The 35/120 Photowalks are a free regular event where all film shooters and camera enthusiasts are welcome to meet, walk around, take photos and exchange skill and information. We have joined all three of the walks since March and during the most recent one in Lancing we wanted to find out why people shoot film, and speak with Dave Rowswell who runs the walks to find out why he started them up.
Photography can be a lonely profession and hobby, while assignments and personal projects can involve people the actual shooting is often solo and editing can mean hours in front of a screen. Regardless of social media and Instagram, it’s not always easy to meet new photographers in person or to move outside the same group of friends you’ve shot with since college.
Photowalks are often aimed at beginners and lead by someone able to teach, an event with a theme and submission criteria, or simply photographers meeting up to shoot. The 35/120 photowalks are very much the latter, with a firm stance of ‘No Snobbery’, everyone is welcome and all levels of abilities can join. Dave Rowswell explains why he chooses to shoot film and why he set up these walks.
Why did you start the 35/120 photo walks? Do they differ from other photowalks?
It was after discussions between me and my friend Josh Bradley. Since moving to Brighton, I realised that it can be quite a cliquey place when it comes to creative communities, and I couldn’t see any groups dedicated to film shooters, but I have met plenty of film shooting individuals. I thought it would be good to get people together and talking without any snobbery or judgement on backgrounds, skill or camera knowledge and create our own community.
The only difference to other photowalks is that we are focused on film/analogue photography – this area seems to have it’s own following and I wanted to meet other people in the local area with similar interests.
What should people do if they want to get involved?
We have tried to keep the walks as inclusive as possible, the only rule as it were, is to bring a film camera. If people don’t have access to a film camera – you can get disposables from Boots etc. for under £10 and they can be great fun to shoot with.
When is the next walk?
Looking for the next walk to be either 21st or 28th July, – we are looking whether to do a walk in Brighton town or Newhaven – to be confirmed – Keep an eye out for posters in Colourstream & Zoing or on our Instagram.
I am very grateful for all the support I have had from people setting this up – In particular: The Colourstream team, Livvi at Dopple Press, Serge at Zoing, Ian & Georgie at MPB and everyone who has taken part.
What was refreshing was that Dave’s approach has worked, show by the brand new people on this walk alongside people who’ve been to the first two. Photography experience ranges from many years, to people who have only recently bought their first SLR camera or picked up disposable cameras especially for the walk. Everyone talks to each other, introduces themselves and there’s no snide comments or patronising responses. In fact there’s a genuine curiosity about everyone’s kit and all sorts of cameras are present, from compacts or medium format, and different 35mm and 120 film used. There’s no feeling of superiority among the photographers here, besides you’re unlikely find someone who has shot with every camera made or film available.
It’s a chance for everyone to find out why people chose the camera they have and the film they shoot with as they each get different results, suit different weather conditions and budgets. Nearly everyone has access to a camera on their phone now, it can feel like a saturated market. One where you’re drowning in an endless Instagram feed of images, or harsh criticism posted on Twitter alongside success far beyond where you are right now. Shooting film can bring some much needed focus by adding restrictions to your process, a roll of 36 carefully chosen photos offer long lost satisfaction compared to an SD card full of photos you’re not that excited to edit. Everyone has their own reason to choose shoot film, come to the next walk to share why you do.
35/120 Photowalk, Lancing, 1st June 2019
Words and Photos by Mike Tudor