Tag Archives: hasselblad

The Film Pharmacist : Polaroid 664 B&W Instant Film

Catalog Number : 023
Reviewed By : Me! Akshay Bhoan
Film Name : Polaroid 664 B&W Instant Film
Format : 120 / 135 / Instant :  3 ¼ x 4 ¼ in – Instant
Speed (ISO) : 100
Color / Slide / BW : BW
Processing (C41 / E6 / BW) : None
Color Exaggeration (R/G/B) : None
Availability (In Production / Back Stock / Discontinued) : Discontinued
Contrast : Medium
Uniformity (High, Mid, Low) : Medium
Developement Time (Only For Instant Films) : 30 sec – 21°C (70°F)
Personal Comments : This was the very first instant film that I ever shot and the emotion it evokes is unsurpassed. I came upon two packs which were a gift from my lovely friend Penny, who’s an expert on Instant Films. The film is “peel apart” type, that means when pulled out, it needs to rest for a duration of time (specified as development time) and then its top skin can be removed to expose the final image. Unlike the Fuji instant film line, this peel doesn’t produce a negative when bleached. The film is brilliant, its tonalities are deep and silky smooth. Unfortunately its no more in production and the only stock available is either back stock sold by people who had extra or a small quantity sold by Impossible Project, which stored these in inert gas chambers.

Polaroid003

Polaroid002

Polaroid002

Polaroid001

Its Alive!

Something Old Something New

Polaroids
Some camera porn for your weekend

The last few days have been very kind in terms of finds and acquisitions. Firstly now my Canon kit is now loaded with a fantastic 24-70 2.8 L lens. Its freaking fantastic and I love it. Is it better than my super fav 50mm 1.4? Not really, its not comparable in terms of sharpness or depth or weight (all of which are better in the 50) but it brings one ability which is unsurpassed by the 50. Its the ability to move from 24mm to 70mm without fumbling with prime lenses. Its been a pain for a long time to move from wide to tele on the street but this lens makes it so much better.

Then thanks to my dear friend Shreya Sen, I got back my flash which had been just lying around in Bombay for more than six months. It wasn’t firing or charging and thanks to her now I finally have a operational manually controllable flash.

Its Alive!
Its Alive! Finally after 6 months of repair!

Also I’ve been hunting around for old pictures and I came across a really nice batch in Bombay. The polaroids from one of the series are in the first picture of this post and trust me when I say this, those images, the full series is just brilliant. I also met up this time with Priyansha Jain, a designer based in Bombay / London and she showed me what she’s been finding in her trips to Rajasthan.

The Little Slide Box
The Little Slide Box

Its been so dusty in Delhi that my scanner even after a basic cleanup is full of it. So you might be able to see a lot of these small lines on the scans, all because of the fine dust in the scanner. As the Epson Gurgaon Service center is as worthless as a doped up monkey with a screwdriver, I’ll have to end up cleaning it myself one of these days.

BTW, One of my friends is putting out some of his best film gear for sale and I’ll be posting it on the blog soon. So keep a look out for a brand new sale!

Book 1

Constellation Cafe Books : Evening Ragas

Is it the love for the stories by Kipling, Ruskin Bond, E.M Foster and Dalrymple or is it plain nostalgia, I can’t really say. All I know is that there are images by Derry Moore which left me speechless when I first discovered them online. Soon I was trying to find out more about them and found quite a lot of his work on his website. But there is something quite very different when you see prints vs images on a computer screen. Luckily, there was more coming my way.

Intro

Today I’m discussing Derry Moore’s beautiful book titled “Evening Ragas”. Its a little surprising that I had never heard of him before nor had I ever seen his work but then I’m quite ignorant and I left it at that (learning more every day). After a little more research, I found out that he’d been there for quite a long time (Born 39′) and has photographed the late Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth II, Ronald Reagan, Dawid Bowie, Indra Gandhi and many more.  All in all a fantastic photographer, established not only in portrait but also in architecture and interiors.

