What is the best experience you have had shooting so far?
Having never been to a concert or music festival before, shooting them has been great. I like music. It has led me down some interesting pathways that I might not have gone down without it.
Travelling to new places is nice too. I had only discovered Coogee this year! Been back there at least seven times since.
Winning some competitions and shooting/meeting some ‘famous’ artists has also been really cool.
Photographically, some of my biggest cringe moments have ended up being great experiences. This includes plodding along with a tripod for almost the entire first year that I started taking photos. Weirdly, for some pedantic reason, it took me ages to start playing the ISO properly because I thought that it would make the photos too grainy… Pretty embarrassing. So now after overcoming this, it’s been really valuable.
I sometimes get a feeling before taking a photo – the flash when you sense that everything is ‘aligned’ – a moment I guess.
In an age focused on digital cameras, you recently began experimenting with film, what has the process been like and what drew you to it?
The process has been great. A while back I had a fashion shoot. As always, I was a bit nervous. Rocked up and realised that I forgot my camera batteries!! I freaked out and ended up shooting on a disposable instead. Scary as fuck.
The photos surprisingly turned out alright and I actually had to think about what I was shooting. Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations is good. It gets you out of your comfort zone. As much as I hate to admit it, that’s how you learn. People don’t do it enough…
I also knew lots of people who were pumping out some sick 35mm shots. Why couldn’t I as well?
I sometimes get a feeling before taking a photo – the flash when you sense that everything is ‘aligned’ – a moment I guess. Shooting film is the closest thing to grasping that sensation along with rendering its tonal quality effectively. It still doesn’t always work out perfectly, but shooting and experimenting more will make it happen more often.
Since I mainly post images to Instagram (I really should start a blog), I usually use a square format. To maintain the original 2×3 aspect ratio, I sometimes duplicate the image or paste in another one to fill in the gaps. I guess that brings in the extra creativity and photo manipulation which I miss doing.
What do you get out of the experience of shooting film over digital?
There’s just something about analogue photography. It feels more ‘authentic’ and immediate at times. That being said, I’m not a servant to film. Digital definitely has its advantages. They’re both different.
It unquestionably informs digital practice. Makes you think more about composition, exposure, etc. instead of machine-gunning it in hope that there’s a winner. It’s a very experiential process. Not having instantaneous feedback i.e. no live view or histogram, shakes things up a bit.
Luckily, film offers a lot of tonal and exposure flexibility. Sometimes you forget what shots you took. Seeing them post-development can be surprising and you get some unexpected results. Every now and then I take double exposures by accident. I love it when photos turn out differently than anticipated. I also love how it renders colour temperature with electronic light. Fortunately, I haven’t screwed up a film roll yet, but getting shots back out of focus can be very frustrating. That can make it ‘arty’ if you say so I guess.
You have a mix of styled fashion, to beautifully captured candid moments, do you prefer planning and directing a photoshoot or being a fly on the wall?
I prefer being a fly on the wall and working with what’s on offer. That makes it easier since I don’t like people haha. Besides music and fashion/modely stuff, I’ve shot some events that way, which has been fun. I’m not a big fan of conventional event posy shots (like the club-style event stuff, some of which is great btw) even though it works for the clients sometimes. Having recently shot more directed stuff, it has become more enjoyable. And I’m learning how to interact with other earthlings. All in all, I prefer a more candid and organic shoot.
What is your essential creative kit?
I use a Nikon d610 + 50mm 1.8 and a Nikon FM2 + 35mm 1.4 with mostly Ultramax 400 or Fuji Superia. Having the same equivalent focal length for both cameras makes switching between them simple.
And the iPhone of course. I sometimes take better shots with that than the big-man camera. Wouldn’t call it essential, but without it I’d have nothing.