Yesterday I indulged my (amateur) addiction to analogue photography, and went adventuring through the West End of Glasgow with my Olympus OM 1 camera.
I’m lucky to have a husband who is an engineer and who leapt right into my love of analogue photography.
As well as the Olympus OM 1, he has lovingly reconditioned for me a Leica D.R.P Ernst Leitz Wetzlar circa the 1950’s, and a Hasselblad 500 C. I know. I’m very lucky.
The beautiful images that can be produced in analogue are far superior to digital photography, but because of their age, provenance and price tag, I’ve been a bit scared to use any of my analogue cameras. (Scared to drop them!) They’re also solid and heavy with lots of dials and settings and you really have to consider and set up each shot.
But yesterday I ventured out – we ventured out – to snap some street scenes in Glasgow’s West End. It’s a place close to my heart having lived in various locations in and around the West End when I first moved to Glasgow at the age of 16. And now I’m photographing my favourite streets with a vintage Olympus OM 1.
Introduced in 1973, the OM-1 was the first product in the OM Series. It earned wide acclaim as the world’s smallest and lightest 35mm single-lens reflex camera.”
It was a strange day for weather. One minute sunshine and gently billowing trees, the next torrential downpours with hail and wind so stern it snapped my big man-frame umbrella.
But I managed to spot and capture reflections in puddles and bluebells amidst the weeds and experiment with light metering and focus; blurring foregrounds and backgrounds for effect, for fun, and snapping shots between leaves and railings and into the sun as it peeped from behind clouds.
I’m using only black and white film because in it, I’ve met my match for mystery and allure and timeless, enduring appeal in the modulations and marvel of monochrome.
I’d love to show you, but of course I can’t. Not yet.
The shots I’ve taken are preserved for now, safe inside their hard spool casing, inside my camera. And the film isn’t finished quite yet.
You’ll just have to take my word for it; imagine the shots of light and dark on Glasgow’s West End streets with your ‘inside eyes’, your imagination, and trust my magpie’s eye to find the sparkling, the fantastic and the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary.