I recently tried out my newest camera, a 1963 Canon Demi. For those who don’t know, this is a half-frame camera, meaning that the negatives are half the usual size and you get twice as many negatives on a film. This was significant when the camera was new in the 1960s: colour photography was just coming out and was expensive, so half frame cameras reduced the price somewhat. This isn’t why I bought it – I wanted it because of its tiny negatives (meaning you get more grain), cheap lens (for that lo-fi look) and its unusual default portrait orientation.

The camera has a sort of semi automatic metering system. It’s tiny and easy to carry around and the emphasis is on convenient picture-taking rather than technical details. I noticed that this carried over into my photography, and most of the pictures I took on the Demi’s first outing were far from technically perfect, but more “free and easy” and probably more interesting as a result.

All of these shots are taken in different areas around Bristol.

Oldbury Court
Castle Park
Victoria Street
Christmas Steps
St Michael’s Hill

Earlier this year, street artists were invited to come and paint graffiti on various buildings along Nelson Street. Perhaps the black & white film I was using doesn’t do these vibrant works of art justice, but I like the graininess.

Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
Graffiti on Nelson Street
St Michael’s Hill
Royal Fort Garden
Royal Fort gatehouse

These works are taking place to demolish the old children’s hospital to make way for the new University biological silences building. Most of the demolition work is to remove and 1950s brick and concrete structure. The original frontage of the old building is being kept, and will be incorporated into the new building.

Demolition site

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