If you were to imagine a perfect beach scene you might think of large crowds, ice creams, and the occasional sunburn. However, once the summer months have passed and the crowds have diminished, the coastlines take on a whole new life. Photographer Stewart Weir took a trip to the beaches along the South coast of England and captured the sparse and baron beauty that nature can bring with an LC-A 120 and some Berlin Kino film.
Hello Stewart welcome to the Lomography Magazine, tell us a bit about yourself?
Since the early 90s, I was a freelance shooting news, portraits, documentary, and editorial. For the last few years I've been shooting commercial property as a full-time job, but in my spare time, I'm still working on long terms projects. I'm based in Kent but originate from Brighton.
You mostly shoot in B&W, what's the appeal with this?
I'm from an age where digital didn’t exist so from the beginning all I knew was film. I love the atmosphere and emotion B&W gives. The whole process of shooting film vs digital is for me completely different and requires much more concentration to shoot film.
Digital is immediate and problems can be fixed as you shoot. Film doesn’t forgive and there’s usually no going back. I also prefer not knowing of what I've got until the negs have been developed with the wait between shooting and seeing those negatives is a bit of a drug I guess.
How did you get on shooting with the LC-A 120 and Berlin Kino films?
Loved them both! The LC-A 120 is about as basic as a camera gets but as its a 6x6cm the larger negatives gives more cropping options (if needed). The only technical need with the LC-A 120 is to set the distance but other than that it's a point and shoot. Out of 2 rolls of 12 exposures, I edited 14 images which I think work. That's a good hit rate for me at least. One of its strengths to me at least is also its ‘looks’. It's not intimidating and looks more like a toy which potentially is a plus for street photographers who want a less aggressive looking camera. I love the lens signature which can be seen in its depth of field and especially straight lines like horizons which end up a little ‘bendy’. The conditions were either cloudy or shafts of harsh light through the clouds with even low contrast scenes looking punchy. There's definitely a classic gritty feel to this film that also has a good tonal range and I'm definitely going to be using it again. Best of all the film scans well on my rather low spec Epson V600.
Tell us about these photos, what did you choose to shoot?
I've been documenting Brighton seafront and in recent years the coastline and beaches of southeast England so naturally, I headed to the beach. Shot over 2 hrs in late September at Saltdean, Brighton, and then a little further along the coast at Birling Gap.
What piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career as a freelance photographer?
Study the history of photography and photographers through the ages (Youtube is a great resource) and discover the photographers whose images and style inspire you. I would also suggest learning photography by shooting film first. Yes, developing film is expensive BUT film gear is very cheap compared to the costs of digital. Film gear is also now an investment as prices won't be going down. Learn to shoot by pre-visualizing the image rather than the digital scattergun approach.