Introducing Adam O'Rourke, our 14th Behind the Film interview. Adam joined HARMAN technology a couple of years ago and works as a scientist in the kilo lab.

Who are you? What’s your job title HARMAN technology and how long have you worked here?

My name is Adam O’Rourke and I’ve been with HARMAN technology for a couple of years, in the Scientist II role.

Tell us a little about your day to day role.

I enjoy the challenge of a very practical role in the kilo lab, manufacturing a variety of chemical intermediates and colour-coupler emulsions used in HARMAN film and paper products.

Share a favourite photo that you shot on ILFORD / Kentmere film and tell us why it’s your favourite.

This street photo in Manchester near the Hotspur press looks to me like it could be a pencil or charcoal drawing.  I love how it looks like it’s from another time.

Behind The Film - Adam O'Rourke

Have you always shot film, or did you get infected with the bug when you started working here?

I got interested in film again after seeing photos around site. Well taken black and white photos look timeless and inspire me to improve my photography skills. I used to shoot film when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s; I got a 110 camera and a compact camera.

Shortly after I joined Harman, I was recommended an Olympus OM-1 as it is all mechanical and has manual control on everything. I found a nice one on eBay. I’ve been able to find a few prime lenses. I’m also a member of the HARMAN film club, which is a great way to learn, get inspired and get to know other people who love photography.

What subjects do you like to photograph and how would you describe your photographic style?

Whenever I notice good lighting . I like the challenge of capturing fleeting beauty and dramatic movement (whether that be a squirrel in a tree or a sunset over the waves of Newquay). I’m not sure I have a style yet.

Behind The Film - Adam O'Rourke

What mistakes have you made shooting film that you are not too embarrassed to share?

Made loads of mistakes, but I’ve learned a lot too. Took a beautiful picture of my brother’s kitten, but I found a scratch on the film once I’d developed it. Maybe I was a bit rough with the film. On the medium format TLR, I kept on scrolling and shooting without realising I’d reached the end of the film! Having fun regardless.

Behind The Film - Adam O'Rourke

How many different film stocks have you shot?

135 format

Delta 100, 400, 3200; HP5+, FP4+; SFX200; ortho plus 80.

Kentmere 120-format ISO 100 and 400

Do you develop yourself or take advantage of the staff discount at Harmanlab?

I have developed film and enlarged photos at home which was very satisfying, but if I think I’ve captured something special I send it in to Harman Lab to get a professional finish.

Behind The Film - Adam O'Rourke

Have you ever printed your negatives in the darkroom?

I’ve not used the HARMAN darkroom, but I felt like an artist when I made my first 10x8-inch silver gelatin prints at home, enlarging from negatives using a Paterson enlarger, a filter and an easel. I was very proud when I was able to show off my own beautiful silver gelatine prints.

What film camera(s) do you own and which is your favourite?

I love my Olympus OM-1 SLR from 1972 and recently acquired a vintage ILFORD medium format TLR.

Both feel so solidly built and are great fun to use.

Behind The Film - Adam O'Rourke


Images - ©Adam O’Rourke