Book 1b

Evening Ragas started as a project to document the world of the Raj which was slowly ebbing away. But slowly the project entered another mood, into finding the merger between Indian royal esthetics and the European design elements which the British had brought in with them. Finally the photographs not only study the lifestyle of royalty but also the struggle of ego and individuality between the fair and brown skinned residents of these interiors.

Book 1a

Now about the make. At first what catches your attention is the grey tones. His photographs have a delicate balance of tones, they are strong yet never really harsh with beautiful subtle contrast. The book is hardbound, published by John Murray Publishers in London. I here have the first edition of the book from 1997 and its out of print for some time now. The book is heavy, as if representing a relic from the Raj, a icon of the grandness and the weight of the royalties. The images are printed without a border of any sort, taking up full pages. The publisher makes a note of this,

“The photographs are presented in full page without margins or captions and in geographical or logical order. They have been selected both for visual impact and to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the India that Derry Moore experienced.”

Book 1

The paper seems a lot more gloss than matte and to be honest the printing lacks texture and detail. So all in all its bad printing for me. There is no richness in the pictures and it was really disappointing but only in terms of the print. As for the pictures themselves, they are brilliant. Beautiful, rich and poetic, they explore the space and study the faces with patience and intoxicating smoothness. Moore shines through with his portraits of women, they have not only depth in character but a charm which matches the atmosphere in every way. 102 pictures later, the book ends with captions and a small thank you note by the photographer.

Now I would have ended the notes here but as I said there was more. Some time ago I had gone to the India Art Fair and came upon the same series exhibited by Tasveer, a local gallery here in New Delhi.  Last night I was invited to the opening for Evening Ragas show in New Delhi and to meet Derry Moore himself.

Autograph

Party

Derry II Derry

Big huge prints finally! Now I didn’t like how Tasveer had curated the art fair presentation (made it look like a architecture study) but this one was quite well done. I guess because of Damiani (the co-sponsor for the event) a little partial to portraits of women but then I love how Moore handles them so it all very fantastic. After a glass of red wine and a small discussion with Moore about the work I got my hands on the new version of the book, printed by Tasveer. Now this book is a little smaller and the images even smaller because of the newly added margins. The introduction too has been changed cut down, almost like a summary. Bad move but one thing which does become better with the new book is that the images are printed so much better, more contrast on beautiful matte paper. In the visual sense, the collection too has been curated again and now it contains not only black and whites but also many color images. But in totality, the number of images have fallen from 102 to 97.

Book 2 Book 2a Book 2c Book 2d Book 2e

I don’t think the new version of the book is out for sale as it was custom printed by Tasveer in collaboration with Damiani, only for the show. Also the old version of the book is out of print so you’ll have to hunt a little bit for it. But if you’re in Delhi, I’d highly recommend dropping down at Gallery Art Motif (F 213 C, Lado Sarai, New Delhi – 110 030) from 23rd February – 5th March 2013 where the exhibition continues. Please note that the exhibit doesn’t feature all 97 images but 60 limited edition prints.

Dreams & Whispers

Casual photographs sometimes revel a state of mind more clear than a meditative state can. Recently I shot with two of my dear friends. And just like that, these pictures were almost an extension of my older series, as if the missing pieces of the chemistry I was trying to find.

"Sisters" series takes ahead the "Disappearing Act" series, almost a extension
I chose to work with both the girls in the same color tone to enhance the value of the shared bond and blood bonds.
I was a little scared that the negs from the shoot will be too dark but they turned out fine. I'm surprised that Tmax 100 even pushed 2 stops produces almost zero grain.
I wish I would have carried color films for this shoot but unfortunately I had my hands only on BW 120.
One final from the Contact Sheet

Just one thing to remember is that don’t get attracted to a shot because of the medium but let the shot choose the medium. I later felt that these shots would be much better in color but I kept shooting in bw film. I shot only 5 pictures with digital, 2 of those are on the top of the article. Its important to not let equipment lead the project, no matter how exotic it is.

So after that, I did try to reshoot but I wasn’t able to, because of some logistics issues. I did manage to get a few portraits which I love.

