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October's Photographer of the Month - Paul Elcock
What can you tell us about your winning photo?
I visited a beautiful village in the Yorkshire Dales with my daughter to see local artist Kitty North give a painting demonstration on the village green.
At the edge of the green I noticed a mysterious gate in the middle of a high dry stone wall, bordering a small wood. It looked like it hadn’t been opened in years.
I took the photos with my new love, a 1954 vintage Rolleiflex mx-evs using Ilford HP5 Film, which I home develop, then scan the negatives.
How did you get into photography?
My dad, who was a commercial artist, he loved oil and watercolour painting in his spare time but had little interest in photography. We didn’t even have a camera, yet one day he returned from work with 35mm rangefinder camera and being 15yrs old and into gadgets I purloined it and took it upon myself to take all the family shots and learn how to use it.
I then saved up and bought a 35mm Pentax MX SLR of my own.
At university I joined the camera club and had a go in their darkroom with varying success.
Work and young family following university then meant less time to enjoy my hobby.
In 2002 I finally went digital with a Sony Cybershot and treated myself to a Pentax DSLR, enjoying the ease and relative simplicity of capturing a decent image.
I retired from work with ill health in 2013 and despite being in a wheelchair I now have the time to return to my hobby but I also have rediscovered my love of film photography. My dad’s old Ricoh and my 1980 Pentax still work perfectly, supplemented by my new baby; a medium format Rolleiflex that I found in a local antique shop
What do you enjoy about photography?
I am currently enjoying the old discipline of film photography. It is more fiddly, time consuming and expensive as you only get 12 frames/film on the Rolleiflex and with no built in metering there’s a lot of educated guesswork. I have to be much more thoughtful in trying to compose the shot. I’m also developing the negatives myself then scanning to computer to print or save the decent ones.
True, some of the resolution and sharpness of digital isn’t there but there is something else that grabs my attention and feels more creative.
People, landscapes, street, especially old urban and country, are my bag, although wheelchair accessibility ( or lack of it!) and my reduced dexterity are my continuing frustrations.
What are your plans for the future?
Future ideas include trying to marry my attempts at watercolour painting with my black and white photography by hand painting/colouring my black and white photo prints.
What do you plan to do with your framing vouchers?
I’m going to use my framing vouchers to frame a couple of watercolour paintings and some photo prints. Guess what my family are getting for Christmas!