Interview: James Ruff

Our next interview is with James Ruff.

inside an abandoned house
inside an abandoned house, Ricoh GR1s by James Ruff

how long have you been shooting film?
I suppose I am a relative newcomer to the world of film, it was only maybe 2 or so years ago that I decided to dabble in film, and ‘see what its all about’…

After getting my first few rolls back from the lab, I was hooked and I haven’t looked back. I have slowly built up a camera collection ranging from polaroid to 35mm, medium format (6×6/6×7) and large format (4×5).

I enjoy developing my own b&w, and I need to start doing my own colour. Not living in Melbourne makes it hard, as well as expensive to get film developed.

Mordialloc Beach
Mordialloc Beach, Kodak E100VS / Hasselblad 500CM by James Ruff

do you prefer colour or black & white? do you have a favourite film, camera or technique you like to work with?

Both have their place in my cameras.
I like b&w for its simplicity and forgiveness with exposure and development. B&W is great for making details in subjects stand out, sometimes the little things get lost in colour.

When it comes to using colour, I love slide films, such as Fuji Velvia and Provia, such rich and vibrant colours, and I love holding a processed sheet or roll up to a light, and being able to see the image.
My favorite film and camera combo so far is my 4×5 and Shanghai 100 sheet film.

show us one of your favourite shots and tell us a bit about it – how did you take it? is there a story behind it?

halfmoonmountain, Crown Graphic 4×5, Shanghai GP3 100, Schneider 150mm lens, red filter by James Ruff

I was driving along a windy, mountain road on the way out to Licola (east Gippsland), and I caught a glimpse of the rocks protruding from the face of the mountain, with a clear blue sky as a background and to top it all off, a half moon was sitting just above.

My thoughts soon shifted to, ‘where can I park!’, the road was quite narrow, with no shoulder, so I kept driving, with my attention divided between watching where I was going and staring at the mountain.

Soon enough I found a spot to pull over, and I parked the car, grabbed my cameras and was on a mission to find a spot to set up.

About a hundred or so meters up the road I found a good view, but I had to head about 10 meters down an embankment, and this is where I got the following photo.

show us a favourite shot from the MSM pool. what do you enjoy in other peoples’ photos?

492 Hannah St

It’s hard to choose a favorite. here is one i like though.
There’s a lot of beauty in its simplicity.

question from the previous interviewee Emma Jay:
Who or what first inspired you to begin photography and what continues to inspire you to this day?

Around 2006 I bought my first digital camera, and at the time a few of my friends were into photography, so we used to go out shooting. so I guess I have them to thank for that. I’m still very much inspired by friends and being a part of Rambler Collective ( and the MSM with members constantly coming up with awesome work and putting on shows makes me want to work harder and come up with better work.

Flinders Underpass, Minolta HiMatic 7sii, Kodak BW400CN by James Ruff

please give us a question to ask the next person.

Are you happy with where your photography is heading? if not, what would you like to change?

Thank you James, and you can find more of his work here:

The Early Days:

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Jacqueline van Zetten • January 30, 2013

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