Perfection in Imperfections
Ending it all

The Disappearing Act : Scene II

Some time ago I posted some images from my recent experimental shoot. I thought I should also show you what the finals look like. I showed these pictures to a friend who said that she needed to know the context and the theme to understand these images. But then I believe that the very visual appearance should be able to propel the emotions from me to the viewer (not the supporting text), hence I shall present them to you, in a way open for interpretation.

Charles Blanc, “Le Cabinet de M.Thiers,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1st ser, 12(1862):304-305:

“Il y a, parmi les trésors de l’art et de la curiosité, des richesses qu’il faut avoir toujours sous les yeux pour entretenir le feu sacré dans son âme… Mais il est des choses qu’il importe de ne pas voir à touteheure, de matin au soir, parce qu’on finirait par se blaser sur le plaisir qu’elles font. Une collection de dessins et d’estampes est mieux placèe, par example dans des portefeuilles que sous verre.”

“There are, among the treasures of art and curiosities, riches that one must always have visible to keep the sacred fire going on one’s soul… But there are things that it is important not to see at every moment, from morning till evening, because one will finish by becoming indifferent to the pleasures they give.”

Opening Act

Closing Act

Models : Riya Niar & Panchami Gharavi. Clothes by Wendell Rodricks. Co-ordination & Assistance by Anushree Gavas.

All photographs shot on black & white film. Final pigment prints on 12″ x 12″ 300 GSM matt gallery paper.

Why Hasselblad is a Hasselblad and not Kiev

So when you have a Hasselblad, its your baby, no literally. You buy the most expenive accessories and spend loads on the smallest things. And believe me, Hassey accessories are REALLY expensive. Want to get a small lens cap, cough up so much dough that you can actually get a small second hand 35mm camera.

The King Of Kings - Hasselblad 500c
On my work desk

Initially I had been getting only original Hasselblad accessories but I kind of ran out of money when I wanted to replace the main waist level viewfinder on the blad. Its bloody 100$! So I looked online for another option and found the Russian Kiev 88. The Kiev 88 is basically a Russian Hasselblad. Those guys have copied the design and everything and produced a lookalike. All accessories from the Kiev usually fit the Hasselblad so if you wanted something for the Hassey but didn’t have the money, you could get a Kiev part.

Kiev 88 - The "Hasselbladski" - By Josh Larsen

But then if you’re paying half of what you’d pay the Swedes, then something has to go wrong isn’t it? So the package which arrives from ebay contains 2 items.A prism viewfinder and a waist level viewfinder.

The big black thing on the right is a Prism Viewfinder and the two viewfinders on the right are Waist Level Finders (one is the Hasselblad and one is Kiev)

Now lets have a look at the viewfinders first, we’ll talk about the prism later. The viewfinders look *almost* the same but they are not. In terms of pure visuals, the design is inverted (the lines converge in the Hassey whereas they diverge in the Kiev)

Even though they look the same, they totally are not (Kiev left, Hassey right)

The build of the Hassey viewfinder is so much better and the springs are soft and smooth. The Kiev is not rough but has no smoothness. But that is not the biggest issue. if you notice the bottom, the Kiev rests on a wider base whereas the Hassey rests on a thinner base.

Kiev left, Hassey right

So here is the actual problem. The Hasselblad viewfinder has a thinner base, just to keep it held in the camera. But the Kiev has a thicker base. This leads to it eating up space on the viewing screen inside the camera, hence it doesn’t give 100% coverage. which SUCKS! So when you shoot and you realize that a cat just entered the frame its because the damn viewfinder didn’t show you all of the picture!

The Prism Finders Base

The same issue comes to the TTL meter for the Kiev. It eats into the screen so you see less, which is NOT acceptable. And now I’ll have to spend 600$ to get new PME Hasselblad metered finder & a new WLF :( (One day God! One day!!). So just if you’re considering a kit for yourself, don’t try to mix components cause it doesn’t work. If you have a Hasselblad then stick to Hassey accessories. I don’t think anyone who has a Kiev would want to buy Hasselblad accessories but then its another blog post right there.

