Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stephen McLeod - My Thoughts on Film Photography

Stephen McLeod is a Scottish veteran photographer, based-in Glasgow. He has been working on film and digital, focuses mainly on portrait and street people.

Stephen has been featured on Shooting Film once since last 2 months, and came back with us to share more of his work in a project called My Thoughts on Film Photography.

I love taking pictures, and have been doing so for a long time. I paid my way through a law degree at University largely by working as a photographer - shooting nightclubs, festivals, and gigs - but in the end it felt too much like work to keep it up.

My biggest love was always taking pictures of people, and especially on film. For a while I kept myself sane by shooting medium format portraits of anybody and everybody who would agree to kick about with me for a couple of hours, and at times the desire to shoot more became so ravenous that it was impossible to satiate.

This was at a time when local ‘photographers’ would build up their folios with really awkwardly posed shots in front of a white screen, and so people would often be perplexed at my haphazard, and apparently disorganised manner. I didn't want anybody to do anything in particular… just to hang about and let me catch the moments in between where they were relaxed. I got pretty good at taking pictures that look posed but weren't, if that’s even a good thing.

There was a time where I shot loads of these portraits, sometimes with a Mamiya C330, but mostly with a Hasselblad 500CM and either a 120 or Polaroid back. I’m so blind that I had to get a special diopter fitted to compensate for my eyesight, so the Blad got the most use.

These pictures expressed something I couldn't about those who were in them, and probably even more so about how I felt about people generally. It probably sounds pretentious, but it’s true.

These days I mostly shoot 35mm, and more in a ‘photo-journalistic’ style whilst travelling, but I miss the times where I would specifically seek out periods specifically to take medium format portraits. I still think they’re some of my best.

See more of his work at:

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