26 APRIL 2020 BOOK REVIEWS

My friends had decided to go wind surfing on Camlough Lake. Not seeing the appeal of windsurfing myself I chose instead to go for a hike on Camlough Mountain. Calling it a mountain flatters it somewhat; it’s more of a large hill rising to less than 1400 feet.

I can’t remember exactly when this was except that it was probably in the mid 1980s when Northern Ireland was still in the midst of what we euphemistically called ‘the troubles’ or sometimes ‘The Troubles’. Since Camlough was in South Armagh, an region known as ‘Bandit Country’…


A mucker is a mate or a friend. “All right mucker?” or should that be “alright mucker?” The etymology and origins are unclear with ‘mucker’ being described as both a Britishism and an Irishism. Since we in Northern Ireland have spend more than a few centuries disputing our Britishness or Irishness it seems a highly apposite word for us to use.

Toby Binder is German so even with a thorough grasp of English it seems unlikely that he would have come across ‘mucker’ before he started his long-term project photographing the lives of young people across the United Kingdom. …


My first roll from Bulgaria, these were shot on a pleasant summer day around Sofia. I used my Minolta XD and Ilford Delta 100. Granted, my experience with film is still quite limited but the Delta films I’ve tried, both this and the 400, are my favourite black and white films.

The first two shots are taken by the Sofia City Museum, formerly the city’s public bathhouse. The small square in front of the museum is a popular spot for people taking a break and a great place for people watching — and photographing.


I recently picked up the Nikon AI-S 105mm f2.5 lens. I attached it to my FM2n and over the last couple of weeks I have been out and about around Sofia shooting with it. I got the developed film back yesterday and scanned the negatives last night. So here are some thoughts on the lens and some sample shots.

First, the lens itself. Having already bought a 24, 35 and 50 for my Nikon I was looking for something a little longer for occasional use. The obvious option was one of the various AI or AI-S 85mm lens but for…


Last year while exploring the new to me world of 1970s rangefinders I regularly came across enthusiastic endorsements of the Yashica Electro 35 in its various iterations. That general enthusiasm was reflected in the prices of these cameras which sold for considerably more that I wanted to pay. While browsing Used Photo Pro one day I came across a Yashica MG-1. It looked like an Electro 35 and even had the distinctive Electro badge but it did not carry the Electro name. It was also in my price range at, as I recall, $22.


The Bulgarian Communist Party, demonstrating that relentless lack of imagination that seems common to communist parties everywhere, erected a massive statue of Lenin in the centre of Sofia. Following the collapse of the regime this Lenin went the way of many others and disappeared in 1991. Nine years later Lenin’s spot was taken by this eight metre tall statue atop a sixteen metre column.


The Alexander Nevsky cathedral is the seat of the Patriarch of Bulgaria. The cathedral is relatively new, built between 1882 and 1912, with most of the work taking place after 1904, and consecrated in 1924. Alexander Nevsky was a noted 13th century ruler of Russia who was canonised by the Orthodox church in the 16th century.

Naming the Patriarch’s cathedral after a Russian saint might seem strange, and for a brief period the cathedral was named for saints Cyril and Methodius, the two most revered saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox church. The Russian connection derives from the cathedral’s origins as…


My recent visit to London coincided with lots of photography exhibitions, many of which were of interest. I managed to fit in eight during the five days there. I started with Martin Parr at the Tate Modern. This is a small exhibition focusing on a number of his classic images but still well worth seeing.

At The Photographers Gallery there were three shows: Alex Prager, a photographer I had not previously heard of and whose work left me underwhelmed; Tish Murtagh, another new to me photographer whose politically charged images of British urban life in the 70s and 80s were…


Roll eight was affected by my scanner problems so I’m holding off on posting images from that roll until I have my scanner back and can re-do the negatives (which are travelling to Bulgaria by ship so it might be a while.)

In the meantime here are a few shots from roll nine. These were taken with my Konica Auto S3 and this was the first time I had taken it out since I had it serviced. This was also my first time using Kodak Ektar. It’s a nice film and compared to the Lomo Colour 100 I used a…


Yes, you read that right. This is not a miscount. These are pictures from roll 3 taken, if I recall correctly, in November 2017 just after what the US calls Veterans Day and what I know as Armistice Day. For various reasons, some of which now escape me, I held off on getting this roll developed and then more or less forgot about it. I came across it again in a drawer while getting ready for the next move and, having already packed up my scanner, finally sent it off for developing and scanning.

The pictures were taken at Arlington…

Olli Thomson

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