Multiple Cameras : Blessing Or Curse

Ok, that is a lame heading but its a really serious issue. Specially with people like me who suffer from Gimme-more-camer-o-mania. This basically means that I (and so many people I know) suffer from the habit of buying cameras even if they are only used about 2-3 times a year. So what happens to me when I’m out in the store? Here are true instances which have happened with me and every camera which I own.

Early self portrait from my Sony P200 Point & Shoot

Story of The First Canon


Behind the stage with the Canon 1000D

After about one and half year of wining in front of my parents, I was granted my biggest wish, a Canon 1000D. I didn’t have enough to pay for all of it so I paid half and my parents paid half. It was the best thing which could happen to anyone. The pictures were a lot better than my Sony P200 point and shoot. The control was fantastic and the sharpness, oh the sweet sharpness. I didn’t know how I had lived my life without a DSLR till this time. My life was complete, the 18-55 was the worlds best focal length and nothing could be better. People were envious of my camera, everyone said, “oh you have a SLR, professional!”.

I didn’t know what was to happen next, I thought my life was complete.

Then came the Fifty

The Nifty Fifty

I shoot portraits, how could I have not seen the pictures by others on flickr? And after seeing pictures again and again I could not resist anymore. I had to have a 50mm 1.8, a nifty fifty, the best portrait lens made by mankind. It was cheap and it was so beautiful. It made bokeh like the God’s had blessed it as his own personal lens. I had to had to had to (yes just had to) get it. So right in the next month, I saved up my salary and ran down to the canon store to get my Canon 50mm 1.8 MKII.

Now I didn’t need anything else, my life is complete.

How can I not have a film camera

Canon Film at work

I’ve always loved film. Even before I bought my DSLR, I had borrowed film cameras from my friends, from my dad’s friends for just a few hours to shoot. Ilford and Trix had been etched in my skin, black and white film grain, was romantic beyond belief. Looking at film pictures was like peeking into paradise, the numbers on the side of the frames were speaking to me in my dreams, 36 steps to a orgasm. So was it wrong to pick up a used Canon Rebel Xs? It was cheap, it was reliable and it would be able to use all my canon lenses.

Now I really didn’t need anything, now I could shoot film, I could shoot digital. No more cameras, I have enough.

The Yashica’s Seduction

Shiny Man

What is one man to do when he finds a shiny mint Yashica Electro 35 for only 30$? I am only human isn’t it? I had just gone to the shop to get something for a friend and I saw it there. Shining, perfect glass, beautiful body, 100% metal. A little heavy but so clean, sharp. It was calling out to me and it was just for 30$! I resisted but the strap got caught in my bag and I had to get it. As such I didn’t have a rangefinder, it would be useful.

A rangefinder, a digital slr, a film slr. Now what could anyone want more?

An American Friend

The Diary Keeper

Astrid, my dear friend was coming from Seattle. And she asked me what I wanted. The only way to get my hands on a Holga was from the US of A. So I ordered one. It wasn’t to be missed, this golden chance. It was black and I chose the one which could work with 35mm film.

A toy camera, a rangefinder, a digital slr, a film slr, I am a settled man.

Twins

 

The Black Swan

One of my dear friends, Pallavi asked me about film cameras. She wanted to buy one, a inexpensive one which she could carry around. So I took her to the shop I usually buy cameras from. And there it was, black, lustrous, sharp, almost staring down my soul. A black Yashica Electro 35. I already had a electro but this seemed totally different. I could imagine so many places I would take it, I had to buy it. In the end my friend who wanted a camera came out empty handed and I came out with a black new body.

What the hell! I have 6 cameras! Did you know I never told my ma that I got another electro =) But no more, no more cameras.

