It’s been a while since we turned on our UK Film Lab Spotlight, but it’s now on again and it’s beaming straight down on to photographer Alex Bonney. Alex is one talented man; not only is he a skilled photographer but he’s a musician too, and so we guess this isn’t the first time he’s been under a spotlight! We were looking through Alex’s back catalogue of orders that he’s sent to us and there was such diversity that it made it difficult to choose. So with that in mind we tried to choose a range of photographs that reflect the places he’s been and things he’s done. As always we’re kicking things off with a Q&A:
Why do you take photographs?
I have a diverse career as a musician, sound engineer and photographer in constantly changing proportions. I love photography as a quiet retreat from the noise of everyday life (and sometimes even a break from music is welcome!). I think I’m fascinated by light as much as sound and love to capture both. Wandering around an unfamiliar landscape with a film camera is pretty much bliss to me.
Why do you shoot film?
Firstly I think it’s important to say I’m (like I imagine are a lot of your clients), a hybrid photographer and digital is very useful to me too. However, my heart lies with film and pretty much all of my (and my favourite photographers’) personal work that I really feel attached to from years gone by was shot on film. Photography for me is largely about capturing the beauty of light and film simply looks more beautiful to me. In a world where I feel subtlety is being slowly erased I am increasing drawn to it. Digital shoots these days are starting to feel like slightly slowed down video capture now memory cards are virtually unlimited: music has taught me a lot about economy of notes and the importance of silence and I somehow feel comfortable with a morning’s walk and 10 shots to take on a roll in a 6×7 camera. Sometimes if I’m up a mountain I might really push the boat out and shoot 20 or even 30 images! As a result it’s unusual not to feel some kind of emotional connection when I press the shutter on a film camera. Plus, getting to know how a real film stock responds is more exciting to me than any digital filter.
Why do you use UK Film Lab?
After some years of being frustrated with my home scans (and very mixed experiences with other labs) I was so happy to find a UK lab giving such consistently great results and with excellent service and helpful feedback. I finally have confidence in that stage of my workflow. I’m almost ashamed to say shooting film feels like less work than digital to me now! It’s obvious to me UK Film Lab love what they do and are artists that care about their clients’ work. They run a business helping to keep film photography alive and well into the second decade of the 21st century, and I want to support that. Plus the ‘your scans are ready’ emails are like Christmas day as a kid!
Do you have any tips for your fellow film photographers?
Although I’ve had some happy accidents with misty underexposed shots in the past, I wish I’d realised the benefits of overexposure on film years ago. The exposure feature you did was a real eye opener for me and several photographer friends. All film shooters should check out that great bit of research! Other than that, just please keep shooting film so as a community we can keep enjoying it!
Before we move on to a selection of Alex’s photographs, here are a selection of links where you can check out Alex’s range of photographic and musical talents!