure I kept on taking photos, and to get to know my new-to-me camera, a gorgeous completely manual medium format camera called Vlad (yes I did give him a name – and if you’re interested his full name is Vlad the impaler because of the little spike on the focussing ring).


And this year I was determined that it would be different. I already knew I had the stamina to keep going all year. No excuses. But this time I’ve learnt a lot about light and how to meter it. And how to make decisions based on that meter reading and what I know about the light conditions. On the effect I want to achieve. And how the film will react.

I’ve learnt about how to get it right in one or two shots. Last year I’d take a minimum of 20 shots per day, this years I take a handful a week – and it’s a liberating experience.

But probably the best thing that Vlad and this project has taught me is about pre-visualisation – the art of deciding in advance how you want your shot to turn out and then how to make it so. It doesn’t work every time. I’ve had my share of disasters. And happy accidents where it’s not how I’ve imagined it but it turned out well all the same. But oh, when it works. It’s the best feeling in the world.


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