Film Camera Store Stories 1 - Jake Barker
For those that don’t know, who are you?
I’m Jake, 25 years old and originally from the Southeast of England. Outside of photography I love listening to 60s and 70s music whilst also dabbling in contemporary electronic music from the likes of Calibre and Mr G. Cinema is another great passion of mine. My favourite movie is Paris, Texas by the wonderful Wim Wenders.
What Style of photography do you shoot and why?
Being somewhat new to photography, I am still trying out and exploring different areas of photography. Much of my work has been done in the streets. This was no doubt inspired by the likes of Joe Greer and Vivian Maier whose books frequently make it off my shelf. Portraiture has also been of interest since I began making photos. I try to take truthful photos of people that reveal something about who they are. More recently I have tried my hand at documentary photography. What connects these genres is the subject; people and their stories.
What made you get into photography?
In part it was wanting to whack #35mm on my Instagram posts. Having a point and shoot 35mm camera afforded me this luxury. This continued for a few years until Christmas 2019 when I received an Olympus OM-1. Learning about the technical side of photography made the experience of shooting for more engaging and I was hooked. I then found the likes of Kyle McDougall and Willem Verbeeck on YouTube whose content made learning more accessible and fun.
How long have you been shooting?
Three years properly although I have had a film camera since 2017 approximately.
What is it about photography that you enjoy?
I never considered myself creative before taking up photography. Now I have this passion which allows me to explore places and ideas through a new perspective. I see things differently as I think all photographers do: moments, light and colour to name a few. Photography has also introduced me to many new people who all share a similar keen interest in this art. The community is supportive and encourages growth for each other and the medium as a whole.
Why do you shoot on film?
I love how slow the process is in comparison to digital and requires more thought before pressing the shutter. The analogue experience is satisfying as it allows me to take control over the whole process; from choosing my film stock, developing and finally printing in the darkroom.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get much of my inspirating from films. Taking a moment to think about how cinematographers such as Roger Deakins and Robby Muller frame their scenes provides me with ample ideas. I also look at other art forms such as painting. In general though there is inspiration to be taken from anything and everything.
If you could have a beer with any photographer dead or alive who would it be?
Are you 35mm, 120mm or large format?
I like 35mm but mostly shoot 120 now. This is mostly for the better resolution. I also love shooting on my Pentax 67 and therefore have to shoot medium format. It is very expensive though. Cheers Kodak!
Black and white or Colour?
I love them both but if I had to choose one then it would be black and white. The absence of colour and simply relying on light and shadow to form images is a beautiful thing.
What is your favourite film stock and why?
Although I just said I prefer black and white to colour, my favourite film to shoot is Porta 160. The colours are unreal and true to life. It is also a bit cheaper than Portra 400 and 800.
Do you have any tips for photographers starting out on film?
Don’t dive in and buy a medium format camera. Just because your favourite YouTube photographer uses a Mamiya 7 or RZ doesn’t mean you need to. Practice with your 35mm and make sure to look back at your images. You will learn so much from both your good and bad images. Try to work out what it is that makes the better photos good. Shooting ‘cheap’ film is a perfectly fine thing to do. Black and white is a great way to get into film. You can also develop your own black and white film very easily saving a good amount of money.
What camera do you shoot on?
Primarily the Pentax 67. I also own an Olympus OM-1 and Leica M6. The Fuji X100V is my workhorse when not shooting film.
What is your dream camera?
I feel like I already have my dream camera in the Pentax 67. I do however have the first model which doesn’t come with the mirror lock-up function. It would be great to upgrade to the Pentax 67ii. The Fuji GW690iii does appeal in a big way (although the camera itself is so big). Being able to shoot the same 2:3 ratio I am used to but on a far bigger negative would be amazing.
What are your long term goals?
I am currently studying photography at university in Bristol. That said, I am still unsure of what I hope to do in the future. I want to work in the creative industry but perhaps not strictly as a photographer. Being able to keep photography as a hobby rather than my source of income is desirable.
Are you currently working on any projects?
Recently I began work on my first ever moving image project. It is proving difficult as I have to get used to recording audio alongside making footage as well as using new editing software. The project itself is based in a beautiful Victorian garden just outside Bristol. My hope is to give viewers a sense of what the garden offers in terms of healing and personal growth for those working in the garden.
Follow Jake on Instagram @jakehbarker.
Film Camera Store Stories 1 - Jake Barker