A walk with Leon Broomhead
A walk with Leon Broomhead
This is the first in a line of articles about meeting up with fellow photographers. It is entirely different to my interview series and allows a real insight. There will be no planned route or topics, it’s just meet up and see what happens.
In this article, we met up with Leon Broomhead from Derby. After months chatting on Facebook, we finally arranged a suitable time. Leon kindly offered to come over to Lincoln which was very kind.
Here is what happened…
For both of us university has been a revelation for one reason or another. Leon is in his first year at Derby University studying photography full-time. He gets involved in studio shoots but more importantly works with FILM!!!
Finally, another person who is really into film. What was interesting was our outlook on the use of film in your work. Leon has experience of developing both 35mm and medium (colour/b&w too) which is really good.
Although the weather was not great we both shot medium format and digital too. Leon used a Halina TLR and the phlogger used his trusty Bronica ETRS.
Another element we discussed was tutors and their lack of enthusiasm for Instagram. It was quite ironic that Leon mentioned Sud from Instagram, who is a fabulous eerie portrait photographer. He mentioned discussing him for his university work and the lack of support from peers. This feels really contradictory, an artist does not need to be plastered all over the world with fame. Art is about talent and pushing boundaries. We say sod those peers, who are they to put shame on artists we all like.
It’s always nice to shows people around this great city of Lincoln. It feels like a small and friendly version of York. We showed Leon around the university and then around the canals and up steep hill. He was very interested to see the old buildings and the friendly people of Lincoln.
No visit to Lincoln is not complete without seeing the majestically Cathedral and Lincoln Castle. Unfortunately, the castle was ticket only access due to an event. But Leon could see the lovely court in the background and wanted to come back again.
Leon is no stranger to street photography and one of the reasons we first started talking. The high street provided a chance to try a little street photography. We discussed the impending changes in the law and questioned the future.
Working in pairs allowed you to use each other to capture some innocent bystander. This is a simple technique where you ask your mate to stand towards the focal point and then adjust your viewfinder. Another useful tip is to talk to your friend like you are just telling them where to stand. When in actual fact you are taking a shot of someone else.
Walking around with Leon and talking to him, you realise he is still in search of his niche. It’s not always easy finding this, but with the enthusiasm and hard work, it won’t take Leon long. It’s quite clear when you find it, you just enjoy and can’t stop. Seeing Leon shoot film with no light meter shows he has great skill and confidence to do it. It is also clear he has the eye, we would both see interesting characters and setup to shoot.
Personally, it is our opinion Leon would make a great street photographer or even something more artistic. He understands the role of art and thinking required for a shot.
You can see in the shot below, he is using the wall to steady himself to get a good depth of field in his shot. When working with fixed aperture and film you have to compromise.
In previous conversations with Leon, we became friends due to our mutual love of all things film. Shooting together was a great chance to discuss our cameras. The Halina TLR used by Leon is a very humble device even compared to the box system of the Bronica. Leon seemed to like the approach of the design and the loud shutter. Sometimes, this is a little bit of a giveaway on the street. Yet other times it provides discourse with the public.
We noticed one older looking gentleman who seemed interested and finally came across. It was great to discuss our mutual interest and we both urged him to try film again. He was unsure about developing. so my article was mentioned to help him find someone suitable.
It was so humbling to have Leon come across to Lincoln and walk with me. Walking around with your camera and talking to a mate is so rewarding. Someone listening to your thoughts and experiences helps you explain what you are trying to do.
Leon is a forward planning guy who is trying to push others and motivate them like the phlogger. Who knows where this will lead, but we are already making plans.
Please check out his work and get in touch with Leon, he’s a cool guy and will always listen.
Until the next walk, hope you like this new series and see you all soon.