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 Birmingham and meet Richard PJ Lambert who loves the LCA+ and The Custard Factory.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Aside from my obsession with photography, I like to play drums and guitar, go cycling and read comics. I’m happiest hanging out in my garden with my girlfriend Jen and cat Molly.
Where did your love for film photography start?
I’ve always had disposable cameras to remember travels and adventures with friends. When digital came around, I picked up one straight away – the immediacy of results and the potential to take infinite shots was such a great idea. Then I realised all the shots looked identical – flat and boring. Then the camera broke. Then the computer died.
When my best friend Kate got a Lomo ColorSplash, I realised what was missing – the whole process of making a picture was fun again and the results were imperfect and evocative.
What are you favourite cameras and why?
I really got into film photography when my girlfriend bought me a Lomo LC-A+, so I’m always going to have a special place for that. It is perfect for double exposures and trippy landscape pictures.
My ‘take everywhere camera’ is the Yashica T4 – the super sharp lens and the built-in flash make it good for all conditions. Also, the auto-focus is a life saver after a couple of drinks.
Recently, I’ve been getting into instant film with the Polaroid SX-70 & 340 Land Camera. They are a bit unpredictable but the process is exciting and the results are unlike anything else.
Tell us a bit about these photos you chose?
These were all taken over the last two years in Birmingham. The pictures show off its vibrancy and diversity, and I hope they explain my love for how idiosyncratic the city can be.
Whether it is the insane architecture, all encompassing street festivals, rowdy protest marches or the individual characters I see every day, the streets are always alive and full of energy.
Tell us you top 5 locations for shooting in your town?
Digbeth & The Custard Factory – Digbeth is the city’s creative quarter, full of street art, independent shops and galleries. The main draw is The Custard Factory, which, as you may have guessed used to make custard before becoming a place to find skate ramps, music festivals and perhaps most importantly, vintage cameras.
The Bullring Market – Right in the center of town is the Bullring, which really is the authentic Birmingham. You are going to hear every language (including Brummie), discover food you don’t recognise and meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people. You get a great view of the Selfridges building too. Sunny Saturdays are the best for bargains and people watching.
The New Birmingham Library – Opened last year, the library is Europe’s largest public cultural space masquerading as a huge sparkly stack of boxes. If you think it looks mad outside, you should check out how fantastic the inside is – so open and full of contrasting styles. Climb the stairs to the roof gardens for panoramic views of our crazy skyline. If you go before the end of August, you can catch my picture in The Photographer’s Gallery. (There are a few books too)
Moseley – Birmingham’s most bohemian suburb has beautiful parks (which served as inspiration to JRR Tolkien) and regular street markets. A short walk down the road is Balsall Heath, probably one of the most culturally diverse parts of Brum and home to my local dark room.
The Clent Hills – Technically not Birmingham but it’s where I grew up and only 20 minutes away by car. There is so much to explore and wildlife to watch that change completely through the seasons. A nice break from the city and the perfect place to chill out (and take lots of pictures of trees and horses).
If you were to invent a new film camera what would it do?
- The ability of the LC-A+ to fit a splitzer take multiple exposures easily.
- The auto-focus and flash of the Yashica T4 but you can set ISO and switch the auto-focus off.
- An option to go full frame panoramic like the XPAN.
- A swappable film back like the Hasselblad so I can shoot multiple film stocks plus an instant back for Fuji FP-100 film. If it could look like the silver and tan leather SX-70 that would be a bonus.
Thanks for taking part Richard!