A couple of weeks back, a friend and I headed up (west, so, left on a map??) to Richmond park to try out the beauty that is 120 medium format film. He was determined and obsessed with the idea of seeing a few deers, I was more fixated on using my new lightmeter. The park is a vast and surreal expanse of land; broken up by the scattering of mounds, hills with clusters of trees (think ‘Where the Wild Things Are’) sparsely dotted about. There was a main road that flowed with slow-moving traffic throughout.
It had just snowed across much of London, giving the park’s open plain paths a beautifully thin blanket of white. The air was thin and quite chilly, the breeze, blisteringly bitter. We were quite high up, think Hampstead park, or Alexandra Palace, only higher, with the same sense of the incredible view peering through the hills and trees out onto London. There wasn’t much in the way of sound, apart from the odd dog’s bark or rush of wind through the trees.
It became clear that these weren’t ideal conditions for using a solid, 2.5kg, heft of metal and glass, and tripod, especially when you have to change a roll film, adding to previous nags about it being a studio camera (blah, the pussies). However the serene expanse of unbroken earth tones and grey-to-white tones viewed, and recorded was definitely not to be missed. An unusual serenity found within a city’s boarders.
Despite the weather, lack of deers, and multiple pedestrians with bewildered looks and questions, it was very enjoyable. Looking back on the pictures brings on the same feeling of zen from the day, coming out of my comfort zone of the neutral red and yellow brick tones and vast expanses of glass and steel that forms my usual environment.