A man standing in front of a camera shop.

West Yorkshire Cameras Staff Interviews: Howard Parker

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Howard Parker, the head nerd of West Yorkshire Cameras. I’ve lived in Leeds all my life, apart from a very brief stint when going to University in Huddersfield - which is where I first started the shop. That may lead you to think that I’m the boss, but actually, the real boss is called Phoebe and she’s my beloved cat. As well as cats and cameras, I’m really into cars. I can usually be found beneath my 1985 Mercedes estate, removing all the rust. It’s getting there, slowly, but surely.

Ketchup on a table in black and white.

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4 - Ilford Delta 400.


How did you first get into photography?

I actually started with a digital camera, a Nikon D40. That camera was dreadful by today’s standards but it served as a gateway drug into photography. After that, I found Ken Rockwell’s website, where he preaches the virtues of the Nikon FE - so of course I had to try one. It was my first film camera. I shot a roll of Velvia 50 in there, staying on the Ken Rockwell theme. After that, I got an Agfa Record II from eBay which was my first medium-format camera. Don’t ask me to recall the ones after that - the camera collecting got a bit out of hand so it’s all a complete blur!

The side of a van in black and white

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4 - Ilford Delta 400.


What drew you to film specifically?

I’ve always been into old technology before I was interested in cameras. I used to buy and sell retro games consoles like the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis etc. on eBay whilst I was in school. Once I got into film cameras I realised how creative of a hobby it was, and all the processes that go with it - self-developing and especially darkroom printing (instead of scanning negatives) is amazing, I need to get back into that. I started getting interested in tinkering with cameras and lenses. If you can learn how to do basic repairs, it really helps to find some bargains. Over the years I have taken hundreds of cameras and lenses to bits in some respect to try and fix them. It’s a rewarding feeling and I learn something new every time.

The corner of a car in the snow, in black and white.

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4 - Ilford Delta 400. 


Tell us a bit about your style of photography, processes etc. 

It’s all about black and white photography, I very rarely shoot colour film, just because I much prefer composing a photo in black and white. It’s also cheaper, which helps a lot! As for the photos that I take, I tend not to have a project in mind. I live in town so wander about Leeds like an aimless NPC and photograph whatever catches my eye. My favourite time to photograph is either morning or evening when the direct sun is out. The light bounces around in the city centre, and people and buildings change constantly so it’s always slightly different to the last time - which keeps it fresh. Of course, going on holiday or being in a new place that's not familiar to me is always creatively stimulating too. Maybe I should start a project. I have several packs of 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 from the 1970’s which I need to do something with!

A winding path in the middle of the forest, in black and white.

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4 - Ilford Delta 400.



My Hasselblad 500C/M is my main camera, and has been for a long time. I find it compact enough to carry around, especially with a waist-level finder. The fact that it doesn’t take batteries means I can always rely on it. I love the quality of the images it produces, 6x6 format is visually stunning, but it’s also very convenient since I can swap film backs whenever I would want to switch my film stocks. I have the 120mm f/5.6 Macro lens, which has a relatively slow aperture, but it’s fine for me as I like to shoot when there’s plenty of light.

Second must be the Rolleiflex T - also square format. I like the T as it has a lot of the same features as the expensive F series Rolleis, but at a much lower cost.

I also have my Leica M3 - which I love but hardly take out - a Nikon F and a bunch of novelty cameras, like my Pingu camera, two Simpsons cameras, Pokémon camera and of course, a Blue Box Brownie with car spoiler glued on to add 50hp (go faster stripes are next).

A Hasselblad 500C/M Camera being held

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4



My favourite film stock is Ilford Delta 400. Compared to something similar like HP5 or Tri-X, I find it has a more manageable contrast overall as well as a finer grain structure. Maybe it’s just the way I develop, but I find that Delta 400 preserves the details a little better and you can add contrast in post.

As for developing, I develop film at home. I don’t deviate much from developing Delta 400 at home unless it’s something unusual. It’s usually Ilford DD-X at 1:9, followed by a stop, fix and long rinse.

A Selfie in a broken glass, in black and white.

Rolleiflex T2 - Ilford Delta 400.



My favourite thing about working at West Yorkshire Cameras is definitely all the weird and wonderful equipment that comes in. You never know when someone might just waltz in with a really interesting box full of stuff that we have the pleasure of digging through. I don’t mean expensive either, I just love looking at things I’ve never seen before! Every day we’re learning something new, especially with Adam, who has a knack for being able to place a lens on the specific year, or Mike, with his love of Kodak Retina IIs.

A collection of broken blinds, in black and white.

Rolleiflex T - Ilford Delta 400.



The shop has really shown me how to tell when people are genuinely interested in learning and creating something. You can tell they’re passionate when they’re asking questions, or seem genuinely interested in a camera, for example. It’s a really valuable quality to find in people. Photography is a skill you have to learn, work at, and be engaged and interested in. You’ve got to put in the time - all those fractions of a second add up!

A vintage car in a repair bay in black and white.

Hasselblad 500C/M with 120mm f/4 - Ilford Delta 400.

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