TRIP – Sheffield: Park Hill

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

I decided to write my MA dissertation on photography of brutalist buildings, including Park Hill in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to receive funding to cover my train ticket to Sheffield in order to visit the local archive and to see the estate for myself. The part of the building that has not been gutted and re-done is in terrible disrepair. The photographs I’m looking at as part of a few case studies are from when it was newly opened and occupied in 1961, so it was sad to see it in such poor condition. I’ve become particularly partial to the buildings that I’ve been studying, and it’s a shame that this building, even though it was listed, has been turned into luxury flats with gaudy coloured walls (thankfully the black and white saves you from that experience), and for some reason the double windows have been replaced with un-openable glass panes, all in the name of “modernisation”.

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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Temperate House, Kew Gardens

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400

I’ve been going to Kew Gardens frequently over the past four years, and I was always intrigued by the big greenhouse that was boarded off, undergoing restoration works. The Palm House is one of my favourite botanical places to visit, and now Temperate House has reopened there is even more gorgeous Victorian architecture and plants to admire.

I went on the opening weekend, it was so busy and the plants were newly planted. It will be interesting to see it grow into itself over the years, I’ll come back to you in ten years to let you know the difference!

(Of course the last two are from the Palm House, I can’t stay away from that humid box of tropical plants)

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©Jennifer Schussler

PLACES – Barbican Conservatory

CAMERA: Yashica 35-ME
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400

If I ever find myself with a lack of purpose on a Sunday I’ll get my shoes on and head to the Barbican Conservatory. It’s one of those ‘hidden secrets’ of London that is no longer hidden, so even though it is now a very popular spot I still enjoy going for a wander amongst the plants. There are some incredibly huge monstera plants climbing the fly tower, a diverse range of cacti and some pretty cool turtles hanging out in a pool you can only see from the bridge to the cacti room.

If, unfortunately, the conservatory is closed for a wedding you can always admire the bountiful botanical balconies throughout the estate.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Hastings 2017 pt.1

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35
FILM: Ilford HP5+ 400

After visiting Bexhill I hopped on a quick train to Hastings, where I spent the rest of my day out. I enjoyed the recently awarded pier, which is now unfortunately in some trouble financially. It was such a contract to the cluttered piers with amusements that you can find in places like Brighton; I don’t usually take one step on those kinds of piers. The great expanse of the pier plus the wide sea view is calming, and the little building in the middle which acts as visitor centre, gift shop and stepped amphitheatre is a delightful architectural addition. Remnants of the old pier remain, in the old supports and the re-used wood for the deck, but it felt fresh and inviting. I hope that it continues to stay a place for the public to enjoy.

This particular home development was not my finest moment, as you can tell by some of the photos featured here. The film just would not load into the reel, and so my frustration resulted in some creases in the film. Future films are safe from my frustration as I have replaced the reels with brand new ones, I should have realised long ago that the old ones were worn out and it shouldn’t be that hard to load film!

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©Jennifer Schussler

Leica M3 & Kodak Ultramax 400

CAMERA: Leica M3
FILM: Kodak Ultramax 400
When I was lent the Leica M3 I was so excited by the results I had in black and white that I wasn’t sure that it would do colour as wonderfully. Oh, how I proved myself wrong! I went to one of the usual places I go when testing out a camera or film, Kew Gardens. It was time for the Orchid Festival and having shot in the glasshouses before with my Holga, and having the images come out a bit dark, I was interested to see how the shots would come out with a bit more control over shutter speed and aperture.
I haven’t shot too much with this film and I was delighted at the colours that came back, helped by the sharpness and accuracy the Leica provides. I have also been trying to gain more confidence in taking photos of people as my comfort lies in plants and architecture, so the Leica helped in the quietness of the shutter to get closer to my subjects. One even waved, from afar though so isn’t immediately obvious in the photo.
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©Jennifer Schussler

CAMERA – Lomokino

CAMERA: Lomography Lomokino
FILM: Kentmere 400
When the Lomokino was first announced I was excited, and I backed it on Kickstarter. When it arrived I tried it a few times, after which it sat on my shelf collecting dust for years. I found it to be difficult to handle, mostly because they then added a removable handle later, and an absolute pain to edit the frames into short films. It felt like the input far outweighed the output, and so I shelved it to same myself the time and frustration it caused.
I moved recently, and so did the Lomokino (for its 4th time, I always kept it!) and I looked at it on my shelf, put there for no reason other than it had nowhere else to go, and I thought about how I could use it without the hassle. I decided to put a black and white film in it, as now I am developing it myself it’s a less cost-prohibitive process. I decided to use it as one uses a multi-lens cameras, think Octomat or Supersampler (I’ver never used either but would like to try someday). Below are the results, a little mangled from a fight with the ancient developing reels I used to use (now replaced with new ones that work!). I don’t mind that I ruined the film a little bit, after all this was a test.
I don’t know if I’ll try using the Lomokino again. It was still difficult to use and control, it just feels like the camera is moving so much in my hands as I turn the crank, and it was too hard for my brain to remember which way the film was moving to build the shots in the right way.
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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Ghent 2017