In Two Minds

 

Soft Hands

Anushree, a friend photographer from Bombay asked me to get her a vintage camera. So I found her a Yashica D, a TLR. Its not a rollieflex but its still quite reliable and sturdy. And the lens, well I had never used a medium format camera before and after the yashica, I would almost never go back to 35 unless really needed. I actually bought the camera for her but never ended up giving it to her, it still is with me, shooting provia =)

A new TLR was needed, its not like I had any other mf camera. So now 7 cameras.

Thinking Big


Portfolio with the 5D

I was having issues with the 1000D at high iso’s. Above 400 it couldn’t really produce a crisp print, there was just too much noise. So I decided to upgrade my camera kit with a Canon 5dMKII. 21 megapixels but most importantly, full frame, it was exactly what I needed.

8 Cameras and I swore to not buy any more, NO MORE.

Love Crosses Paths

Do you remember the time when you saw her and you forgot anything and everything. I’ve had the same effect with the Hasselblad. Its been forever in my mind but I could never really afford it. Then searching for it one night on a second hand online shop, there it was, within my reach. I ordered it but had to wait for 2 months for it to come to me. And when it did, I can’t explain in words how I felt. Its pure ecstasy.

Moral Of the Story :

Later on I ended up working for Lomography India so now I have a LC-A and a Diana too. What I’ve found out is that you can’t help buying cameras, its because everyone of them serves a totally different purpose (or at least I say this to justify all this to myself).

How many cameras do you have?

Saturday Night Conversations : Edward Olive

Sometimes we can never know what life has in store for us. Our paths twisting and turning, sometimes ending up in new places never imagined. And surprisingly we realize that this is where we want to be.

Edward Olive was never a photographer, he was an actor looking to shoot some head shots for himself. Today he’s one of the most sought after wedding photographers in Europe and he’s already been honored with recognition by Hasselblad Masters and countless other awards. His strong style of photo journalistic weddings and nudes make an unforgettable impression on every viewer, transporting them immediately into another world. Some say Edward is still not a photographer, he’s just a true artist with passion.

Q. How did you start with photography?

A. I bought a camera to do my own actor’s head shots. It all went very obsessive very quickly. I started working just because I was offered money by someone. People ended up actually liking the pictures and then some more people liked them and it just went from there. That started money coming in and made me think that perhaps what I was doing had some meaning after all. I wasn’t that bad.

Q. What is photography to you? How do you interpret it?

Photography is, at its finest, an art form or social thought, as poetry or journalism.

However as everyone can write and everyone can now take photos, photography and writing are both equally debased to the extremes of Facebook, Flickr or Twitter. Verbal diarrhea and matching pictures. The internet generation that produces writing and photos without meaning.

Q. One of the core reasons why your work caught my eye and surely has just so many followers is because of your use of film photography in weddings. With that you bring a sense of infinite courage, such a feeling of romanticism in your work that it has to make an impact. But then the question remains, why film?

A. There are still absurd people who insist on using digital cameras. The vast majority of these do so simply because they can produce images that show people they know and places they have visited. These photos are of no interest to anyone else and will be of no importance.

  1. Any fool can buy a digicam and press the button.
  2. It’s free to do absurdly high numbers of pictures.
  3. Who cares about quality if you can still see your girlfriend grinning inanely for the camera in front of some monument or some inane grinners lined up at some vulgar provincial social event.
  4. Anything that anyone can do and does is worthless. Heating microwave plastic-meals is not haute cuisine and the same is true for the digigraphers. It is not fine art. Both the micro-wavers and the digigraphers may think it is. Few people dare to speak out about the con trick that has been pulled by companies like Fuji or Kodak who do not make genuine black & white photographic paper yet lower themselves to make digital cameras merely for quick profits. At the very least you would have thought that they could make their dirty easy money from the digimasses and produce the fine art photography materials for the love of art and photography or because it would give them a certain prestige.
  5. Anything produced in such high numbers is clearly meaningless

The world is full of the generic, mediocre professional “photographers” taking your money and giving you cr*p. There are too many of these people.

Q. Most photographers choose to make their living in commercial photography like fashion or product. But you choose to work a lot in weddings. Why so?

