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27 Frames – Chris McClean

Welcome to our 27 Frames series. We sent 27 single use cameras out to some of our favorite photographers, they shot stuff with it, then mailed it back to us. We developed the film and are sharing the results with you (and the photographers) now. In this instant, digital age, we want to pay homage to a snapshot photo process we grew up with ourselves — waiting for the film to develop and being surprised by the results. These 27 Frames belong to Chris McClean.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Chris, a film maker/graphic designer from the UK. I live in the north east of England with my wife and two boys and have just spent the day painting floors in our new place.

How did you first get into photography?

First camera I remember was my mum’s with one of those cube shaped, disposable flash bulbs… I was about ten year old, wish I could find it again.

Film or digital?

Fuck that’s a hard one. If money, time and clients weren’t to be considered, then film. But then I’d be broke and unable to afford film. I love the grain and unexpected nature of film. 

When was the last time you used a single use (disposable) camera?

We used to buy the waterproof disposable cameras for trips when we first started traveling. Last one was I reckon around 2004 and it was on a trip to the Canaries where the right-hand point is in these shots funnily enough. 

What did you decide to shoot with your camera for this project?

I just wanted to take it with me all winter, but kept forgetting it or I was being overly precious with the shots — that’s the good thing about film, every shot counts. So there was no rhyme or reason to the shots, just a couple at a time. It came with me on trips to Ireland (two or three times), the Canaries, and a frosty solo gamble back home.

Did you have any interesting experiences along the way?

The whole experience was interesting. I definitely want to start taking my FM2 and a stack of film on more trips now.

What was the biggest challenge (if any) you had with the project?

Not being able to see what you’re shooting. Digital is so instantaneous, you forget how limiting film is. I have this weird underexposed bit on half the shots, and unforgivably my finger in the other half. Shocking stuff… but so rewarding seeing these shots printed.

What was your favorite image from the roll?

There’s a couple. Sancho trying to snap the creased board to fit it in the car, we scored hard and it was all off the bat. I was filming for a new project and that feeling when you know you have something special in the bag is hard to beat. And the epic line up of the left point from home – it’s so rare to see it like this and even rarer to have it with only a couple of guys out, smiles, hooting trading waves, t’was a fun day.

Check out more of Chris’s work here:

Chris McClean

Special thanks to Dexter’s Camera in Ventura for developing all of the film for the 27 Frames project. If you are a photographer who loves film and have never visited their shop, go there now, they’re the best.

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