The Big Film Photowalk 2024: What Went Down

By Paul McKay

Saturday 29th June was the inaugural Big Film Photowalk - and it was brilliant!

The idea for the Big Film Photowalk was to bring together film photographers across the country to celebrate our analogue adventures - similar to how Record Story Day pulls together the vinyl industry each year.

In total more than 800 film photographers came together in 39 different locations, and shot more than 20,000 film photos in the course of the afternoon! Let's have a look at how it happened.

 


 

Locations and logistics

 

Analogue Wonderland staff, ambassadors, and community members from around the country stepped forward to lead the Photowalks in different locations - from Margate to Manchester, City of Armagh to Fraserburgh, and Blackpool to Brighton. We even had an online event for folks who weren't able to physically join any of the walks.

We had some wonderful support in the endeavour from Ricoh-Pentax (fresh from the Pentax 17 film camera launch) and Kodak Film (who donated rolls of Kodak Gold 35mm film to the photowalk attendees).

 

Josh on the Big Film Photowalk

Josh from Intrepid Cameras ready to go in Brighton and Hove!

 

There were also some independently-organised events held by film community stalwarts - such as Nik and Trick in Folkestone - to help amplify the day beyond the Photowalks and involve even more folk.

Every ticket holder got a roll of Kodak Gold 35mm, free developing of that roll from our film lab, and exclusive entry into a photo competition with a chance to win a Pentax 17 film camera 🏆

 


 

Group shots

 

One of my favourite parts of the day was receiving the first group shots from the leaders as folks started to gather. Seeing the wonderful range of analogue photographers - and the nervous excitement as they began the day - was such a treat.

Group photo in Bristol on Big Film Photowalk

Group photo on the beach on Big Film Photowalk

Group photo in a pub garden on Big Film Photowalk

group photo on margate film photowalk

 


 

Extra activities

 

Many of the walks started in local film businesses - labs, classrooms, darkrooms, shops - and so the leaders could integrate some extra activities for their attendees. I saw that some folks enjoyed a 'show and tell' from Pentax about their new camera; others had lessons in home developing, a quick guide on composition and exposure triangle, or even studio shoots before heading out!

 

Talking about the Pentax 17 film camera before a film photowalk

Home developing on the Big Film Photowalk

Doing some teaching on the Big Film Photowalk

 


 

On the walk

 

Social media quickly filled with 'behind the scenes' shots of film photographers exploring and inevitably gravitating towards the things that will always attract our attention (and cameras!) On the South Bank walk that I lead, that thing was a beautiful classic red Ferrari 😂

 

 

But elsewhere I saw selfies in mirrors, portraits in front of rivers, shots of all the cameras on a table, arty coffees and so much more!

Even more importantly I saw lots and lots of smiles as folks made friends - shared tips - experimented - and supported each other in creative adventures.

 

The Big Film Photowalk - thumbs up

Thumbs up for supporting film photographers 🫶🏼

 


 

The first results

 

Our film lab was primed and ready for 20,000 film frames needing to be developed, scanned, edited, and returned to the photographers.

We're deep into that work as I write this article - and the earliest results are already heading out into the world. Photos below (c) Paul McKay or Karen Freer, but you can search #TheBigFilmPhotowalk on Instagram to see many more!

Photo from London Big Film Photowalk

Photo from London Pride Big Film Photowalk

Photo from London Big Film Photowalk - buildings on south bank

Photo from London Big Film Photowalk - portrait on street

Photo from London Pride Big Film Photowalk

Photo from London Big Film Photowalk - man looking over the Thames

If you were one of the attendees then remember to check your emails for the link to enter the exclusive photo competition! And if you used the roll of Gold you can also enter the Kodak Summer competition

 


 

Thank yous

 

The Big Film Photowalk would not have been possible without an army of passionate community members around the country making it happen. Hosting a photowalk is not an easy thing to do, and they were brilliant.

The Photowalk Leaders were immense, representing themselves or local film businesses including: LondonCameraProject, Londonaltphoto, @emerzycorbin, Sunny16 Podcast, Londonaltphoto, Folk House Darkroom, @danrubin, Leicester Lo-Fi Darkroom, ForsterPhotographic, CameraGoCamera, TheGladSatsuma, LittleVintagePhotography, SeekDiscoverConnect, Intrepid Cameras, Tom Bob Warland Photography, Stills Gallery, Solarcan, Lux Darkroom, Hazlehurst Studios, sgsphotography, @blumenkron, youtube.com/clickbait, 35mmc, @amberrosephoto, @wanders.with.camera, @darkartsessions, Shrewsbury Film Photography Club, @smit_julius, @analoguephotographystirling, www.the3rs.uk, Jamie Gray Photography, @nonstopgrain, @Pictishsnapper, @clerk.analogue, https://filmproductionacademy.com, Chris Dommett, and @finn_p85.

Thank you to CameraRescue and KameraStore for their camera and film raffle for ticketholders.

Our sponsors Pentax and Kodak bought into the idea when it was still a vague concept in my head, and allowed us to reach a ton more people than would otherwise have been possible. Thank you.

And finally the attendees themselves, who dived into the activities wholeheartedly ❤️ There were many people for whom this was the first ever photowalk - as well as many who are photowalk pros - and the mixing of diverse experiences, backgrounds and knowledge made for a particularly unique day. You are all responsible for making it such a fantastic success - thank you.

 


 

What's next?

 

Right now I need a nap! But there is already a groundswell of enthusiasm for doing another Big Film Photowalk...

We've learned a lot from this first event (hold it on Sunday to allow more local labs and shops to join in; simplify the admin process for attendees; involve local press from earlier so they can help promote the walks) and we're keen to roll the experience into making the next one even bigger and better.

So watch this space 😎

Please pop a comment below with any thoughts or ideas of your own - regardless of whether you were involved this time or not - we're open to all good ideas!


6 Comments

  • I agree with David Joyce. I too own a 35mm camera but currently I’m specifically getting used to using a couple of medium format cameras. I felt somewhat excluded because of my preferred format. And yes I agree with his comments about a slower pace being helpful. Therefore let’s see a wider range of film choice please as like David I should love to share and learn from other medium format enthusiasts.

    Nick Ruskin
  • I agree with David Joyce. I too own a 35mm camera but currently I’m specifically getting used to using a couple of medium format cameras. I felt somewhat excluded because of my preferred format. And yes I agree with his comments about a slower pace being helpful. Therefore let’s see a wider range of film choice please as like David I should love to share and learn from other medium format enthusiasts.

    Nick Ruskin
  • I was so excited when I heard you were doing this … Then so so gutted when I saw the date, one of the few weekends I already had plans!

    Early sight of the date next year would be great… Then I can tell people they have 51 weekend I’m free 😂

    Dave
  • I attended one of the walks. It was a fantastic experience and I’m really looking forward to doing another walk in a different location. If I could improve on one thing it would be to have the film already “booked in” with an order number BEFORE the walk is started. That way it’s less stressful or difficult to achieve – always hard when you have limited time at the end of the walk as well as a bad phone signal! Hope that helps. Thank you. C

    COLIN HOSKINS
  • Wasn’t able to make this years but would love it to happen again.

    Richard Himan
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