From Start to Finish.

The latest in my series for BBC Radio Norfolk is: From Start to Finish.

A mixed medium doc telling the story of three exceptional female runners. We follow them as they describe their first time out on the pavement, between the 1980’s and present day. We talk of wellness, determination and the need for placing one foot in front of the other.

I’ve wanted to explore running from the female-specific lens for sometime. I wanted to uncover the everyday superhero, the women battling the impossible to some, and I wanted to highlight the importance of the ‘can-do'/’will-do’ attitude. I’ve been running myself for 2-3 years, not so much lately due to other commitments, but as soon as I began making the sport part of my routine, and ran more and more with others, of all ages and abilities, I quickly became drawn to the other characters I was training alongside. Particularly the women.

Wendy Smith has been running for 19 years, a member of The Norwich Road Runners, also a coach who runs the infamous ‘Mousehold Monday’ session.

Mandy Foyster is an experienced long distance runner, from marathons to ultras, she travels the country seeking new paths to tread.

Kiara Hamis, is a 17 year old student. One of the first members of the Junior section of The Norwich Road Runners.

Each of these strong, and motivational women has an important story to tell, and it was my aim to capture their passion for the sport in an almost immersive way. While the audio is simply made up from their personal voices, the visuals take a distinct journey from stills photography-to-GoPro captured runs.

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Shot and cut by Emmaalouise Smith for BBC Radio Norfolk. The story will air on The Sophie Little Show. Featuring ‘Bullet from a gun’ by Painted Heathers. COMING SOON.

Polaroid 600

I’ve recently been spending a bit of time looking through my archive of Polaroid images. I say archive, because I have hundreds. Almost 15 years worth, ranging the original 600 stock before it was discontinued, onto the Impossible Project’s early experimental packs, B&W, patterned frames, to Polaroid Originals’ most recent version.

In 2012 I presented a small pop-up solo show at the deceased Cakey Muto in Homerton. Titled ‘When we were young lovers.” I produced some enlarged Polaroid shots, as an almost 3-dimensional exhibition, scrapbook aethetics a plenty.
This is a format I’ve always been drawn to. along with my vast collection of cameras, even those with film no longer readily available. These rainbow striped cameras have been by my side at most landmarks of my life, sharing a hospital bed with me after I had my Son, and then each birthday since. It’s become a tradition for me, to bring one along to any project, capturing the atmosphere, a reminder in the aesthetic I’m aiming for, a confirmation that my ideas are working.

Often test shots for film or photo shoots, I’ve often placed these instants centre stage. There’s something about the square image, the unknown, holding my breath each time I click the shutter. And looking over these shots, boxes full of locked moments it now all makes sense.

Long live Polaroid.

Norfolk. 17.02.19. Foto-Diary.

Lazy Sundays, don’t really exist.

I’ve had very little downtime since last year. Sunday’s tend to be the day of rest, but there’s always some kind of prep to do for the week ahead. I like being busy. I’ll still busy myself, even on the day of rest. This week has seen the first real, warm sun of twenty-nineteen, I revel in it, applaud it’s warmth, daylight.

Brandon was out for the day recording, so it was just to be me and Sonn, the sun-seekers. Our car has just been fixed, so a road trip was always on the cards. Lets drive, and see what we can find.

I decided to pack light, and took the XT3 out for a spin. We’d barely left the city before we came across our first stop. An industrial site, I’d wanted an excuse to visit each time I’d passed previously. This time it was filled with vintage cars, of all colours, glistening in the sun. Some kind of car meet, and some kind of reason for me to be on the land without tresspassing. Sign me up. A quick U-turn and we were there.

Sonny loves cars, but other than the freedom of travel, I personally have nothing to offer on a conversation about vehicles, but this collection caught my attention. Scattered americana, long, (very long) cars, pick-ups, VW’s and rust buckets (some of my favourites). I flipped my capturing between colour and monochrome. The industrial, textural backdrop and huge beams of light, had a lot to offer, par that with the shine of the chrome, and pristinely cleaned, and my eye was away…

Hereafter, we found ourselves way out of town, towards Fakenham, on a walk through the country. The industrial side to my diary down this way was long gone, but the hazy light started to give a different feel. Feeling playful, I tried to capture a form of movement, a childlike POV almost. Over and around a long line of hay-bales, past field upon field, in close proximity to the buzz of an electric fence, we walked.

