Humber Street

In 1987, my father bought me my first SLR. Notice the D is missing. So, I did say SLR and not DSLR. It was a Praktica MTL3 and it is now retired (polite way of saying Kaput) and sitting on a shelf in my son’s room. It took film. And the first roll of film that I shot with it was down Humber Street

In 1987, Humber Street was the fruit market of Hull, and I’m not making an unpolitically correct joke about sensitive men looking to do sensitive things with other sensitive men. No. That would be wrong and very un-enlightened of me. No, they did that in other places dotted around the city.

I used to shoot my film, get it developed at a place on Newland Ave, where I got the camera, and the guy would present me with a contact sheet and critique my photos. For those of you who were born after this analogical age, a contact sheet is where you lay out the negatives on a sheet of photographic paper, and expose the paper, and develop it, and get a whole load of thumbnail images that you can look at and decide which were worth printing. Yes, just like the thumbnails you get on the gallery on your phone, except it might have taken a little longer…

There was one image that pleased me immensely of a cat sitting quietly on a box of fruit wondering what the hell I was up to. That was then.

Skip forward a few years, just a few mind you, because I’m not an old git yet. No sonny Jim, I’m just a git! The area came into it’s own in 2017 when Hull was declared City Of Culture. People were proud of their city again and there were whisperers whispering, “Come to ‘Ull, it’s not shite anymore!”

The ‘gentrification’ of the area started with bars, and even Art Galleries! Then of course came the Humber Street Sesh, showing some amazing local musical talent. This year’s Street Sesh was last night, so you’ve missed it!

At the bottom is the Minerva. Minerva is of course the wise old owl in Greek mythology. It is also a pub which always has such a special place in people’s hearts. They do good food and good beer, and good gin, so the wife was more than happy.

The two nights before these photos, I had met up with and old friend from my school days who was kind enough not to mention all the silly shit that I used to get up to in my youth. The next night was a school reunion with people I hadn’t seen since 1985 and 1988 for the lads. Tales were told that I will not repeat here including stories about a pogo stick, and how I once said “merde” to my French teacher and left the room throwing my French books into the bin on the way out. They told my French wife, “Well he always was a bit European….”

Well now, you’ve kept reading up to now so I suppose I should tell you about these photos. They were taken on the Sunday night when I needed some “me” time to deal with the overwhelming overload of nostalgia. I was out with the Canon 6D Mark II, and the 16-35mm lens. Hope you like them.

Did I go on for too long?

Walkabout in Nantes with the lads from Instagram – Part I

Now and again I do some colour photography, especially with the colours you get from the X100F. Everyone goes on about it, but they really are good. A guy on Instagram wanted to get some people together of various photographic levels, some who know little, some who know a lot, some who have loads of gear, and some who have very little. This was the first outing.

We wanted to get into Nantes during Golden Hour, but somebody had the rather silly idea of making it the “morning” Golden Hour. I, of course, was late. The meeting place was Place Royale, where Kate’s favourite fountain its. Emiliano Sala had just disappeared on his flight from Nantes to Cardiff, and people had made a kind of shrine to him.

They all had DSLR’s with lenses and tripods and the whole shebang. Guys together having a competition to see who had the biggest… Camera… What else were you thinking about???? I turned up with my Fujifilm X100F. Yes mine was the smallest (camera) but I’m fine with that, and I own it!!

But I digress. I usually do black and white conversions and seem to have the process slightly sussed out. The colour film simulations are just great on this camera and I get why people wax lyrical about them.

When I got the X100F I wanted to have a digital camera that was the equal of my film cameras. I wanted something that could open up to F2 and go up to F16. I wanted something that looked good and that got the job done. It’s basically a compact camera, with a fixed prime lens, and is sold as the street photography photographer’s camera, or the travel photography photographer’s camera. Of course it it great for this, and just slips in a bag. It’s light and such an understated chic. I love it! There you are. I love my camera.

But back to Nantes who is the real star in this series. In this first part you see us going from the Place Royale, going to bakery for breakfast and a coffee (I always seem to find a place to eat wherever I am…), heading towards the Tour de Bretagne, which is Nantes’ version of the Tour Montparnasse in Paris, going across Cours des 50 Otages, towards the Castle via rue de la Marne, and having a look at some the of the streets branching off, and ending up on the rue du Château.