A la recherche du temps perdu

A much belated paean to film.

It’s almost Halloween, with the summer holidays a distant speck away. Faint, though memorable, like a drifting scent on the breeze or the lingering finish of a fine wine.

Holidays are all about a break from the routine, and so it was a fitting opportunity to reawaken a long-lost love affair with film.

Back in the day it was all about 120 medium format. My weapon of choice was a Hasselblad 503CW. Streamlined Swedish design, over engineered manufacturing. Constructed with watch-like precision and the durability of a tank. Made to last, and cost a fortune.

Paired with my Hasselblad were my favourite film flavours – Ektachrome 100G, Portra 160, and APX100/400

Nowadays, it’s the Canikon DSLR hegemony, Lightroom/Capture One workflow, FTP upload. It’s the economy, stupid. No longer do clients want to pay or wait for film and processing, and digital is just so damn convenient, flexible and high quality. What’s not to like?

I guess I’m just showing my age, but I miss all that ‘hassle’, just like vinyl nerds geek out about album sleeves and turntable platters. There’s a ritualistic routine that brings with it a certain tactile joy.

Loading up that first film back, setting aperture and speed, and clunking out those first few frames was definitely Proustian. It was what holidays are meant for.

Is film ‘better’ than digital? Maybe not, just different. But the images certainly have a very different ‘feel’ to them. It’s great to have you back, baby.

Herewith, some random frames from our holiday in Gorran Haven, Cornwall.

Luck of the Irish

 

I’m usually pretty clueless with wedding anniversary presents as it’s overshadowed by our daughter’s birthday a couple of days before.

But shortly before this year’s (back in late September), I was in County Waterford, Ireland on a travel shoot for Conde Nast Traveller. The final location on the last day was Ardmore, a lovely little seaside village. This was where I stumbled upon Ardmore Pottery & Gallery run by the charming Mary Lincoln.

The stars had clearly aligned. It was our ninth anniversary – for which the traditional present was pottery. I was quickly drawn to the simple forms of Mary’s green pottery which was reminiscent of the malachite colour of copper roofs. She explained that the glaze was made from copper, a local metal that used to be mined nearby. It’s this mining heritage that gives rise to the name Copper Coast for the UNESCO Geopark to the east.

Within ten minutes I had a card, and a lovely cup and bowl gift-wrapped (my wife’s a breakfast cup kinda girl, and I’m a coffee bowl kinda guy). A leisurely browse around the wares of the other Irish craftworkers in stock and I was soon on the road to Cork for the flight home. Job done!

The gentle charm of Ardmore belies some real gems such as the White Horses restaurant run by the three Flavin sisters and the astonishing Michelin-starred House Restaurant. I’d definitely consider a return holiday there, and Mary even rents out a charming wooden chalet overlooking the sea, called Mullarkey’s