Just turning up IS enough
Shoot, then wind.
Ship to the next person.
That was the instruction.
I’m part of a photographic project called Twelve Photographers. And our mission is to shoot one roll of photographic film between the twelve of us — one shot each and following a pre-agreed theme.
This feat is made possible because the camera make we all use called Hasselblad allows photographers to use a detachable, light-tight ‘back’ containing a roll of film. Think of it like swapping over memory cards in a modern camera.
Film has regained popularity. It is making a comeback as a photographic medium that allows us to capture images of a greater aesthetic without any digital processing and to practice an altogether slower, more considered approach to the art.
I met with Architectural Photographer James Tarry who has taken his shot and needed to pass the back onto me. He suggested we met at The Attendant, a quirky coffee shop housed in an old underground toilet block in the Fitzrovia area of London. It’s a tiny but strangely ideal environment that has the original, shiny, white porcelain toilet cubicles intact which surround those taking their pews for refreshment.
After dealing with the handover of the bubble-wrapped mechanism we started chatting over a coffee and warm buttered banana bread — a delicacy at The Attendant. I mentioned that I had absolutely no idea how I came to be involved in the Twelve Photographers project that Hasselblad has featured on their blog and another feature in Professional Photographer Magazine — all before us dozen have finished shooting the roll and it goes off to the processors who will turn exposures into images.
But wait a minute!
I am part of a community of photographers on Twitter who follow each other because we share something in common — use of a particular camera make and type of photography.
I got chosen to be part of this project, dreamt up by another photographer, Andy Spencer because I turned up and said “Hello, I’m doing the same stuff as you guys”. I shared the images I had shot on my Hasselblad including using some hashtags so my tweets would be found amongst the noise. I instantly opened up for myself a gateway to a bunch of photographers on Twitter who were also using the same camera and film format as me.
This is the great thing about social media. Like-minded people who are passionate about their trade or craft get to know each other. Some of the photographers are local but others are on the other side of the world. There is no sense of feeling threatened by others who might otherwise be seen as competition, but instead newcomers who share the same passion are welcomed with open arms.
My agenda on social media is to turn up, be myself, and talk about what I do without spamming followers with constant, automated updates about my products and services.
Those who follow me know that contrary to what the social media rulebooks and pundits tell us, I tweet or post about ALL the things I’m interested in — I’m not the person who is known for one particular thing, but someone who shares insight, offers comment and provides inspiration on a range of different creative subjects.
My advice then is to turn up with what you have. If that thing has merit, there’s a good chance that it will resonate with the right people and lead to more connections and opportunities that might otherwise have been closed off to you.