I have an etsy shop at matthewbull.etsy.com which tends to be more square format, colour photography. At the moment they’re generally warm, soft, brown colours.
For more of Matthew Bull’s latest photography blog posts please go to http://matthewbullphoto.com/category/blog
Why have I been taking photos for half my life? I can only think it’s an attempt to capture some small part of life in a simple photo. Every photo should tell some kind of a story, or make you stop and think for a while. But above all – for me at least – photos just have to look good. They don’t have to change your world. Like any good piece of design a good photo should simple be pleasing in a way that’s elusive and hard to define.
I take photos in colour and black & white, on film and digital. Generally I don’t do portraits, and people feature only rarely in my photos (and even when they do they’re barely identifiable). I think I enjoy looking at life’s detail – bits and pieces that aren’t particularly important, but which still look intriguing.
The cameras I use range from my Canon 5D Mk II through to very cheap plastic cameras and 50s Soviet cameras. I use my iPhone a lot too, although that’s generally more for personal use (the quality is actually pretty good though).
The photos on this website were taken with some – but not all – of the following…
Canon EOS 100
An entry-level film camera from the 90′s, this was my first SLR, and one I used for the best part of a decade. In an age when cameras were basically boxes, the fact that this camera wasn’t packed with features really didn’t matter. I used Canon’s famous and excellent 50mm f1.8 II on this camera for years, and the two together did me proud.
Canon EOS 350D
My first DSLR. By modern standards this wasn’t a great camera, but at the time it was a pretty useful entry-level. It’s more a sign of the times than it is a sign of this camera’s modest specs that I used it for only about 3 years.
Canon EOS 5D Mk II
My current main camera. This thing’s a really great all-rounder, and has excellent video capabilities (which I stupidly don’t use to the fullest extent). Although I have a more than reasonable and very heavy 24-105mm L series lens I prefer to use a light 35mm f2.0 as a walkabout lens these days (I’m getting too old and lazy to carry much around). It’s great for street photography, and importantly doesn’t make the camera look too conspicuously worth stealing out and about. The quality on the 35mm isn’t the best, but it’s pretty good for the price.
A legendary 120 film camera, made all the more legendary since the advent of all-too-perfect digital photography. For many, including myself, things like the Holga symbolize the need for something more than mere visual perfection. Its relatively poor image quality merely highlights the subject matter over the image quality itself. Photography is, at its best, about something elusive, something fleetingly intangible which all photographers aim for but rarely attain.
Another 120 format classic, made popular in recent years by the Lomography people. Diana purists would argue that the Lomo Diana is a poor imitation of the original. I would argue that this is missing the point somewhat. As with the Holga, the Diana revels in the joy of taking and making photos, rather than the joy of capturing a scene in crystal clarity.
A total newcomer, and an attempt (very successful I’d say) by the Lomography people to capture the spirit of the Diana F+ in the more convenient 35mm format. A fun little camera.
The 35mm film camera that launched many thousands of lookalikes. A complete cult classic that divides the photographic world. Love it or hate it, this camera formed the basis of the Lomography movement/business model, and therefore has had a huge indirect impact on photography. Hipstamatic on your iPhone? It just wouldn’t have happened without the Lomo’s vivid, saturated, and strangely distorted view of the world.
A real gem of a compact. Takes great photos, and has plenty of manual overrides if needs be. I use this mainly on trips to London and places where I don’t want heavy, shiny equipment that attracts unwanted attention. The downside, of course, is the shutter lag. It’s not too bad as far as compacts go, but annoying nonetheless. I’m sure there’s a market for cheap, manual compacts that actually take photos when you press the shutter, but clearly camera makers don’t think so. Sigh.
A 1950s Soviet classic rangefinder, basically intended to bring Leica quality cameras to the Soviet Masses. Although Feds of course weren’t up to Leica’s standards, and their availability and cheap price came at the expense of what amounted to slave-labour. You can pick up one of these for about £30 on eBay, mainly from Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Care is needed when buying, but if you’re lucky you’ll get a fully-functioning body with a really clear Industar lens.
Nikon Coolpix 880
My first digital camera. Back in 2001 when I bought it, this was a pretty nice camera. I think it had 3, or maybe 4, megapixels. Wow! It was also one of the first digital cameras I knew of to cost less than £500 and still be half-decent. I used this camera very happily alongside my film SLR for a few years, before real isinglass that it had had its day.