UK-based Katherine Connolly runs the Instagram page fisheye_london which explores the architecture, parks and scenery of London through the eyes of a Fisheye lens. We talked to Katherine about the importance of her creative outlet and the joy of traveling with an analogue camera in hand.
Hello Katherine, please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a lawyer living in London, originally from Sydney Australia. I really like my job, but find it’s important to have some creative outlets as well. I’ve always had a super visual
brain, and loved fashion and design, but (like a lot of people) it was during the pandemic that I really started exploring more. I got into cross-stitch, collage, friendship bracelets, you name it. It was pretty obsessive. And now, I’ve gone deep into analogue photography – which has plenty of room for obsessives!
How did you start shooting with film and why the specific interest in the Fisheye camera?
I bought the Fisheye One camera years and years ago, on a whim – like, around 2005 – then promptly forgot all about it. I was recently back in Sydney and clearing out old stuff from the attic in my dad’s house, and found the camera (it even had a finished roll of film still sitting in it). I took the camera back to London, watched a few YouTube videos to figure out again how to load the film, and just started playing around with it. Now I take it with me everywhere!
Tell us about these photos you're sharing with us, where and what do you choose to shoot?
They are all taken out and about in London. I’m moving away in September, and this has been a kind of farewell project to the city for me. I like to just go out on sunny days with my bike and shoot what’s around me. Sometimes I’ll do special trips, wander down to Southbank, or the Barbican, spots with cool buildings and lots of life. With choosing what to shoot, with this little camera there are lots of constraints. You need very bright sunlight, and the strong distortion effect means you have to pick your subject carefully. And the flash on mine doesn’t work because the battery leaked as it sat for 15+ years in my dad’s attic! But those constraints are what I like about it: operating within them really sharpens the creative process.
You can’t just point and shoot with a guaranteed result, you have to be strategic. And I love that every photo is a little circle: a perfectly self contained, shrunken world. The photos work really well for manual collaging too, layering different pieces of multiple circles on top of each other, cutting out the skies, putting cool backgrounds in and so on. I’ve been doing a lot of that. I’m slowly learning what works best. Big, grandiose buildings work well, because the Fisheye shrinks them right down into the frame – and London certainly has plenty of those. At the other end of the scale, it can do really extreme close-ups too, which can be very cool with the right subject. I want to shoot more people; I’m still figuring out what scale works best for that.
I’m also trying out different Lomography film. The LomoChrome Turquoise gives an extremely cool, sci-fi noir look that works great with London’s city skyline. I’ve not tried the purple yet; I’d like to take that out to a big lush London park, get some nice trippy green-to-purple effects.
If you could choose one dream location to shoot with the Fisheye camera what would it be?
Antarctica would be super cool. The grand scale and the bright, white light would be perfect.
To see more of Katherine's London adventures checkout here Instagram page