Olympus OM1 MD the progress so far…

Olympus OM1

I’ve been in possession of what has become my favourite 35mm SLR, the Olympus OM1 now for about eight months. Truth be told I have not shot it as often as I was expecting. The honeymoon period with it has faded a little. Because I now know that I can get acceptable exposures on my favourite film stocks (and some not so favourite) without too much trouble, the unpredictability of a new camera has now become the reliable and consistent. But I love the all manual nature of the Olympus OM1, and the Zuiko optics are in my opinion, exceptional. Recently I’ve been doing some digital editorial and interior work, and for some reason I’ve either not been inspired to shoot this (or any other film camera) or just not had the opportunity. Is this something others find?

So when we booked a holiday trip to Ilê de Ré, France earlier this year, I had to take my beloved Olympus OM1 and the borrowed Zeiss Ikon along. Loaded with Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji ProH 400 respectively to see what I could get. I’d also recently bagged a bargain 24mm f2.8 from “the bay” and was looking forward to using that for the first time.

Here are a few frames from the first roll of Portra 400 in the Olympus OM1. I like documentary style work, and if possible street portraits or people at work. As well as of course the usually holiday snaps and landscapes. Documentary type shots make me feel like I’m not just a tourist. Concentrating on the real people that live and work in these places that we just visit and enjoy on a more superficial level.

Ilê de Ré is famous for many things, sailing, holidays and camping some of the main things, but also salt production and oysters. The salt pans really caught my attention.it is hot manual work. In the days before tractors, donkeys pulled the carts wearing distinctively striped leggings to protect the, from the salt scrub in the wind. I couldn’t come home without some more interesting shots among the pans. Getting close and speaking to the people that you are about to photograph makes the experience all the more rewarding. Visceral even. I like that.

Salt Pans of Ile de Re
Salt Pans on the cycle track to Ars en Ré
Emanuel, salt pan farmer
Emanuel, working the salt pans in the sun.
Salt tractor
Collection of the dried salt still done by hand.
Marina at Ars en Re
The marina seafront at Ars en Ré
Land Art on Ile de Ré
Stones piled into land art at Phare des Baleines

Let me know what you think.

All my colour film is developed and scanned at Truecolour Imaging in Luton

If you would like to keep in touch with my work, visit any of the following.


Published by julianhiggs

A returning film photographer, darkroom builder and book maker.

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