A film photography journey
My name is Tom Crook, I am a 29-year-old veterinarian based in Canada currently, but originally from the UK. I really got into photography after finishing university and starting my first veterinary job in 2017. As a newly graduated vet, life could be super stressful, so photography became a great way to unwind and it was something my mum used to do growing up, so felt like a natural hobby to get into. I used my first few years after getting a starter camera photographing everything I could to find a ‘style’ of photography that I enjoyed. This meant taking a camera to rugby games, up mountains, on paddle boards and everything in-between. My hobby hugely shifted in 2019 as my brother introduced me to film photography after he picked up a Minolta SRT101 from a small shop in Nottingham. This then got me hooked into film photography, and it took over from my digital camera use in day-to-day life. I found the lack of instant gratification, increased thought process and learning needed to get the shot you wanted, to be much more rewarding and helped me develop much quicker.
After borrowing my brother’s camera, I went to the same shop and picked up my own copy of the Minolta SRT-101 for £15 and began shooting everything. I shot a lot during those first years, when film was much more affordable, which really helped me narrow down what I enjoyed taking images of. Suddenly, lockdown then happened, and I spent a lot of time during the early months growing my passion for trying to make interesting images out of ordinary daily life, since we couldn’t travel, and this led me to experiment with a lot of different cameras and film stocks to try and keep things fresh and not get bored. I did a few photography jobs here and there during this time: weddings and commercial mainly, but I wanted to keep photography as more as a hobby than a profession, so I didn’t lose the passion for it.
I soon found day-to-day lifestyle photography to be my forte after looking back at all my images over the years and being drawn to my photos of well-composed normal situations and familiar faces. When we could finally travel again, street photography became an extension of that passion for ‘normal scenes’ wherever I went. For me, the importance of street/documentary photography is sometimes hard to acknowledge at the time of taking the photos, but I think the significance of the images grows as the years pass and those situations or people are no longer. The Matt Day mantra of ‘Photograph your life’ really stuck with me, and during lockdown, seeing the work of Kieran Doherty and his parents really cemented this for me. Seeing these guys taking ‘home documentary’ types of images and how time changes everything irreversibly gave me the realisation of how important pictures like this become years down the line. My mum used to take a wealth of images of my brother and I when we were growing up, and looking back at these photos of precious memories gives you a feeling like no landscape image could ever give me.
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