Better know by his Instagram handle @bostonemulsion and nominated by Tyley Bervy back in July. We've been looking forward to sharing the 21st interview in our In Focus (previously Lockdown Sessions) series.featuring Phil W.
This is image was shot on HP5+. It’s an earlier image in my film journey but this day in particular was a turning point when things really started to click as I was developing a method and really learning to see and execute.
My name is Phil and I’m from the northeast part of the USA (Boston area if you will). Photography is not my profession but is a creative outlet and passion. My primary focus in on so called street photography and I don’t mind using that term. For me street photography spills out of urban areas and even into my home documenting my young son. I think of street photography not in the literal sense but as more of a broad set of stylistic choices along with certain methods in the documentary realm.
Well I started photography later in life when digital had already taken over. I did shoot film of course when I was young but I never developed my own images or pursued photography as a hobby or art form. After dabbling in digital photography for some years I found my late grandfathers film cameras around 2014. One of which I kept and still use on occasion, a Rollei 35S. I started by shooting color and using a lab for developing and scanning. It was occasional and it wasn’t until 2016 or 2017 that I really decided that I did want an actual path and made a conscious effort to focus on street photography. That and I was also going to start that journey with film and develop myself.
There are so many great photographers that are inspirational. I don’t know if I can name only one or a few. My friend Jay was definitely a motivator especially in the learning process and in street photography. Fan Ho has a body of work that is inspirational in particular but again among many other legends, greats that are current and old.
The best advice I have received is to shoot with one fixed lens and not confuse the situation with options. It’s been said by quite a few and in different ways but I think my friend Jay (@bambamphoto) was the first that I personally heard say it.
I currently am in dire need of a project or to start getting out post-lockdown to shoot again. I admit the wind has been taken out of my sails from February to date and I know I really need to make an effort to get back out there.
My next shoot is going to be me blocking a day off very soon to go shoot in Boston, by myself with my Leica M2 and Ilford HP5+.
Going forward my goals are to get out and shoot more frequently to start. I also need to break out of Boston and start traveling to shoot once time permits. Whether that means flying or driving to say NYC or a further destination. But I do need to break out of Boston which has been sort of a 3 year project that is still ongoing. The other big goal in the future is to eventually have a darkroom where I can start to learn how to enlarge and print.
We all need a bit of inspiration and love so this is your chance to tell the community about yours – from the film photographers whose work inspires you, the labs you trust with your film, your ‘go to’ film photography stockists, your favourite community darkrooms or just anyone in the community who you feel deserves a special mention.
Top 3 here we go:
@tylerbervy for beautiful landscapes and a complete process from shooting through printing.
@jac1nt for black and white street and documentary on film.
@foto_joakim for a mix of color and black and white street on film.
On YouTube there is really only one film photographer I follow and that is Nick Carver even though his style and genre is totally different than mine. I do love watching his process and appreciate his technical approach and the trips he takes. Otherwise it’s more of a random mix of things I find.
I am a Leica fan and I do appreciate the Leica stores including the Boston store with their gallery, wish I could use the Leica stores more but I tend to just hold onto what I have. I do use B&H quite a bit for film supplies. Also I do really like Artisan Obscura (artisanobscura.com) for soft releases and hot shoe covers.
Give a shout out to your favourite lab service, if you have one.
For now I am doing all my own work because I like controlling the process and learning. If I were to use a lab I would use nearby Digital Silver Imaging.
I currently have three cameras. I have my Leica M2 with Summicrons 35mm and 50mm. That is by far my primary camera. I also have a Hasselblad 500c/m and a Rollei 35S.
I store my film in a Japan Camera Hunter 5 roll plastic case when I’m out. I like to flip the exposed rolls over and keep the unexposed rolls upright so I can quickly grab a fresh one as needed. I always rewind and leave the film leader sticking out which is why it can get confusing. I also carry a Gossen Digisix lightmeter but for street I either take an initial reading to start the session or just completely guess, both methods work well.
My Leica M2 is really the camera that made me focus completely on film. It feels right in my hand and is intuitive to use, I consider it the best thing that has happened to my photography since it’s forged my style and I’ve learned more from that camera during the first year I had it than I did in the previous 5 years or more.
I use only ILFORD black and white films. I have some FP4 PLUS and Delta films but my real go to is HP5+ and I shoot that anywhere from box speed to +2 stops, more commonly. After I got my bearing shooting monochrome and I felt I wouldn’t waste film I trialed quite a few different films but I loved the tonal range and grain of HP5+. It’s a great balance and just works really well with my shooting style and developing process. It also scans well which is an added bonus.
I nominate Jacint @jac1nt - (Expect a message from us shortly)!
All images ©BostonEmulsion
Better known by his Instagram handle @bostonemulsion. Phil is a street photographer from Boston in the US.
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