The Challenge

I’m a big fan of photographing strangers when abroad. It’s a fine way to get a little information, directions or just make contact with another human being. Some of my favourite portraits are of people I will never see again, and I find myself asking why I only do this when away from home.

Break

Eastman Girls
Eastman Girls
Samples
Samples
St Thomas Soccer
St Thomas Soccer
Smile
Smile!

Usually an oddball film camera helps to break the ice, as I referenced in an earlier post on advice for photographing strangers. Opening up a dialogue is easy after that, since you’ve already established their buy-in. Taking a photo is a natural progression; most people are happy to be a subject after taking the time to ask about what I’m up to.

Interested people are generally also interesting people. If you’ve taken time to look up from your Facebook feed and notice another human enjoying a hobby and take the time to interact, you get a gold star. And I’m going to ask you to pose for me.

Stranger
Stranger
Harry the Fishmonger
Harry the Fishmonger

The Challenge.

I have a business idea that’s going to take some time to bring to life, but it will also take a lot of legwork and P2P marketing.

I envision:

  • a social and gallery space, tailored to traditional photography.
  • a fully equipped studio for rent.
  • a small darkroom area.
  • a photo-book library and seating
  • a selection of loaner film cameras for the curious or first-timers.
  • a small selection of film and supplies.

As part of my market research I plan to put my travel SOPs into play here at home. Each of the people I’ve included on this page have expressed at least a passing interest in what I see as a major part of how I interpret the world around me. Given the opportunity, how many would give it a try for themselves? Maybe they’d #believeinfilm too.

Doe
Doe
Randoms
Randoms
Artist
Artist

Being out and on the ground in my hometown should help me connect with like-minded folks and potential clients. People who have that curiosity might even want to take a classic camera for a spin and try their hand and developing. We don’t have so much as a camera store here in Saint John anymore. I send any colour film to California, and buy my chemicals in British Columbia. I drive 8 hours minimum to meet like-minded folks at considerable time and expense. Am I really alone here?

Parking Attendant

Smokers


I’ve shouted about the lack of a film photography community in this city for years, but have done nothing about it. Can you deride the problem without trying to be part of the solution? I’m going to try my best to be an ambassador for traditional photography and make any connections I can. I can talk the legs off a cast iron stove, but I need to use these powers for good.

9 Replies to “The Challenge”

  1. Levi’s did something similar for a few moths as part of an advertising campaign. I always thought it should be a permanent thing, but they were in NYC so rent etc was absurd, I’m sure. At any rate- they used many of the same ideas. Perhaps yours can be a fixture. I’d love to visit it if you get it off the ground!

    Here’s what Levis did:
    http://www.psfk.com/2010/10/levis-photo-workshop-a-community-photography-creation-and-collaboration-venue-opens-in-nyc.html

  2. Just found your blog, Matthew, from that english film manufacturers blog… Really looking forward to take a deep dive into it, but for now just thought I wanted to throw in a short comment on your lines from this post.
    We got a dude over here in Norway who did something very similar to what you describe. It’s just brilliant, I think. It’s just a very small thing, but there’s still nothing really like it anywhere that I know of. A small darkroom in the back, and a few walls with some of his work. You can also borrow the walls for a small exhibition for a few weeks if you like.
    His name is Andrea Taurisano, originally an italian but living in Norway. and you can find his blogpost of his “photo cave” over here: https://ilcimento.com/2015/09/07/my-photo-cave-il-cimento-goes-gallery/
    I would love to have the nerve to do something a bit similar…

  3. Check out cameracommons.com – it’s basically this exact business you describe. It’s a great resource and you should get in touch with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *