(A Very Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – May 2022: Algarve in April, African Photography Showcase, Where are the Good Scanners? and Best Cameras for Travel

Advanced apologies for missing Monday Monthly Mentions from a couple weeks ago. I came back from my holiday a few days prior, I was still in ‘holiday mode’ and I didn’t have time to draft up an entry. Also there were a few technical difficulties, which now have been resolved.

Before I start today’s post, I wanted to share some sad news of Sharon Harris’ passing. Although she died in October, I only found out about this last month through my Facebook feed. I managed to get in contact with her family member, which did confirm the news. I hadn’t been on social media much, pretty much dipping in and out every once in a while.

I originally met Sharon in Zurich 2020. Weirdly enough we were on the same flight, only seats apart and stayed at the same hostel – even in the same room, opposite bunk beds.

Sharon was a journalist for the Glamorgan Star and lived in Cardiff. Like me, she was an avid traveller, except she travelled around the world many times, visiting many countries and continents. We spoke about places we had visited and experiences, even Eastenders at one point. We did keep in touch afterwards, although we would never see each other again in person.

As mentioned, I hadn’t been on social media much and finding out about Sharon’s death was an absolute shock.

May Sharon Harris Rest In Peace. My thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues

  • April Algarve: A few weeks after my trip to Malta, I went away to the Algarve in the south of Portugal. I began my journey from Faro and ending in Lagos (in Portugal), then flying out from Faro. I went away for over a week, exploring different towns and places each day. The weather was mostly nice, hot and warm despite it raining heavily probably twice.
Written in the sand: I wrote my name in the sand at the beach in Sagres

As usual, I took my film cameras with me. However a huge faux pas, I didn’t even realise until I went back to my hostel that there was no film loaded in the Olympus XA2. I spent the whole day in Sagres shooting without any film, but not all was lost. I took some photos on both my Olympus Mju 1 and phone. A sigh of relief, although I was initially devastated.

  • Analogue in Algarve: On the subject of film, I went to a small photography museum in Tavira, Casa Fotografia Andrade. A photographic studio run by the Andrade family for generations to the present day. Worth a visit, learning the early stages and history of photography in Portugal. Only a five Euro fee to enter and stay as long as you like. I did buy a photobook from the museum shop as a souvenir, with photographs that were seen on display.
A Photographic Souvenir from the museum
  • Wonderful Winehouse: I went to the ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ exhibition at the Design Museum at last!! It was closing the same week, and thankfully I did manage to buy a ticket right in time.  A lovely and moving tribute to Amy Winehouse, who was gone too soon. The exhibition was an eye opener; from a young talented girl from North London to a global superstar, who battled her demons in the public eye. It was great to see Amy’s legacy still living on through the exhibition, as well as a foundation set up in her name, supporting and helping young people from addictions and providing programmes.
  • Showcasing, Emerging and Growing: Doyle Wham is an art gallery in Shoreditch that displays and celebrates works by African photographers. Founded by a Royal College of Art graduate and a museums/heritage scholar, their aim was to showcase the African artistic scene and narrative. There’s an upcoming exhibition at the gallery from South African photographer Trevor Shuurman, ‘Life Through The Lens’, opens from 13th May to 2nd July
  • Food Photography for Thought: Karen Thomas is a London based food photographer, who has worked with a variety of well known brands such as McDonald’s, Costa and Marks & Spencers. She began learning photography from her father, also a photographer. Then experimented in the darkroom while at secondary school. After graduating from university, Thomas would be freelancing and photographing cars. Let’s say food was her passion and the rest is history…
  • Dude, where’s my film scanner? Or at least the good ones? An interesting question that is asked in Amateur Photographer. I want to know the answer too. I have an Epson V550, originally bought from Argos in 2017. I am yet to set it up on my new laptop, which will be a mission to do as I am uncertain it’ll be compatible with Windows 11 (originally installed on my Macbook Pro). The scanner is very good and reliable, still working and looks near enough in mint condition
  • Camera Can Travel: Lastly, going digital? Check. Travelling? Check. Digital Camera World has listed cameras perfect to pack for holidays, brands ranging from Olympus to Nikon

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – April 2022: Malta in March, Blog Absence, New Cinestill Film, Another Film Price Hike, Over 3000 Undeveloped Rolls and Home Printing

Malta Memories: Taking a photo of the Maltese flag and also flag of the Maltese Cross was a hard task, especially when it’s windy
  • Hello there, it has been a while since my last blog update. My absence/hiatus was longer than expected due to a few technical difficulties (with old Macbook) and time commitments – just to cut a long story short. It has been over two months since I bought my new laptop, so far I’m enjoying it although I have to install new editing software and the Epson scanner. I’m hoping to post regularly again here soon.
  • Malta in March: I finally did it! After two years of delays and cancellations, I made it to Malta last month. I spent just a week on the small island, where the weather started off nice, then it got windy and rainy days later. Sadly my trip to the neighbouring island of Gozo was disappointing due to the non-stop rain and wind. So my plans of exploring the island before flying home were doomed from the get-go. Thankfully prior to the bad weather, I did manage to go to Mdina, Rabat, Valletta and Sliema (where I was staying). I would definitely revisit in the near future, possibly next summer when it gets warmer.
  • Speaking of Malta: The country’s landscapes captured by Inigo Taylor are beautifully captured in monochrome, with the fine detail of the plants, fauna, clouds and surroundings. It gives it a timeless classic feel to each shot. He is based in Malta, as well as doing editorial work he is also a wedding photographer. I recommend checking out his website.
  • New Cinestill around the Corner: Cinestill is launching a new colour film in both 35mm and 120, called 400Dynamic. It is a daylight balanced film with a speed of 400, providing saturated colours added with ‘rich, warm skin tones’. The speed can be pushed from its box speed from 200 up to 3200, which is good news for all manual setting camera lovers. I will certainly be buying and trying.
  • Kodak Comeback: On the subject of new film, Kodak Gold in 120 made its comeback, with it now being widely available to buy at most photographic retailers. This five pack will not break the bank as it has been described as being ‘cheaper’ than Ektar and Portra at a quarter of the price. The medium format Gold still achieves the same results as the 35mm, which is all good news.
  • Not really news, as predicted – in my head: Fujifilm is increasing the film prices from this month up to 60%. Yes, another huge price hike, are we really surprised? Not really…
  • Printing at Home: ‘Is it worth it?’ That’s the question. Dave Kai Piper explains the benefits of digital home printing, giving a detailed lowdown on how this method can improve creativity and workflow. Plus providing useful information on printers and inks used to produce great quality prints.
  • Over 3000 undeveloped rolls of Rock and Roll Historic Moments: Photographer Charles Daniels had been shooting rock stars since the 1960s, famous names such as Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones – and that is only to name a few, trust me there is more!! Over the years, Daniels has amassed 3200 rolls of undeveloped film. Luckily, there are plans on having them processed all thanks to donations through GoFundme. The article is very interesting, explaining Daniels’ background and career, certainly worth a read!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – January 2022: Welcome to 2022, Kodak High Prices, Metro Moments and Plans For the Future

Way to Start into the New Year: Shot on Instax Monochrome (expired January 2020) with Fuji Instax Mini 8
  • Legendary actress and comedian Betty White has sadly passed away at 99, on New Year’s Eve. She was a few weeks short turning 100. She had a very long career in acting, well known for her role in Golden Girls, as well as being a supporter and activist of LGBT+ rights and animal welfare. May she rest in peace.
  • 2022 has started, already a Bank Holiday after a long weekend of celebrations into the new year. Many people, including myself, kept the ‘celebrating’ low key. In fact, I was in bed before midnight, then got up shortly afterwards. I had been working all week, and I was yearning for was a decent rest and some sleep.
New Year’s Day was a chance to take some snaps of the empty streets in the local area
  • Kodak Jumpin’ Up In Price Again: Old news-ish, as it was initially reported late last year; Kodak had announced another price rise in their film starting from January, so this month. Not to mention, it was very hard to buy certain Kodak films, such as Portra 400 in 35mm – which sold out on eBay, Analogue Wonderland and Parallax, perhaps a few other retailers. It’s no surprise that the panic buy started before the upcoming big price hike.
  • The Exhibitions Must Go On: There are a few shows and exhibitions I would like to see soon, including ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ at the Design Museum, an exhibition dedicated to the late singer Amy Winehouse. Also the Helen Levitt show at the Photographers’ Gallery, which I heard about via Twitter. I didn’t go to many art exhibitions or shows in 2021, hopefully this year I might be able to go to as many as possible.
  • My Plans for 2022 (Kinda, still in progress): Well most likely to be better than 2021. There are quite a lot of things I would like to accomplish by this year, both career and creativity wise. With Select/21 under my belt, I want to have my fingers in several pies by focusing on my photography again; finally developing my own film, creating zines and photo books, and also doing more projects/series. Plus I would like to do more writing, revisit a few storyline outlines and plans; maybe complete that short story from five years ago!! Maybe be super fluent in Spanish!!

It’s early days yet, but I am hoping 2022 will be the best year yet to come, once and for all…

Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe

(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – December 2021: Belated Posts, Holidays, Birthdays and Select 21

Before I start this post, I would like to send my condolences to the families and friends of both John Whitmore and Boris Pfaffenzeller, who sadly passed away last month. They were both photographers, very active in the film photography community, talented at their craft and Twitter friends of mine. May they rest in eternal peace.

I would also like to pay my respects to American fashion designer, Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed away last month after a battle with cancer. Abloh was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, as well as founding his own label Off-White back in 2012. May he rest in eternal peace, my thoughts are with his family and friends.

Lake Lugano from top of Monte San Salvatore
  • I haven’t been blogging as much since September, quite unusual although I wanted to do a few posts the following month but never got around to. I have been so busy with work, plus most of my rare down time was mainly recovering from work during my days off. Don’t worry, I will try to attempt to blog as much as I can before the end of 2021.
  • Turning 30 and Swiss Birthday Trip: I officially turned 30 back in September, so to celebrate my milestone birthday I went on a solo trip to Switzerland; travelling through to Lugano, then Lucerne and ending in Zurich. On my actual birthday I went to Burgenstock, however it was raining heavily throughout the day. Also I didn’t get to go on the famous Hammetschwand Elevator, due to my on/off fear of heights, however I did manage to see a beautiful view of Lake Lucerne. The next day the weather was slightly better, I went to Mount Pilatus via cable car to the top, although I didn’t reach the highest peak. I must say it was definitely a memorable experience, something I would do again in the future. And of course, I did capture all this on film!!
  • For the last couple of months, I haven’t done much film photography. There were times when I wanted inspiration and motivation to pick up my camera(s), but many ideas and plans were thrown out the window. I do have quite a lot of film that needs to be developed at some point, maybe in the new year…
  • Not all motivation isn’t lost, I went to the darkroom for the first time in over a year, over a month ago. First session was in October, when I used the colour enlarger. It did take some time to get used to it, thankfully with some help I managed to make a few prints. The next session I was printing in Black and White, which was a breeze as I was confident in what I was doing. Many of my prints came out good, although I need to improve in some areas.
  • Good news to end this year: Select 21 is finally here!! After a year of delays, the show is on the road – with yours truly exhibiting the famous Petrol Station Series, alongside with other photographers and their work. I am so proud of this achievement, after all the drama and stress throughout the last year. If you are interested in seeing Select 21, booking is essential via Eventbrite and it’s free. Show ends on Friday 21st January 2022.
The hard work has finally paid off after a year of delays and stress

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – September 2021: Second Dose, Turning Thirty, Famous Photographers, Historical Images of Seasides and Loving Languages

Wanted to add a picture to accompany today’s post. It’s a piece titled ‘Still Life of Flowers’ (1614) painted by Ambrosius Bosschaert during the Dutch Golden Age (Image source: Wikipedia)
  • I had my second dose a couple weeks ago. I am all set and finally protected!! The good news is that I have overcome my long term fear of needles. At least that’s over and done with for now…
  • I faced another challenge: having my tooth extracted. This particular tooth had cavities and was cracked, so I made the decision to have it taken out after going back and forth to the dentist. The alternative was to have it filled in, but it would be very pricey.
  • Also I will be 30 next week. Yes, I will be hitting an important milestone in my life. To think that I was 19 over a decade ago, about to start university. For my birthday, I will be going away to celebrate in style. Posts are going to be in a queue this week and the next while away.
  • The Canal Zones: Britain’s Canals and Waterways, including the famous one going through Stratford’s Olympic Park behind Westfield Shopping Centre, which is semi-local to me by a bus ride.
  • Looks like the famous Hackney graffiti pub (aka the former Lord Napier Star) is ‘back’, but for how long?
  • Oh to be at the seaside… Feeling nostalgic? There’s a slideshow with historical snaps of various beaches across the world, from the US, to the UK, France and Italy. Most very well known, including Coney Island in New York and Blackpool in England.
  • A Romantic Language Comparison: French vs. Italian and their similarities. While they are part of the Romance language family, I often consider Italian being closer to Spanish than it is to French. The pronunciation is somewhat similar to each other, I do agree with the article published. I wanted to learn Italian initially, however as suggested by a native speaker it was better to do Spanish first and then eventually learn Italian afterwards as it would become easier for me to understand. I can confirm that has been the case after all these years!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – August 2021: Essex Coast, Fuji Discontinues Film, Photography Ideas and Being Black in Suffolk

  • It has been a while since my last post, my apologies. I was meant to post a Film Friday a couple weeks back, however after writing longhand in my journal, I decided not to go ahead with it. I took a step back from my blog, as I wanted to take a break from writing for a bit.
  • I was on holiday from work last week, after working non-stop for the last few weeks. I had some me-time by relaxing and going to the gym, as well as joining a badminton group. I wanted to keep fit during my time off by focusing on my health and wellbeing.
Inspecting the Negatives, in a Postive Way: James Barnor looking through his developed 120 film in the 1960s
  • I went to see James Barnor: Accra/London – a Retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery over a week ago. It was worth the visit, since it’s free with a pre-booking time slot – and yes, I will definitely visit again and again until the show ends. So many beautifully printed and framed photographs throughout Barnor’s career during his time in both Ghana and England during the 1960s; many of them stand out, especially the portrait sessions at his studio in Ghana. I have to repeat myself here by saying it’s certainly worth the visit. Also, someone who works at the Serpentine recognised me instantly, as we once collaborated on an art group project years ago. What a small world!!
  • The Only Way is the Essex Coast: I visited Harwich, Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze all in one week. I went to Harwich last Thursday, which was a lovely day. It’s a small port town in the Tendring district, around twenty miles away from Colchester. There was a very quiet beach nearby in Dovercourt, nice for long strolls and away from the hustle and bustle. A little over forty-eight hours later, I went to Frinton-on-Sea, then eventually walked my way to Walton-on-the-Naze, a mile and a bit away. So many beach huts, most of them very colourful and vibrant. It did rain a bit later in the afternoon, thankfully it wasn’t too heavy.
The Bold, Beautiful and Bright Beach Huts of Walton-on-the-Naze
  • Fuji Velvia 100 has been forced to discontinue in the US by the EPA, better known as the Environmental Protection Agency, due to the film containing a banned chemical – phenol, isopropylated phosphate. That particular chemical substance is used mainly for flame-retardant, as well as producing rubber, foam and cotton, the EPA added. So it’s most likely the film photographic businesses in the US will have to withdraw Velvia from its sales, if they haven’t already.

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – July 2021: Kent Coast, Journaling, A Hidden Gem, Art Fairs, Petrol Stations and Bjork

  • I had my first Covid vaccination last month!! I wanted to share that bit of news first. I did finally overcome my long time fear of needles, but at least I got it out of the way. I should have my second one in a month’s time, which I might need to book soon. Anyway, I had the Pfizer and thankfully I didn’t have many side effects, apart from a sore arm and a headache.
Welcome to Whitstable!! The main harbour close to the beach
  • June was a good month for visiting the Kent coast; I went to Whitstable for the first time on a warm Saturday, exploring the beach, town and trying out the local oysters!! Then two weeks later I headed back to Kent, this time to Folkestone. Just like Whitstable, it is a shingle beach, plus it’s a direct train ride from Stratford International. I spent most of my day walking along the beach, also seeing the lighthouse and harbour. Of course, when at the seaside one must have fish and chips, and I highly recommend Harbour Inn where I had the famous cuisine. It was so delicious that I left a Google review rating it five stars!!
  • Hidden Hills: My friend and I went to The Hill Garden and Pergola at the start of this month. After a few delays, we made our trip there. The small pergola is located near Hampstead Heath, North London. I had never known about this place until my friend sent me a link via Whatsapp. It’s free of charge and it’s worth a wander on a nice afternoon.
  • A Fair Result: after cancellation after cancellation with dates being moved, the Other Art Fair finally had the show on the road this year. I went this past Saturday with my friend Mark. It has been over a year since I last saw him and it was good to catch up. The art fair took place at West Handyside Canopy near King’s Cross station, which was a bigger venue space with more artists, as well many who have exhibited many times before.
  • Note that down!: I have been into journaling again recently. For the last decade, I have been buying so many journals and notebooks but hardly put them into use, only a few for random lists and notes. I have a couple that I started using as a ‘wellbeing’ journal and another for as a diary of my thoughts and feelings. I mainly get inspiration from a Reddit group called Journaling, and also I get a few ideas on making travel journals. Despite it being fun to do having a physical notebook, at times it can be difficult to finish them – something that has been a problem for me.
A few bits from Paperchase a couple weeks back; the Noto notebooks were on sale and I couldn’t resist
  • Fuji Finished: Fujifilm is set to close four photo equipment factories in the US, axing 400 jobs. All four factories are located in the state of South Carolina, that manufactures printing plates, inks, papers and disposable cameras. Petapixel added, this is mainly contributed to the ‘declining demand’ of products. This is sad, I feel sorry for the workers as this job might be their only main source of income. The upcoming axing will not come into effect until next year in 2022.
  • A possible end to an era: the decline of petrol stations has been a slow ride for a long time, with the increase and popularity of electric cars in recent years. I did a photographic series of petrol stations almost a couple years ago, and it was hard looking for a station to shoot. It was a mission to find any nearby, since some had shut around my local area – including one I had taken back in the first series (Texaco/Co Op). No surprise, it might most likely be turned into high rise flats soon.
  • Prom Princess of The Ukraine: Michal Chelbin’s ‘Best Photograph’ in the Guardian is of a young girl in the Ukraine in her prom dress. Chelbin had created a series of photographs of teenagers in their last year at school in the country. Interesting read on the concept of transitioning into young adulthood.
  • At home? Want some photography inspiration?: Amateur Photographer has listed ten photography projects and ideas to do at home, with some being easy and accessible to do.
  • There’s something about Bjork: all thanks to Spotify and Youtube!! I have been listening to the famous Icelandic singer Bjork recently, mainly to her older stuff such as Debut and Homogenic. I knew about her before, only from her cover song ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’. Then I listened to her song ‘Isobel’ on Youtube, from the 1995 album Post. Last week, I listened to Homogenic for the first time while I was at the gym. My favourite song from the album is ‘Bachlorette’, and I cannot stop listening to it!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – February 2021: Discontinued Film, Birthdays, Exhibitions, Staycations and Social Media Breaks

Monday Monthly Mentions is a new feature on my blog of posts that I will be posting every first Monday of every month, discussing topics in list form; such as photography, art, travel, creativity, plus throwing a few personal tidbits too, or anything I find interesting or would like to share…

A Fuji Family Portrait: Recent purchase from Parallax Coop, based in South London
  • It was my Mum’s birthday yesterday. Normally, we would go out for a nice meal but due to Covid and lockdown, we stayed at home and had fish and chips instead (my Dad’s idea). We washed it down with a bottle of sparkly Cava wine that I bought from work. It was lowkey, but Mum didn’t mind!!
  • Last month, Fujifilm announced that they will be discontinuing Fuji Pro 400h in both 35mm and 120. After the announcement, film customers were panic buying the film; a few photographic retailers had sold out of the film. However, on eBay there were sellers (including one photographic retailer, who shall remain anonymous) selling Pro 400h for a ridiculous amount!! Some for £45 for a SINGLE roll!! A pack of five 120 rolls for over a HUNDRED POUNDS!! That doesn’t surprise me to be honest… Thankfully I bought two packs of 120 for a reasonable price, alongside with a few rolls in 35mm that will last me for a while.
  • There’s a JMW Turner exhibition at Tate Britain until next month. I would like to visit, depending on whether the lockdown restrictions will be lifted, who knows? Some museums and galleries are having virtual exhibitions, although it doesn’t feel the same being there in person. The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is exhibiting online as the National Portrait Gallery is currently closed until 2023.
  • The Only Way is Sussex: there is a UK staycation booking boom, since the chances of holidaying abroad is slim due to restrictions and possible quarantine upon return (fingers crossed for Malta is still going to be on the cards). Sussex Live has a list of places worth visiting this summer, including Brighton, Chichester and Camber Sands. I would like to go to a few of the places mentioned and possibly go to Brighton again – I haven’t for a few years. Having been to Eastbourne and Seaford last year, I would like to explore Sussex a bit more this year.
  • Speaking of staycations, the Guardian published an article of ‘tranquil places’ to go to in the UK. I have an eye for a few, being near to London. I was surprised to see Flatford Mill coming up, a place where my friend told me about and was interested in visiting at some point.
  • In late December I took a break from social media, now I am ‘back’ but only in small steps. I decided to take a hiatus to clear my mind and get away from the endless scrolling, also I was working quite a lot since last month. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I am known as ‘janninesphotos’
  • Lastly, I was due to post ‘Films of 2020’ entry over the weekend (initially for December), however the entry was longer than I thought after writing it in my journal by hand. I might post it at some point either this month or probably towards the end of the year…

That’s all for now, take care and stay safe!!

Black Lives Matter

It has been an incredibly tough and stressful week with the recent events happening in the United States and across the world.

Black Lives Matter and always should. No Black person under any circumstances should face a premature death sentence from police brutality. Their lives shouldn’t be taken away or even cut off short.

We should remember their names. Their faces. Their lives. Their stories.

I speak on this matter as a woman of colour. A Black woman. An Autistic woman. A daughter. A sister. An aunt. A niece. A cousin. A friend. A neighbour. A co-worker.

We need to remember them. We shouldn’t have to remain silent.

This shouldn’t have to happen in 2020 or any lifetime.

This needs to stop. In order for that to happen, we need to change, get together and end this once and for all.

We can all do our bit by donating or signing petitions. We need to put something forward.

We can end this together

Black Lives Matter

Take care and stay safe