Looking over my final selection, and there’s a carefree air to detail. A definite slow pace, perfect for the Sunday air.

Follow my Foto-Diary.

*LIMITED EDITION* Movie Soundtrack

Coinciding with our London Short Film Festival screening this week - weve got a surprise announcement… Up for grabs, is an extremely limited run of yellow cassette tapes of the official soundtrack to “Two tickets, please?”

The cassettes have been produced as a collector’s item, in bespoke yellow coating, plastic transparent casing, and include the film’s hand painted artwork and hidden movie-stills.

Experience the audible world of “Two tickets, please?”, with 4 full length track-listing, and a montage of sound-bites from the film itself.

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Track 1. ITS FUN TO EAT
Track 2. SCREEN ONE
Track 3. FLUORESCENT PINK
Track 4. LIFE ISNT A MOVIE

“Two tickets, please?” is a short film by Emmaalouise Smith. Starring Simon Pritchard and Georgia Williams. the soundtrack, written and recorded by Brandon Jacobs, is the perfect accompaniment to the film. With a strong essence of analogue aesthetics, the cassette is the perfect format to present the film world.

Dig out the cassette player of your past, and take a trip to the movies.

£10. CLICK HERE TO BUY

Both UK and Worldwide shipping available
*RELEASED JANUARY 2019.

Buy direct from our Etsy shop (LINK BELOW) or email emmaalouise@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/658246064/two-tickets-please-official-soundtrack?ref=shop_home_active_1

Live on air - BBC Radio Norfolk - 11.01.19

I found myself over at the BBC Radio Norfolk studio on Friday night to do a little plug for the film festival release this Thursday. I spoke on the Sophie Little Show, and took my trusty sound recordist along for the ride.

You can hear the interview on catchup until the end of the month.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06vg66y

And the film itself, “Two tickets, please?” will be showing at the Rich Mix, London on Thursday 17th at 6:30pm.

BBC Voices. Dibs McCallum: On Photography

Dibs McCallum. On photography. Norfolk on Film. October 2018.

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The first of my Norfolk on Film features for BBC Voices is a special one. Beginning with the photography artform, Dibs McCallum On Photography explores the adventurous side of the medium, straight from the photographer's mouth. As well as the visual recount, I've generated a strong focus on the audible; the film works as a soundscape for radio, and will aire on the brand new Sophie Little Show as a regular feature on Radio Norfolk.

I've got to know Dibs for the past few years since undergoing and graduating from our subsequent Masters Degrees. Working alongside Dibs under the safety of studenthood was a great experience, I'd been aware of his work for some time and it's been a huge insight to follow up with a direct study into his personal journey into photography. Dibs is a photographer at heart, it's not just a job for him, it's a lifestyle. Frequently emerging with the break of dawn, seeking the perfect shot, the solitude of the lone photographer on the Norfolk coast. The adventurer within him seeps out of his imagery, there is a loneliness, an eeriness, boosted by the lack of people in his work, and that was my starting point to my study.

Predominantly a landscape photographer, with a focus on the night, long exposure and storytelling, he's an avid shooter. I managed to catch him between schedules, the day before his latest trip. It's obvious to me that this is a guy who loves to work on the field, and I feel his excitement. We met for an interview at his studio, without much prompting, Dibs freewheels his love of image making, expressing a deep-rooted love for the medium, as well as promoting his mentorship of local aspiring image-makers. I was keen to see him at work, so we planned an impromptu to a forest location just out of town.  

