Square Mile – final selection

These images are (reduced copies of) my final selection for the Square Mile assignment.

My Square Mile is the River Medway where it passes through Maidstone. The area encompasses the riverside paths and four bridges (one rail/foot bridge, two road bridges and a footbridge). Despite unpromising surroundings, a main road on most of one side and a trading estate on most of the other, it is well used as a leisure/recreation area. The river itself is used by pleasure-boaters, rowers and canoeists. The footpaths are used by joggers, anglers, dog walkers, swan-feeders and those just eating their lunches or walking from A to B. I have tried to cover most of the area and most of the activities.

The brief calls for 1500px images, suggesting the size of the old 5×3-inch enprints; I decided to go for a snapshot approach, using a snapshot camera. All photographs are shot on HP5+ film in an Olympus Trip 35.


Square Mile – more contacts

These contacts are the result of three more visits to the riverside; various weather conditions (all sunnier than the first visit) but all around lunchtime. The last visit was a sunny day at half-term so there were a lot more people around.

With a total of 162 images between the two sets of contacts and a brief to produce 6-12 images for the assignment, there are multiple stories to be told. My plan is to select images showing people using or interacting with the space. There are images of a motor launch, rowers (unfortunately, the only canoeist is too small in frame), dog walkers, cyclists, swan/goose feeders, people eating their lunch and people just walking through.

I will need a mix of scales, mostly fairly intimate but building up an overall picture of the space.

Lightroom (OlyTripFeb16-092.tif and 90 others)

Olympus Trip 35

This is my Olympus Trip 35, my tool of choice for the “Square Mile” assignment.

2 OlyTrip

This is the Volkswagen Beetle of the camera world, simple, rugged, reliable and built in vast numbers. Mine is one of the 5-million-or-so “classic” metal-bodied Trips with the 4-element glass 40mm lens (modified Tessar design). Selenium cell meter with rather crude electro-mechanical automation is “accurate enough” in conjunction with the exposure latitude of negative film.

Selected for “Square Mile” because the brief seems to fit a snapshot approach (1500px images equate to the old 5″x3″ enprint size of machine prints) and the use of the same focal length, same film and developing should give a consistent “look” to the final  images.

It is also the camera that I am using for February in my ’12 months, 12 cameras’ project.


Surprisingly, there is no entry in McKeown (I have the 2005-6 12th edition) but there is useful information on Camerapedia


Square Mile – first contacts

My first idea for “my” square mile was the shopping streets in the centre of Maidstone, a short walk from home and full of details and people. I never quite got there because I first had to cross the Medway, and found myself spending an hour and two rolls of film there instead.

The area that I have chosen is the Medway as it passes through the centre of Maidstone; there are four bridges and two riverside footpaths, surprisingly well used even on a stormy, cold Saturday in February. There are anglers, joggers, dog walkers and people simply using it as a route from A to B.

Quite a lot of the buildings annoy me, and I think it shows in some of the contacts. There is a semi-floating restaurant barge, which looks like a glorified  Portakabin, stuck right in front of the Archbishops’ Palace and interfering with the view of the historic buildings from across the river, and an appalling Travelodge which is now the most prominent building in the centre of town.

Technical details: These images were shot on HP5+ film in an Olympus Trip 35. The choice of camera was partly influenced by my current year-long project, 12 months – 12 cameras, in which I had selected the Trip for February and partly because my take on the brief is for a snapshot approach, for which the Trip is ideally suited.

Given the weather, this set of images gives a very gloomy impression of my square mile. There will be a second session with sunshine (when that eventually occurs) and my final selection of images will be drawn from both sets.

Contacts (OlyTripFeb16-004.tif and 70 others)