CAMERA: Olympus Trip 35, Holga 120CFN
FILM: Fomapan 400, Kodak Portra 400
Ghent may not be high on everyone’s list of places to visit, but as someone who has studied art history I knew I wanted to visit it for a while. Like an art historian’s pilgrimage, I wanted to see the Ghent Altarpiece, painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. I learnt about it early on in my studies, and had always thought of Ghent as a place to tick off a list of places to visit just to see a single work. It is currently being restored, so the bottom panels in St Bavo’s Cathedral are (very good) facsimiles, but you can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts to see into the conservators studio and see the panels there. It was so interesting to see them working on the panels, and while I was there a woman was cleaning a section on the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, very close to where the lamb is. For me, that was a highlight of the year!
Other than the wonderful art in Ghent I fell in love with the charm of the city. The streets and canals are beautiful, the noses delicious, and the carmelite convent where I stayed was a serene and convenient place to base myself. Unlike in Brussels, the convent was quite close to the centre of the city, and just up the road from the picturesque castle, so I could retreat into the quiet of my room if I was tired during the day.
In Ghent I found:
a delicious chocolate shop where you can see them making the chocolates downstairs (and it smells heavenly
a small but heavily stocked shop selling old postcards, stamps and, well, I didn’t have time to rummage through everything!
visited a soup cafe that came highly recommended – it is truly amazing, you get fruit and rolls and a million things in your soup like croutons and meatballs and cheese…heaven!
walked around the Design Museum which was interesting in terms of how they display their collections and exhibitions (my work brain never leaves me)
and I walked around and around, down the canals and up the streets, taking as many photos as I could.

I really feel like Ghent could be a place I revisit, time and time again, and I will definitely be back in 2019 once the Ghent Altarpiece has been restored and returned to its home in the cathedral.

In terms of the photos I took, I feel like I’m really getting a better understanding of how my Olympus Trip 35 works, even though I’ve had it for years! I feel these photos, as well as the ones taken in Brussels, are better than what I’ve shot before, which motivates me to use it even more.
Unfortunately, the shutter on my Holga accidentally switched to bulb, which is why the last shots are a bit blurry. I wish I had noticed because I then shot two more rolls with it like that. Oops! I haven’t used it for a while, and then infrequently, so really need to make sure I check its few, but very important, settings.

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©Jennifer Schussler

TRIP – Brussels 2017

CAMERA: Olympus TRip 35, Holga 120CFN
FILM: Fomapan 400, Kodak Portra 400
I have wanted to travel to Brussels for a long time. I bought a Wallpaper guide to Brussels at least a year or two ago, so I devised a plan to visit it this summer on my own. I decided to go alone because I’m yet to find someone who travels at the same pace as me, or slows me down in a way that isn’t frustrating. I like to see as much as possible which usually includes museums and galleries, and beautiful architecture.
My trip was for 5 days, with two in Brussels, two in Ghent and then some time on the way back to decide where to waste time before my Eurostar back to London. I enjoyed Brussels but really wore myself out walking from my accomodation into town, which was about a 30 minute walk. I didn’t get the trams because I wanted to see the city, but after a full day of wandering around museums, and not accounting for the walk back, I was exhausted.
I liked Brussels but after going in and out of the touristy areas I felt I had seen enough and was ready to go on to Ghent.
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.7

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
There’s a film in one of my cameras waiting to be developed with photos I know will not come out very well. So I decided to go with my trusty Instax to re-take some photos so I wouldn’t be as disappointed on missing those interesting views completely.
Some advice – never go into Bank station on the weekend to get to the District line. It was hot and I spent 10 minutes winding through the station to find that particular corridor closed. So back out again only to walk for two minutes to Cannon Street #londonerproblems.
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.6

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
Another weekend, another aimless wander. This time I was a bit more successful and took many more photos than expected. I wandered around the City of London, to revisit some places I had seen on my lunch breaks and just to see what else would take my fancy. I went from Euston through to Smithfield Market and down to St Paul’s. I stopped for about an hour in the lovely garden on the site of Christchurch Greyfriars Church and was joined by a strange little bird.
I find the city on the weekend to be quiet and peaceful (if you avoid the touristy areas) and it gives you more time to stop and consider what is around you as during the week there is just too much going on around you.
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©Jennifer Schussler

INSTAX 2017 no.4

CAMERA: Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
FILM: Fuji Instax Mini colour
The Barbican Estate has slowly become one of my favourite places in London during the past 3 years I have lived here. At first I found it rather offensive to the eye and thought that because it was called an ‘estate’ meant it wasn’t a very nice place. But when I discovered the conservatory after a visit to the Art Gallery I began to be seduced. Then I went on one of the architecture tours and was totally enamoured. Every detail about the entire estate was so well thought through by the architects, it’s now my life’s goal to live there. In the meantime, I just visit frequently. I’ve taken many photos there, but went back again with my Instax for a few more.
THere’s also two shots where I tried to make shaped frames to make double exposures with, very much still a work in progress.
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©Jennifer Schussler