Emma Swann's career as a music photographer and founder of DIY magazine has taken her to the far corners of the world, from a muddy field at Glastonbury Festival to SXSW in Austin, Texas. Years of experience shooting different terrains and her love for film photography shows in her playful, colorful, and impressive body of work. We couldn't miss the opportunity to send Emma some Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 35 mm film to test out on King Nun, a band she has been working closely with during lockdown.
Hello Emma, welcome to the magazine, tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m a London-based music photographer who likes to shoot analogue where at all possible, having also taken up darkroom printing during the lockdown. In any other year, I’d have been found in photo pits and press tents at festivals worldwide. I also co-founded the British music magazine, DIY.
What gear did you use with this film and did you change anything about your usual set up for this film?
I used my Canon EOS 5. For live photography, I use Canon digital SLRs, so it’s convenient to have a body I can use all the same lenses on, saving on storage when traveling. It also helped that the camera had the ability to work at such a slow speed, so I didn’t have to do any maths when trying to expose the shots (I don’t own a light meter, and my mental arithmetic is far too slow!).
Tell us about these photos, what did you choose to shoot?
I shot the band King Nun, both near their rehearsal space in South West London, and around the studio they were recording in Essex. After hopping on tour with them back in March, days before the COVID-19 situation was shown to be far more serious than we’d imagined, they asked me to be their creative director, and since then we’ve worked around restrictions to create loads of images to keep their social media going - almost exclusively on black and white film - put out some new t-shirts featuring my photos, and filmed a series of rehearsal room performances for fans to watch on Instagram TV.
They’re now very used to me poking a camera in their face, and shouting at them about where to stand, to keep their hands out of their pockets, etc. And given the limits on what I’ve been able to do over the summer, it’s been a lifeline to be able to stay creative via them.
What were your experiences with the Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 and did you like the results?
I loved it - the contrast is everything! It was very strange, being in bright light and acting as if I’m in a dark dressing room somewhere, but my experiences shooting in those kinds of dark rooms helped I think; I had no qualms setting my lens wide open to shoot a group of people! I also like how smooth the results are – I am a fan of grain, and I do like to push film, but it was so pleasing to scan this: it’s so crisp, but still looks analogue.
Any tips for other people wanting to use this film?
It being so slow might seem intimidating, especially in autumn in the UK, but if you’ve any background in low-light, it’ll be absolutely fine!
What's coming up for you in the next 12 months?
I’d like to think the return of (more) live music, and potentially some festivals, but if I can continue to shoot more portraits, and develop my darkroom skills to get more out of the negatives I have, I’ll be happy.
To see more of Emma's work visit her Instagram page @emmaswannphoto