Behind the Film - Michelle Parr Posted On 5th October 2021 To Magazine & Behind the Film
I've tried to avoid putting this one out for a while but like ripping a plaster off I thought getting it out early may be best. There are still plenty of these interviews to come over the next few months as we speak to some of the film shooters on site but for now, I hope you enjoy our 7th Behind the Film interview.
Who are you? What’s your job title at HARMAN technology and how long have you worked here?
My name’s Michelle Parr and my official title is ‘Digital Marketing Specialist’. I’ve worked here for 20 years this year in a number of roles, and this is by far my favourite. If you chat with us on social media (@ilfordphoto on Instagram / Twitter / YouTube and Facebook), guest blog for us or browse our websites then you’ve probably ‘met’ me at some point.
Tell us a little about your day to day role.
The reason I enjoy my role so much is because it’s so varied. We are only a small team and look after all our websites, (SEO, promotion, artwork and content). As well as our product branding and promotions, packaging designs and other artwork for the business.
Digital marketing and social media is a big part of my role and chatting with others in the film and darkroom community and listening to what they are saying and what’s important to them is a part I really enjoy. I think being a film shooter and darkroom printer (although not as often as I’d like), helps me to connect with our customers. We are so lucky that there is fantastic, supportive and knowledgeable community out there who are always happy to share and help others. I feel privileged to be a small part of it and it makes me proud when people talk about ILFORD Photo as a brand who genuinely cares about their customers.
Share a favourite photo that you shot on ILFORD / Kentmere film and tell us why it’s your favourite.
It has to be this one. Technically it’s a terrible photo but I love it. The sheer joy on my son’s face makes me smile everytime I look at it. Shot on 35mm FP4+ at Lyme Park.
Have you always shot film, or did you get infected with the bug when you started working here?
I grew up shooting film and then made the move to digital in the early 2000’s when it became popular. For a few years I shot thousands of photo’s and then promptly forgot about them, they didn’t really hold any meaning for me. Then, in 2007 a technical glitch meant I lost a whole year's worth of images. (My own fault in hindsight for not backing up properly but I thought CD’s and USB drives were infallible back then). This is when I moved back to film. My negatives will last forever, even if something happens to my digital scans. Over the last 10 years, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed the process of shooting film more and more and working with like-minded people helps to fuel this.
What subjects do you like to photograph and how would you describe your photographic style?
I’m not sure that I have a photographic style as such. I love to shoot my family and friends and places that we visit. I’m drawn to images with texture too and love capturing details.
What mistakes have you made shooting film that you are not too embarrassed to share?
So many! From shooting with the lens cap on, (it’s very easy to do with my Holga). Forgetting to change the speed on my camera when I load a new roll, opening the back of the camera mid roll, not sealing the end of an exposed 120 roll so it gets weird light leaks throughout. I could go on.
But, I have come to the conclusion that I will never attempt to capture birds again. I seem to be jinxed! Sometimes it’s the wrong lens (Eagle on XP2 above, sometimes the wrong shutter speed (Bird of Prey Show at Warwick Castle on Ortho Plus). Others, my focusing isn’t quite right (FP4+ on Nikon F610).
How many different film stocks have you shot? (Not just ours.)
I think I’ve shot all 11 of ours except for DELTA 3200. So that gives me 10 to start with.
I’ve also shot a few colour films recently but I’m not enthralled with any of them. For me, I prefer my film shots in black and white!
I do have a roll of Fuji and a roll of Cinestil; 800 in my fridge though so I may revisit these in the future.
Do you develop yourself or take advantage of the staff discount at Harmanlab?
Both. Although recently I have found myself taking advantage of the staff discount more😊 I developed a couple of rolls with my youngest that he has shot over the summer and it was amazing to see how happy he was with the (blurred and out of focus) results.
Have you ever printed your negatives in the darkroom?
Yes. The darkroom is my sanctuary and I love getting the chance to print my negatives. I have several prints uon the wall at home of friends, family and places that are important to us. It’s such a great feeling when somebody comments on them and asks where I got them.
Images above shot on FP4 PLUS in Nikon F601
What film camera(s) do you own and which is your favourite? (Please send us a picture of it if you can).
I have a few😊 Two Holgas which are great for the kids, they are unbreakable and the GCFN can get some interesting results with the colour filters. I have an old Russian Kiev which I don’t often take out anymore as it’s a bit of a brick. And a Lubitel which needs some work doing on it. (The back is held on with black tape at the minute). I also have a Little Agfa point and shoot which is great for sticking in my pocket or a bag when I’m out and about. (I've also got a few home-made pinholes that I’ve made with the kids from boxes and tins, do these count?)
My favourite go to camera though is my Olympus OM10 – It’s light and easy to carry in most situations .
Which is your favourites film in our range? Tel us why and share a shot taken with it.
A few years ago I’d have said DELTA 400 without question. I love the grain structure of the DELTA range of films and this was my go to film for a while.
Since the launch of our ORTHO PLUS film though in 35mm and medium format, this has changed. I love this film. Especially when teamed with a yellow filter. The grain is fine and the tonal range is beautiful. I have these images on the wall at home.
Images © Michelle Parr
About The Author
I found this part surprisingly difficult to write. Who am I?
I’m a theme park loving, self confessed Marvel geek and can often be found out and about with my family, (camera always in hand) sharing #connorstravels on Instagram. I’m passionate about printing my images and I’m honestly worried that there is a whole generation growing up whose only picture are in the digital space and will never know they joy of looking at photo albums and recording their memories in analogue form.
I’m also a qualified Makaton Tutor and in my (occasional) spare time I voluntarily teach others to sign.
You can find me on Instagram @shelby2003.mp
Or on Twitter (although I don’t post a lot as I spend most of my time on the @ilfordphoto account!