In a new series, we talk to film fanatics from all around the UK about their passion for film photography and their favourite places to shoot in their home town. Today we go to Billinge in Merseyside to meet Ray McKean who has a wealth of knowledge about film cameras.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Middle aged returnee to film shooting, also do some digital but prefer film. I have no pretensions about being an artist but like to try and see stuff, capture the moment and if a total stranger sees what I see and likes it, that’s a bonus for me. That’s why I love being in communities like this. I also love the aesthetics of old cameras as objects in their own right, imagine being able to see all that they have seen.
Where did your love for film photography start?
Back before digital, when film was all there was! Started on a 110 instamatic, learned about cameras with a Zenit 12xp and used a Minolta X300 with a couple of Tamron zooms for some time. Ended up selling all that (marriage/babies/cash/all those dramas) and stuck with snappy snapshot cameras, back through digital snappy cameras until I got a DSLR. Then got nostalgic for my old gear and film, looked on ebay…bought a £3 Halina 3000 for curiosity and got hooked. 17 Cameras and counting (110, 120, 35mm). I love film as I feel it captures the ‘moment’ better, you feel like you have caught a piece of time. I dont get that from digital (though I still use digital a lot – I also have 4 digital cameras and use it for convenience-often the same time and shots as the film ones).
What are you favourite cameras and why?
Pentax p30n as it does what I do with the DSLR but on film (and Pentax lens is pin sharp).
Minolta Hi Matic G – small, pretty, light and unobtrusive zone focus with a good lens.
Olympus 35RC – as above but with a decent rangefinder.
Pentax Auto 110 – tiny, auto, superb lens, talking point.
Minolta 110 zoom – quality lens and looks great.
Lubitel 166U – gets people curious and a nice challenge to ‘work’ with.
Tell us a bit about these photos you chose.
The first is one of the first ‘Lomo’ shots I tried with the Halina. Then some BW shots with the Pentax P30 taken in Liverpool, some shots of a local abandoned place with the Minolta and some streety things from my holiday (from Istanbul and Split) with a little Olympus AF50 point and shoot. Not much to say, I just go out and point the camera at stuff and hope it turns out ok.
What are your two favourite locations to shoot in your area?
I live between 2 diverse towns (Wigan and St Helens) which are surrounded by countryside so there is great scope from landscape to street photography available. Also I live close to 2 major cities (Manchester and Liverpool) which can provide loads of interest. Liverpool waterfront is a favourite place of mine.
If you were to invent a new film camera what would it do?
I think a digital preview screen would sometimes be handy..
Thanks for the interview!