Lockdown Sessions Guy Berryman Posted On 27th May 2020 To Magazine & Lockdown Sessions
Guy's Instagram caught our eye, with it's mix of 'camera porn', black and white film shots, and classic cars.
We knew he was busy preparing for the launch of his clothing label, Ratino, later this year as well as publishing his quarterly car journal The Road Rat, so we were really pleased when he agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to take part.
SECTION 1 - THE BEGINNING
SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE IMAGE / PRINT SHOT ON ILFORD FILM AND TELL US WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU?
I think this shot of Chris playing his acoustic guitar during a recording session is one of my favourites at the moment. It seems to have a timeless quality about it and I love the fact Chris reminds me of a young Bob Dylan in this picture.
JUST IN CASE ANYONE DOESN’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO CAN YOU GIVE US THE OVERVIEW?
My name is Guy Berryman - I am a founding member and bass player in Coldplay. I was studying engineering and architecture at university when I met my bandmates which subsequently led me down a musical path. Music is my first passion in life but I love most things which relate to art/design/fashion.
I am a collector and restorer of classic cars and publish a quarterly automotive art journal called ‘The Road Rat’ - in which photography plays a central role. I will also be launching a fashion brand called ‘Ratino’ later this year.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED SHOOTING FILM?
I started shooting film in my teens, my dad had given me some of his old cameras. But it was when I bought a Leica M7 in the early 2000s that I really started to focus on shooting film. Shooting on film puts you in a completely different mindset from shooting digital. It feels more ‘dangerous’ and forces you to really think about whether to take the picture. Film is relatively expensive so you don’t want to be processing a lot of bad pictures… I’m sure better composition arises through shooting film.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PHOTOGRAPHIC INSPIRATION / INFLUENCE TO DATE?
There’s so many great photographers I love - and they come from a wide range of photographic styles. David Bailey has created some of the most iconic portraits ever - not only is he a great photographer but his placement in the London social scene during the 1960’s meant he had access to that golden era of time with actors and musicians redefining post-war culture.
For street-photography I’m always drawn to Daido Moriyama - I love his approach to just getting out there and not putting a heavy emphasis on the equipment you need - his best work was shot on his Ricoh GR1.
Thomas Ruff is a photographer I admire greatly for his conceptual approach to photography - his ‘Nudes’ series is probably my favourite but I love the stereo-photography work he did, as well as his ‘Jpegs’ series.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ADVICE OR TIP YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
What I’ve learned myself which I think is good advice is that in photography, music, or any other creative field for that matter, you must not convince yourself that the equipment you have is key to making good work. It’s easy to feel your pictures are not as good as they could be because you don’t have the latest camera, lens or newest piece of shiny equipment. Some of the best photography/art will have undoubtedly been created on lesser equipment than yours. Let your ideas and creativity be the focus, not the equipment.
SECTION 2 – IN LOCKDOWN
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY RELATED PROJECTS ARE YOU PLANNING OR HAVE STARTED TO DO WHILE IN LOCKDOWN?
In 2007 I started shooting heavily on my Leica M7. We were in the studio making our ‘Viva la Vida’ album with Brian Eno and I captured it all on film - as well as the world tour that followed. I had hundreds of rolls of film developed, and this period of time has allowed me to start scanning and looking at all the pictures. Scanning is challenging - never have I been more aware of dust particles, and you’ve just got to clean absolutely everything all the time to get nice scans. And even then there’s a degree of spot correction required! But the slow nature of film photography and all the processes involved made the resulting image all the more rewarding.
WHAT KEY PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS TO SEE THEM THROUGH / STAY MOTIVATED WITH THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY DURING LOCKDOWN?
It’s difficult because the familiarity of our homes aren’t always conducive to creativity - but I think you can train your mind to see things you don’t normally see - especially if you have a garden. Maybe try using a macro lens or learn to use a lens that you’ve never really gotten to grips with and finally make it work for you. Try to break the familiarity of the home environment with an unfamiliar camera/setup.
WHERE IS THE FIRST PLACE THAT YOU WILL BE SHOOTING ONCE THIS IS OVER AND WHAT KIT WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
Well I’m really missing cities. If I could be anywhere right now to take pictures, it would be Tokyo. But it’s most likely to be London or a recording studio session which will be my first foray back into photography. The scanning of my Viva-era photography has made me want to dust of the Leica M7 again - and I have so much expired ILFORD film which will make for an interesting experiment!
