My photography was transformed a number of years ago when I purchased a Mamiya 6. Up until that point, my photography had become stagnant, and I had struggled to find the enthusiasm to pick up a camera for anything more than snaps of family and friends (as important as those pictures are). It’s said that the camera is merely a tool. I find this to be true only to a certain extent. It’s also a device that opens up a way of seeing and composing that may take you in a direction you never previously imagined. Well, that’s certainly what happened to me.
The joy of the Mamiya 6 is the fact that it can be handheld, giving it a versatility that non-rangefinder medium format cameras lack.
The vast majority of my pictures are shot with the standard 75mm lens. Next most popular is the 50mm wideangle, and just a handful were shot on the 150mm short telephoto (and nowadays, none at all, since I dropped it in a river in the Italian Dolomites).
I used to be a big fan of Agfa APX 100, and managed to spin out the supply that I kept in my fridge long after it was discontinued. Nowadays, however, I shoot either Ilford FP4 or HP5 – nothing else. Having never quite mastered the art of developing immaculate, dust-free, streak-free negatives myself, I invest in sending my film to master printer Robin Bell for processing.
Some time ago, I reprinted my whole portfolio on Forte Polygrade FB, through Ilford Cooltone developer. The gorgeous silvery-blue tones seemed to suit my pictures well. Then Forte went bust, but all was not lost, because I then discovered the delights of Ilford Warmtone FB through Ilford Cooltone developer. Then Ilford decided to discontinue Cooltone, so I tend to stick with good old-fashioned Multigrade.
At other times, you may also find me using a Holga, a Lomo Fisheye, an ancient Olympus OM2n which was given to me by my grandfather and which I still have an enormous fondness for, and an iPhone 4 (yes, sorry about that).