REEL ROCK 13 - Big Screen Sends and Stories
The Reel Rock Film Tour is returning to the UK and Ireland bringing a collection of climbing's greatest stories, stars and sends to the big screen!
The Climbers by Jim Herrington has become a phenomenon since its release this autumn (digital feature here on UKC from November 2017). The book has gone on to become the pick of Good Morning America on ABC, receive many favourable reviews including the Wall Street Journal and feature interviews for example the BBC World service and National Public Radio in the US.
And since then, what was it like for Jim to come face to face with the UK scene in the encounters documented in this book? "The whole British scene is fantastic, a lot more laughs and a lot more drinking and storytelling; always story telling. I was very happy to spend a day with Joe Brown at his house in Wales. He and his wife are wonderful and he's one of the ones that I most wanted in the book. I loved seeing North Wales too, and Snowdonia which I've heard so much about. Too bad Don Whillans died before I started this project, I would have wanted him for sure, especially since he was such a Jerry Lee Lewis fan.
"Doug Scott was obviously another important one to get. He kindly treated me to a lunch at the Royal Geographic Society and gave me a little tour before we did photos in the beautiful old map room there. He looks so regal and respectable now… in the old photos he looks like John Lennon during his "Lost Weekend" phase. And what can you say about Chris Bonington that hasn't been said? Well, I can say: I'd love to go through the thousands of Kodachrome slide from his many expeditions that I saw in his office closet. What a force he was, not only for the climbs themselves but the logistics and promotion required that he was such a master of. Martin Boysen, the incredibly talented underdog whose name pops up everywhere, on so many climbs in so many regions. I spent some time with he and his wife Maggie, they're great, funny, entertaining people to be around. Gwen Moffat, I want to be her next door neighbour. I spent a day at Hamish MacInnes's house in Glencoe, Scotland. He has Sean Connery stories, top that!"
Eschewing digital photography entirely throughout the project, Jim stuck to what he knows and loves to get the most out of his subjects: film photography processed using silver nitrate.
"I like the look of film and I also like the process of taking photographs with film cameras. It's not a "vintage" thing for me, it's just what I've used since I started taking pictures." he explains. "I still shoot film on almost all of my personal work and for the clients who request it on commercial jobs. People sometimes look at you like you're riding a mule down Main Street when you use a film camera these days. It's just my preferred tool. Like one guy might use watercolours and another might use oil paint - there's no better or worse, just a preference. As for B&W, I like it because it's less literal.
"It starts with one picture, I start these projects very naively I start shooting stuff and I realise maybe I have something going, maybe there's a series… I guess it is an obsession, because nobody would continue this otherwise!"
Jim is appearing at the Alpine Club in London 10th April and Sheffield Hallam University 16th April.