"That feeling when a photo turns out so much more beautiful than you imagined, or when you notice that you’ve captured something in the background that you didn’t notice at the time of taking the photo feels so special and can’t be replicated by the instant gratification you get from digital photography."
Tell us something about yourself.
My name’s Wendy, I’m in my late twenties, and I live in the Scottish countryside, near Edinburgh, with my boyfriend and my African grey parrot. I work promoting cycling, but in my spare time I also write the blog ‘Red Boots’ – www.red-boots.blogspot.com – where I write about my life in Edinburgh and post photos I’ve taken.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
My father has always been quite a prolific photo taker, especially on family vacations where he was rarely seen without his trusty SLR. As I was a definite daddy’s girl, I wanted a camera so I could be just like him. On one family vacation to Portugal, when I must have been about six years old, I was over the moon when my dad presented me with a little red 110 film camera. I was in my element, spending the whole holiday taking photos of the lizards that ran up the side of the white villa we stayed in, and the peacocks that wandered into the garden. For the next few years I stuck with 110 film for it’s easy loading. Then when I was about 12 I progressed to 35 mm film. In my teenage years and early twenties I had a hiatus from photography, but a few years ago, influenced by the blogs I was reading, I bought a Holga, which reignited my passion for film photography.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
My style is very much anything goes. I try not to think too hard about taking a photo. If I see something I like I just get my camera out, take a photo and trust my instincts that it will turn out ok. My usual subjects are buildings because I feel inspired by pretty architecture. I also love taking photos of fairgrounds as their whimsical nature seems to fit well with the holga. And whenever I go abroad I’m sure to take my Holga, as in Scotland the sunshine is fairly limited. However my Holga craves brilliant sunshine, and excelled herself in Morroco. However, I’m not restrictive on what subjects I photograph: if I see something pretty or I think will make a good subject then I’ll give it a go. Photography’s not something you can learn from a book – it’s all about trial and error, and learning from your mistakes and successes. The only way to learn is to take photos, more photos and more photos!
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
I love this photo I took of a helter skelter at the Christmas fair in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens last Christmas. It was a beautifully sunny mid-winter’s day, and the colours of the helter skelter seemed to really pop against the deep blue sky. I got my Holga out and started shooting. I used my Holga 120CFN and Kodak Portra Vivid Colour Film. I feel it really shows the dream-like personality the Holga has.
If your photographs could have a soundtrack, what would it be?
I mostly photograph using my Holga, so my photos have that blurry, vignetted dream-like feel to them. For this reason, I’d have to say something like Boards of Canada (www.boardsofcanada.com) would be my photographic soundtrack of choice as their music is the closest to being in a daydream that I’ve found.
We all have our idols; which photographers do you look up to? Who or what influences your photographic style?
I really admire the photographs of other bloggers, and take some of my inspiration from them. In the UK I adore Rhianne from the blog For the Easily Distracted (www.fortheeasilydistracted.blogspot.com) who is always posting great film photos, and has an impressive film camera collection. Abroad, I adore Rockstar Diaries (www.tazaandhusband.com). Naomi’s pretty Holgas and Dianas were what really got me into Lomography.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film (living or dead), who would it be, which camera would you use, and why?
Portrait photography isn’t particularly my forte – it’s definitely something I need to practice practice practice on! However, I would love to have the chance to photograph the singer Natasha Khan from Bat for Lashes (www.batforlashes.com). She’s such an striking and intriguingly beautiful girl. Her music and style seem other-worldly, and I think the Holga would capture her and her personality perfectly.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
While digital photography definitely has its place, there’s nothing quite like the magic and anticipation associated with analogue film. From the moment you start photos on film, you never know how they’re going to turn out, so that anticipation of waiting for your photos to be returned from the processing lab is almost like waiting for Christmas Day to arrive! That feeling when a photo turns out so much more beautiful than you imagined, or when you notice that you’ve captured something in the background that you didn’t notice at the time of taking the photo feels so special and can’t be replicated by the instant gratification you get from digital photography.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite? / Which Lomographic camera would you like to have and why?
A lot of people are into photography today. What would you say to them to inspire them more?
The best way I find is to get involved with the online photography community. Share your photos online, and read blogs and sites of photographers you admire. Get involved in online discussions. If, after all of that, you’re still really struggling with inspiration, take your camera and go a walk round your neighbourhood.
Aside from Red Boots, do you have other creative online/offline projects? If none, what other creative pursuits do you wish you could explore?
I work full time and am currently renovating our old house and expanding our family (our first child is due in December) so unfortunately I have little time for other creative pursuits at the moment. Blogging and photography suit me well because I can fit them round the demands in my life. If time allowed, however, I’d love to do more photography, particularly Lomography, SLR and DSLR photography, and have my own little darkroom. I’d also love to get into graphic design. My partner is a graphic designer and he has promised to teach me the basics, so we’ll see how that goes!