 It's half term, and we both have excitable children to fit into our unstoppable working lives. The kids come along, and we make the most of the photo-walk. A photographer myself, I'm always keen to watch other's at work, there is nothing greater than conversing between the spark of creativity. The natural light in early autumn is as stimulating as any, sunbeams fill the path in front of us, and it's not long until Dib's whips out his tripod and camera, complete with a quick filter change and he's off, his workflow has clearly been refined over the years.

As the observer, I cannot help but imagine Dibs out alone, in the wild at all , and that’s the stance I take on the interview itself. Thinking about photography as adventure, as an exploration into the outside world, it’s about storytelling.

To view more of Dibs’ work visit: www.dibsphotography.com

The soundscape for Dibs McCallum: On Photography will aire on Radio Norfolk between 7:00-10PM on Friday 16th November 2018, and the full film will be available to stream shortly after. 

Lets hit the road

There’s definitely something to be said for the road trip, the journey, of making the effort to see a band play, leaving town, heading to the city, whatever. It’s been a pretty full on week; Saturday morning I have a photoshoot first thing, and work through the day, but the idea of getting home, sifting through my erupting wardrobe in the hope of finding the ‘right’ dress, just pulls me right out of exhaustion. I opted for the drive out, 100 miles or so, Norwich-to-Hackney - the destination, right across the street from the flat which pushed us out of the city in the first place.

My first foray into photography was probably with the buzz of live photography, gigs. I lived in Dereham, and used to get the bus to Norwich to catch whoever was playing in the area. This was 2005-7 when the touring circuit ran straight through the city, whether it was the Arts Centre, The Waterfront, or the UEA… Certainly days gone by, these venues are a ghost of what they once were, and it’s not the nostalgia talking.

I’d often go out with just a disposable camera, a lot of these venues didnt have barriers up to guard the stage at this time so everyone used to get pretty stuck in. And theres me, at about 16 or 17 years old, terrified of getting my new (passed down) 35mm cam broken, so I stuck it out with the one-use, and learnt a lot. Gig photography, even back then, had started to get pretty clinical, and the disposable meant I could get close to the action, and catch what the gig is meant to be about.

I remember one time, after a show, I think it was at The Waterfront, and Carl Barat said my camera was cool. It’s really fucking ironic, because it wasn’t cool at all, I was even embarrassed by it and used to hide the casing - it was a Tesco Value disposable camera. About 4 quid if I remember, and I got it because i’m a cheap-skate.

I learnt a lot about capturing people at these events. I’d only shoot if I felt I should, to catch something I’d otherwise be missing. This feeling of missing out plagued my teenage self - living in Dereham meant I had to race for the last bus home. Or miss the bus and have to call my parents, which wasn’t going to happen. These were the days of myspace, and I’d often share aire-time with professional photographers, and this bolshyness, I’ve never let go, the need for getting the shot I want and being happy with it. I’ve never competed against another photographers’ space at an event, I work with what I’ve got, and if I’ve got a shitty space or viewpoint, I’ll work with it and do something about it. I’ve been in photo-pits, press areas with established photographers, DSLR’s and lenses coming out of their arse, and I’ve never been afraid to stick to my guns. And I can’t talk for myself, but my scratchy, dust-filled negatives rival the pro’s pristine gel-lit images any day.

I shot gigs for a few years, for the fun and feel of it really. And it was fucking great practise. I still get excited about the disposable as a format, but I’ve moved through a lot over the years. Mainly film, but there was a time leading up to about 2010 where I was moving around a lot, and I used to use my Canon 400D for most of my work. Years of events capture, off the cuff, and last night my first out of hours with the XT-3.

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This is the first night Brandon and I have been out together probably all year, and the 100 mile trip to the old stomping ground was exciting. The drive down was eventful, and we set out to have a good time. This was the first time I’d seen Girls In Synthesis, I’ve known John as long as I’ve known Brandon and if you’re going to travel to watch a band youve got to go big. This was their first headline show at Cave Club, at the Moth Bar in Hackney. The crowd were in it, and so were the Fuji and I. The cool thing about this band is, theyre not annoying. I’m fed up of being annoyed by bands. But these guys get stuck in. Mics in the crowd one-song-in and a female-drummer not screaming her female entitlement through the roof. Getting on with it. The attitude is what makes this band work, and the live show pulls a punch.