THIS PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN MANY PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REASSESS GOALS AND AMBITIONS. WHEN THE WORLD RETURNS TO NORMAL WHAT ARE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC GOALS GOING FORWARD?
I’d really like to start thinking about my photography more formally - coming up with artistic concepts which might end up in an exhibition. I’ve shot lots of film and taken lots of digital pictures too over the years - but mostly for fun or personal/family stuff - so I’m excited so work towards a more formal photographic output.
ON A NON-PHOTOGRAPHY QUESTION - THIS IS A BIT MORE DEEP AND MEANINGFUL BUT POST CORONAVIRUS, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE WORLD TO DO DIFFERENTLY (WHAT LESSONS COULD WE ALL TAKE FROM THIS)?
It’s going to be very interesting from an environmental point of view. It seems like a lot of people have figured out how to work from home. And I’ve certainly enjoyed being at home and in the garden more than ever.
I think businesses will start to reassess whether they need to be paying for office space. The daily commute/congestion might never get back to the levels it had gotten to in urban areas. I’d like for us to see a way in which this can be protected. Do we really all need to be travelling/commuting as much as we were before? I think we’ve all learned to do meetings over video conference too - so that will save a lot of physical travel which can only be a good thing.
SECTION 3 - SHOUT OUTS
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.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR 3 FAVOURITE FILM PHOTOGRAPHERS (NOT PHOTOGRAPHY HUBS) CURRENTLY ACTIVE ON IG OR TWITTER AND BRIEFLY TELL US WHY OTHERS SHOULD FOLLOW THEM?
I’d love to give a shout out to Marcus Haney. Marcus has done several shoots for Coldplay as well as made some films (shot on film as well of course!) He can be found at @marcushaney or www.jamesmarcushaney.com
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHIC RETAILER (NAME, LOCATION AND WEBSITE)
B&H photo in NYC!
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE LAB SERVICE, IF YOU HAVE ONE, (NAME, LOCATION, WEBSITE)
Metro Imaging, London.
SECTION 4 - FAVOURITE KIT
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FILM CAMERA YOU OWN (OR HAVE OWNED/USED)?
Well the Leica M7 would be the one I kept forever. But I do have a Hasselblad XPan which would be a close second! Both lovely usable camera.
ASIDE FROM YOUR CAMERA, LENSES AND FILM WHAT ACCESSORIES MAKE IT INTO YOUR CAMERA BAG?
I try to avoid accessories as much as possible - when I’m travelling I like to go light. Generally I just choose one lens before a trip and commit to it. Maybe just a spare couple of batteries. And film of course.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY KIT YOU HAVE FOUND OR BEEN GIFTED?
I got a Leica Summaron 28mm f/5.6 lens which I’m currently in love with. Id be happy to leave it on the M7 forever. It’s about the smallest and most discreet lens available. I set it up with fast film and a small aperture and just set the focus so everything beyond a metre will be sharp. It's just point and shoot operation. Perfect for capturing street-photography moments that would otherwise be lost if you had to spend time focusing and setting up the shot.
AS THIS IS AN ILFORD INTERVIEW IT WOULD BE REMISS OF US NOT TO ASK ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE ILFORD PRODUCTS.
I’m a big fan of HP5 - most of the Viva -era shots were taken with it! I haven’t printed my own pictures since I was studying architecture at university - I just don’t have the time unfortunately.
WE’VE SEEN PICTURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF PEOPLE STOCKPILING PRODUCTS SUCH AS TOILET ROLLS, PASTA, HAND SANITISER ETC. IF YOU COULD STOCKPILE ONE ILFORD PRODUCT WHAT WOULD IT BE?
NOMINATE ONE OTHER PERSON YOU THINK SHOULD FILL IN THIS FORM AND WE WILL REACH OUT TO THEM
About The Author
I am a founding member and bass player in Coldplay. I was studying engineering and architecture at university when I met my bandmates which subsequently led me down a musical path – music is my first passion in life but I love most things which relate to art/design/fashion.
I am a collector and restorer of classic cars and publish a quarterly automotive art journal called ‘The Road Rat’ – in which photography plays a central role.
I’ll be launching a new fashion brand called RATINO later this year. Its based on my passion and collection of vintage utilitarian, military and workwear garments. First collection drop in October but follow @ratino on Instagram to stay updated. Or sign up to newsletter at www.ratino.com to receive updates, competition and giveaways before anyone else.