film photography · Film Photography Community

A Snapshot of the Film Community – A Conversation with Peggy Marsh

Today I am going to interview a fellow camera lover from across the pond, Peggy Marsh. You may already know her from her camera review blog Camera Go Camera where she reviews many, many vintage cameras with a lot forethought and a little bit of humor.

Hi Peggy, thanks for joining me for this interview. Please introduce yourself to my readers and give us a little of your background outside of film.

PM: Hi, my name is Peggy and I run the website. But for a job I am a little person teacher. Right now I am a helper for a little boy who needs extra help.

That’s really nice. Have you found that your background as a teacher has influenced your reviews in any way?

PM: Yeap, when I started I knew a few of my students read them so I kept the language fairly clean, less technical…adding links to places to find them…and quite short. Hopefully easy to read.
More emphasis on the photos and the cameras than tech.

Photo by Peggy Marsh
Photo by Peggy Marsh

When did you first start to shoot with film and what was your gateway?

PM: I am old 🙂 so I started because there was no other choice. Then digital came in and I swapped. Finally, when I was living in Japan, film was in my local shop and cameras were very cheap so I thought I would try one….but there is another story too.

My friend in Japan had a Nikon Fe and he showed me. I loved the sound and I remembered how much I liked it. So then I bought one to try. Just as I got that first one, my mum got really sick and I had to return from Japan. I took the camera with me and played with it while I was with her in the hospice. It kept my mind on other things.

I’m sorry to hear that. Film photography really is great therapy. I know it has been for me as well.

PM: It was five years ago and I decided to use film for a year after, then until I got to 100 cameras…they were easy and cheap to find back in Japan. Then I just kept going as I liked them so much.

Photo by Peggy Marsh
Photo by Peggy Marsh

You have traveled to many places in the world. Please tell us about that. Which place was the most photogenic and did any place pose any unique issues when shooting film?

PM: To be fair I only really used film in Japan, Iceland, and the UK. I started at the end of my travelling. Now I am back in the UK and in covid times there isn’t much travelling.

Japan was amazingly easy for film as there are many places to buy it and get it developed. The colours there are so vibrant, the reds and golds of the the autumn and spring colours. Amazing.

Iceland is the opposite, dark and brooding, perfect for monochrome. I went in my experience is from then..maybe summer is warm and fluffy 🙂

Yea I have seen a lot of people’s travels with film to Iceland on Youtube. I think I couldn’t handle the cold lol.

PM: My house in the UK doesn’t have central heating so in Iceland I was walking around in a t-shirt while my Aussie friend was wrapped up in blankets. Maybe I am part Canadian. 🙂

LOL you’re used to it then.

PM: No wrong weather only wrong clothes.

That’s true.

Photo by Peggy Marsh
Photo by Peggy Marsh

You have reviewed a ton of cameras on your website. How do you choose which camera you want to review?

PM: In Japan, I hunted the junk bins in second hand stores…so whatever I found in there. Since being back in the UK it is more tricky. I don’t buy so many now, I look on eBay and Facebook marketplace. Whatever is cheap..that’s how I choose. Sometimes I have a camera in mind and I wait to find one at a good price. Usually I have read about it somewhere or seen it in Instagram. Sometimes I am given them by readers or friends.
So no rules or anything. Just whatever is around.

Which cameras stand out in your mind as the most frustrating and as the best experience?

PM: The most frustrating is the Nikon pronea. I have never had one that works. They are just utter crap to be not so polite.
The best is the latest one that works….so right now a Yashica 44 which I took out today for the first time.

That’s a beauty.

PM: I made a list of my favourites, but I am like a kid in a sweet shop oooh this one is nice, no this one is nice…ohh but that one is red!!

I’m the same way.

I know personally, as someone who reviews cameras, that the gear talk can overtake the time you need to focus on the art aspect of film photography. How have you managed doing your reviews while at the same time not letting it burn out your artistic side?

PM: I definitely do burn out, especially when I have no money. Film is expensive. Plus right now I really want people to photograph as I am constantly doing tree shots..but that has its own issues at the moment.

PM: I tend to do realistic photos, without much artistic thought before hand. I want to do more “arty” stuff next year..that is the plan.

Yup. Same for me. I have photographed the tree in my yard so much you can slowly see it growing in my photos lol.

PM: Art is different for everyone. Just by using film it seems to be classed as art. I think it is more than that.

Photo by Peggy Marsh
Photo by Peggy Marsh

What advice would you give to other film nerds like us out there who want to start their own blog about film cameras and photography?

PM: I started it as a way to catalogue my cameras and the places I visited. I wrote it for me. I still write it for me and am often surprised when I get comments from readers…oh someone reads it. That is why I keep the hits counter in the a reminder. So my advice would be write for yourself and the enjoyment comes from there. You can’t please everyone, so write what you enjoy and you will always be happy.

Yes. Great advice.

I grew up as what they call a tom-boy. I didn’t like dresses and barbie dolls; I wanted the cars and sports cards so I struggled to fit it. Now as an adult I have found it isn’t much different. As women we tend to become used to being in a room full of men, so to speak. You have been in the community a little longer than I have, and I know the film community as a whole is very generous and kind, but it is still overwhelmingly male.

How have you found being in a room with mostly men so to speak? Have you had any challenges being heard and taken seriously?

PM: As I said before I tend to stay away from being technical on the blog as that seems to be where issues come from…no the lens had 7 blades not 5…I think you will find the battery is a CR2 not a CR123 blah blah. I appreciate corrections though, and I take them on board.
When I meet in film groups I have have found nothing but generosity and kindness. The stuff I mentioned above is very rare.

Yea the correction stuff sort of comes with the online territory.

PM: I am quite relaxed and don’t take things personally. In that regard. I think being around a bit longer might have helped. But generally everyone, male and female have been great.

That’s really good. I like to bring attention to it, and of course I’ve been trying to interview more women to show we are out there. It’s not a huge issue, but it is definitely something I experience almost daily.

PM: In the film group info walking with..when we could..there always seemed to be other women. Do you think it is an older generation issue??


Photo by Peggy Marsh
Photo by Peggy Marsh

Well thanks again Peggy. This was fun. Before we go is there any upcoming projects you’d like us to keep an eye out for?

PM: I am very much a spur of the moment thing so I rarely plan in advance. So that is a tough question. Right now I am trying to do a Konica Kristmas…but now I have the Yashica 44 🙂 next year I want to do a one camera a month challenge…but I have too many cameras to choose from. So no..nothing specific from me 🙂

Ok. Well you still have zines for sale I will link. I have purchased a couple myself. I look forward to whatever you bring next year.

PM: Thanks for that. I am sure I will make some English based ones next year…maybe based on fish and chips 🙂 or tea 🙂 Ooh now there are a couple of ideas already.

If you love film and vintage cameras, I highly recommend you visit Peggy’s website. If there is an obscure camera you need info on, chances are she has reviewed it. Check out her Zines for sale here.

Let me know in the comments if you’re enjoying this series. I hope to soon be able to interview the community face to face on my YouTube channel. Until then I hope you’re enjoying these.

If you would like to help me out with the cost of film, developing chemicals, and the upkeep of this website, please consider making a small donation. If you would rather purchase one of my zines, that would also help. Either way, I hope you have enjoyed my articles so far, and will sign up to get my blog in your inbox as I post them.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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