Photographing a gig, is about whats beyond the stage, it breaks up the forward facing rule of performer and voyeur. My night shooting has almost dispersed, but each time it brings back some kind of auto-pilot excitement, a need. The XT3 is a dream, I didn’t over shoot, my final selection is close to 2 rolls of film, and thats very much how I weigh up a story. I shot some portraits, got in close, and then stood back. The whole night is very much a story of getting out, the importance of the road trip. I could have had a great time at home watching Netflix, but the 200 miles on tarmac has my full attention.


Follow my Foto-Diary.

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Disrepair

Urban exploration (often shortened as UE, urbex and sometimes known as roof-and-tunnel hacking) is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment.”


Call it what you want, I just really like abandoned spaces. Derelict, textural, decay. The thrill of finding something, and setting out to seek it in the first place. It’s Monday, the day before my Son’s seventh birthday, I crammed my morning with last minute birthday planning and just felt the itch of getting out with the camera for a few hours before the school pickup. Feeling kind of on edge due to the time restraint, and realising i needed to fill the car with petrol, I knew I couldn’t go too far… I remembered a site I’d tried finding earlier in the year; a failed attempt, on a much colder day than today. I was excited to catch some of this newly restored autumn sunlight, and had done my research this time (looked at a satellite view of the landscape on Google Earth - and I was sure I knew where to go).

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I met a dead-end fairly early on. Although autumn has begun, the heathers and deep undergrowth created too much of a barrier for me to pass, I carried on (in the hope it would ease up) and found a clearing. A twenty minute walk in, and I started to spot some vehicle remains, and I knew I was on the right track. Piles of tyres of all sizes randomly piled in the woodlands, the shine of metal glistening in the distance, and cars of all ages, in pieces were just dotted around, sunken into the mud. Nature has well and truly taken over the entire site, I’m not sure exactly how long the yard and adjoining house has been disused, but there was a decaying calendar in one room with 1995 still poignantly hanging strong. I was drawn to the abandoned house, an eerie spectacle of urbex is the loss of human life, no one ever really knows what’s gone by, and in the current state, all you can think of is sadness… Whereas, a lot of the time, these places were probably happy homes. I found children’s toys, a miniature racing car wheelie, a bicycle, all scattered amongst the debris. There’s the unspoken urban explorer rule - “Do not touch”, and I’m not an idiot. I didn’t climb around in the house too much, the ceiling was caving in, and there wasn’t much left of the roof, but odd materials, leaving an outline of what would have been.

The mix of time is what interests me most, there are vans and vehicles pre-1960, with hand painted lettering, and vintage colours rusting away. The buses were an exciting addition, I’d seen a photograph from another explorer online, and really hoped to find it. I was almost ready to head home, I’d been out nearly 2 hours and captured enought, but I kept finding myself venturing further and further into the woods, finding more and more, when I found the bus I wanted. I climbed on board, stepping on metal structures, as the rest (for the most part) was clearly going to cave in.

My images and coinciding video story, all show the sense of colour I focussed on during the trip. The brightness blooms against the dreary woodland setting. A bright yellow race-car, pops right out of a fallen-in garage, while a red Royal Navy truck peeks from behind a wall. Looking into the front cab of a removal lorry, I was surprised by a pastel blue interior, with contrasting green seats (I couldn’t dream this stuff sometimes). And all of which is farily pinned down with the growth of branches, like strong cables- undergrowth gone wild, and a battle that nature is very much winning.

All the enclosed stills, and video was shot on the XT-3, my first real test with the kit. And my first time in quite a long while where I’ve solely focussed on one camera (other than a bag of formats!). The kit is so lightweight, it was effortless transporting around the space, where at times I was on my hands and knees. I shot freely, without a tripod for the entirety. I used the kit lens for the story, and where I’d love to add extra depth on some of the ECU shots, I didn’t feel I was massively lacking for what was mainly a trek in the woods, with no real agenda.