Old-school snaps: The photographer capturing the UK on a 130-year-old camera

Simon Williams explains why he’s snubbing modern technology in favour of a Victorian device

Lauren Beavis
Saturday 09 April 2022 00:01
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<p>Clifton Suspension Bridge</p>

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Simon Williams started using the 130-year-old device after getting fed up with the “technological race” for more pixels and sharper images.

His bellow camera helps make landmarks, places and objects near his home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, look like they are still in the Victorian era.

The former science teacher decided to go back to basics and uses chemicals to create vintage photography on glass plates.

The strict time constraints associated with the medium led him to convert the back of his camper van into a mobile darkroom.

Simon says: “I love to make images that have story, mystery, where not everything is pixel-perfectly-clear.

“I like to make photographs that are true to life – not the synthetic, hyper-real falseness of advertising and over-processed Instagram images.

Clevedon Pier

Vandyke Brown Print of Chapel Allerton Windmill

Weston-Super-Mare pier

“I can spend three hours making four images, one of which is useable.

“The process of making an image from a film negative to a cyanotype print from start to finish involves around 50 separate operations.

“So many ways this can go awry – but that is the challenge.”

Prince of Wales Bridge

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon sea front

He added: “I like to use old film and glass plates as they bring imperfections into the image.

“That can communicate more honestly that life isn’t perfect but it can still be beautiful, interesting and have a good story to tell.”

SWNS

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