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Stewart Weir – For The Love.

Stewart Weir - For The Love.

 

Introducing Stewart Weir, the first of twelve winners from our ‘For the Love’ competition with Kodak.

Weir is a self taught photographer from Brighton, UK whose ‘just do it’ attitude and striking compositions have landed his work in such publications as National Geographic Traveller, Vogue, Esquire and The Times to name just a few.

At first, amongst an initial overwhelming response to the competition, in all honesty we overlooked Weir’s photograph, but in the days and weeks that followed the image stuck in our minds eye’s and we were unable to shake it off. Upon second viewing we started to understand why, for such a raw image with such raw implication it’s peaceful, it’s bold yet sensitive, something we feel is perfectly reflected in the tone. It’s the classic photographic paradox of finding beauty amongst despair, and although this photograph represents homelessness in Tokyo, its one that would hang in many homes around the planet.

 

Photographs of this nature may be presumed by some to be insensitive, but for us awareness is one of the most humane qualities a photographer can bring to the table and Stewart Weir had done just that.

 

We caught up with Weir to find out more about his winning image, love of film and what’s next in his already striking body of work…

 

 

Stewart Weir
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 To enter “For the Love” competition please click here. 

 

 

What's the story behind your winning image?

Stewart Weir

I was in Japan shooting the 2002 football world cup and this was shot during an off day. I was walking through Ueno Park and was more than a little surprised about the number of homeless. This elderly man was fast asleep shielding himself from the sun. I was using a Leica M6 which is near silent so I was able to get close.

Herat © Stewart Weir

What's your preferred set up?

Stewart Weir

It always depends on what I'm shooting and what end result I'm looking for. Weight of gear is also a major consideration if you have ever walked a few miles with a large format set up! Walking the streets a Leica M camera with either a 28mm or 35mm lens is perfect for me. I also love the old Rolleiflex 3.5f medium format cameras. I've recently begun shooting with 5x4 sheet film because of the restrictions it imposes which is making me work harder for the image. In terms of film If it's BW I choose either Ilford's HP5 or occasionally Kodak's Tri X. For colour work it's always Kodak Porta 400.

Where do you find inspiration as a photographer?

Stewart Weir

I have no idea to be honest! The more I try to find a project the less obvious it becomes so I guess I have a severe version of writers block. The Tokyo series developed by itself with a series of people sleeping in a very noisy and busy city and so the Sleeping City series began. Inspiration is such a personal concept but for me it's always been an evolution of a scenario I'm in that develops into a longer term project. I'm starting on 2 projects now and continue a long term project about English woodlands (since 2010).

Tokyo 1 © Stewart Weir

Why photography?

Stewart Weir

I guess we are the visually literate? I get a legal high when I see a potential image in front of me and turn it into a slice of history. Capturing that split second when everything comes together to make visual sense to myself and others makes us all historians and 'humanity' commentators.

Digital or Analogue?

Stewart Weir

Analogue, but in the real commercial world it has to be digital. Digital to me is like eating a Big Mac.. fast and not very gratifying. Analogue is a deeper connection and feels like it really has a soul.

Herat © Stewart Weir

How would you define your approach?

Stewart Weir

Organic and non judgemental. For a project series I feel the journey is more important than the end result. Get the journey right and the end always looks after itself.

What's your favourite film and why?

Stewart Weir

Ilford HP5. I have used it for so long its been like a very long marriage! I think that's the key to using film.. get to know it's quirks and it will reward you.

Brighton Beach © Stewart Weir

Which lab do you use?

Stewart Weir

I develop and scan my own film.

What's the most important piece of advice you can give to future photographers?

Stewart Weir

Shoot only film with one prime lens for 6 months..

Acton © Stewart Weir

What's next?

Stewart Weir

Two projects.. the first is about Brexit and the second is to photograph football fans from a project I shot in 1995-97.

Why Film?

Stewart Weir

Because it requires far more creative effort and thinking than shooting digital (which in my opinion is far to easy). Film is a challenge, and I love a challenge.

Raval © Stewart Weir

T-Max or Tri-X!?!

Stewart Weir

Tri X

Pinhole © Stewart Weir

Updated:May 12, 2017