I can’t remember why I actually gave up analogue photography for a few years. I think I got disillusioned with the declining quality of my prints after getting them developed cheaply at a poor quality high street developers. Digital came along and initially seemed impressive so I converted to the dark side, but after a while, I realised 2 things seemed to be missing from my photos – warmth and soul.
Then I chanced upon the joys of toy photography after buying my first Holga cameras and rediscovering the delight and excitement of those few days waiting for your photos back from the developer. Medium format photography was a lot of fun but only 12 shots on each 120 film can be prohibitive and expensive, so I decided to go to 35mm again with the Olympus Trip 35.
While I was deciding on which camera to get, I came across a Flickr site devoted to pictures taken on the Olympus Trip. I was amazed at how sharp and beautiful the photos were, so when I found a UK company selling reconditioned Trips at a very reasonable price, I knew I‘d found my new camera.
I’ll spare you the usual facts you always hear about the Trip… “selenium lens blah blah no batteries blah blah David Bailey TV adverts blah, blah, blah". All I can say is when I received this baby and took it out of the box, it just felt SO good – wonderfully light to hold in the hand, great classic looks – and the soft sensual click of the shutter button was sexy beyond belief. I couldn’t wait to get snapping, and was so lucky not only to be living in London (one of the most photo-friendly cities in the world) but also to have plenty of the Lomographer’s best friend available to me – brilliant sunshine. So over one of the sunniest summers in years, I spent my days walking around town with my Trip.
The lightness of the camera makes you want to carry it everywhere and get as close to your subject as possible. Various colour and black and white films all gave me great results, but the real eye-opener for me was using cross-processed slide film for the first time. The sun made the colours gorgeously rich and saturated which along with the wonderfully sharp Zuiko lens helped capture that summer perfectly.
The simplicity of this camera is a joy. Its automatic exposure means you only have to worry about choosing the correct distance setting, which frees you to concentrate more on composition and subject (But you can also trick the camera into taking wonderful existing light night time shots by turning the aperture ring onto 2.8).
This simple approach helped me to take some of my best pictures ever. I entered my photo shown here of 2 lovers in Trafalgar Square in an online photography competition, and it won first prize! I am now getting paid work as an analogue photographer again, and it’s all thanks to wonderful cameras like The Olympus Trip 35. You owe it to yourself to get one.