Dr Blighty, Brighton Festival 2016

Brighton Festival – Dr Blighty (Nutkhut), 27th and 28th May 2016, Royal Pavilion

This project idea came when I saw a friend, Finn Hopson, post images from the first evenings show on social media. After reading the Brighton Festival programme information and doing some further research, I decided it would be an interesting and challenging project to take photographs with a film camera that was made from the same era, circa 1918.

The Kodak No2 Folding Autographic Brownie is a beautifully made iconic Kodak folding type camera that only has two settings, aperture and shutter speed. But then again, what more do you need? Kodak made millions of these and similar cameras in the pre and post war period.

I first went down on the Friday evening and was introduced to Ajay by the official event photographer, Alex Bamford. Working at night with a folding camera with a very dim mirror viewfinder is tricky as you cannot compose the image at all, it’s just lining up the camera with a fingers crossed strategy.

I got the Friday nights negatives back from Colourstream, the local lab, on Saturday but unfortunately I’d pretty much cut off the Pavilions minarets in most of the photos. I went back on the Saturday evening, and after the ‘practice’ the night before I had a much better idea of the exposure times and the angle at which to point the camera. All shots were taken with the camera mounted on a tripod using a shutter release cable to prevent camera movement during the long exposures.

The results were pleasing considering the inherent difficulties, but they really sum up why using old film cameras is so rewarding.

Kodak No2 Folding Autographic Brownie, 1917-23, Aperture f16, Shutter speed: B setting, 5-8 second exposures, Light Meter – iPhone App, Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative, Developed by Colourstream