A. Fashion or product

When they hire me to do fashion shoots or product photography I’ll do it. On the one  occasion that I have done each I have been lucky enough to be nominated for awards. Perhaps I didn’t do it that badly after all. But then what does that matter. What matters is something entirely different.

Weddings

I need to eat.

A very few people across the globe understand and appreciate what I try my best to do in their weddings. They fly me in and I do their pictures. I am very lucky there are these very few rare people.

Weddings are a great opportunity to take pictures of all sorts of people, in great sets with their best wardrobe, of all ages and in very concentrated emotionally charged states. Perfect for a photographer. My aim is to take only pictures that are good enough to win an award or be in a magazine, gallery or book. Provided the pictures are also portraits and photojournalism of the couple’s nearest and dearest that aim is also coincidentally going to produce exactly what the couple want too.

The test for wedding photos and for wedding photographers should be if you are interested in spending your valuable time looking at the pictures if you  don’t actually know the people in the photos. An even further stress test is would you spend 40 dollars on a book of pictures of photos of these unknown people. You may not want to put these strangers’ pictures on your own walls but if you would go to a gallery show of them then they are good enough. That would equally apply to celebrity photography or nude photos, so often only interesting because of the interest in the person shot or the aesthetics of the body and not in the photo itself.

I have spent a lot of time and money buying many meters of photography and photographers’ books. None of them are by wedding photographers. Wedding photography could be full of real talent of the level of Nigel Parry, John Deakin, Richard Avedon, Jean Loup Sieff, but its not. Its full of the mediocre and the generic, the worthlessgraphers and the irrelevantgraphers.

At time of writing this Mario Testino has just shot the wedding engagement shots for Prince William and Kate Middleton. I don’t know if he will do the actual wedding but what I would say is that it is fantastic that someone somewhere is bringing in a really great photographer… one of historical importance, into weddings. It is however a shame the only two pictures that have appeared so far from the shoot are bland, flat lit, flat colors and dull. He is a genius he should have done far better (as in his recent exhibition in Madrid’s Thiessen gallery or as in his recent book from Brazil). It is not clear what he was thinking of. I would be surprised if someone so modern as Prince William made him destroy all the good pictures and put out only the two worst but you never know.

Q. How do you make the transition from wedding pictures to fine art nudes and maintain the same style?

A. My wedding photos are almost entirely real photojournalism.

I find moments and people and try and shoot them as best I can and as fast as I can using the light that’s there or adding lighting in a way that doesn’t affect their natural behavior. It’s like a wild animal photographer using infra-red or leaving a light on in the jungle the critters don’t get bothered by. I try to keep it true.

For nudes it’s not found it’s made even if it may look like I just found the situation you see.

It takes up to 2 weeks of planning, notes and meetings and fully thought out lighting, color schemes, appropriate lenses, cameras, films, different in-house lab processing, wardrobe, make-up, sets and backdrops, acting style etc. There will be some improvisation and collaboration with models’ ideas before or during the shoot and collaborative selection of finished pieces that can take a couple of weeks to assemble. It used to be easy and quick. Now it’s a load of work and effort and far more kit than anyone sane would cart around.

I will inevitably have a certain style and technique which, while subject matter varies, will clearly be mine, whether in nudes or weddings. I am also very limited in what I am able to do so there will also always be a certain similarity and within each period of my work there will be a look of that time.

Q. Are you a emotional individual? Would you say irrespective of the kind of pictures you take, they are always emotive subconsciously?

A. Good question. I am emotionally not normal.

I am far better at doing emotions in characters that are not me or by producing it or capturing it in pictures. Your weaknesses are your strengths. If I was a normal person I wouldn’t have the life I do and I wouldn’t be producing the work I do. Only when you are off track and totally obsessive will you manage to pull out something important.

In any event I am not important nor am I interesting. My pictures may almost be though when it all comes together. So don’t worry about who I am or what I think. Don’t waste your time reading these interviews I do. Just look at the pictures if you like them. But you’d still be better of spending your time in Patrick Demarchelier’s book. He’s incredible.

Q. What other projects are you working on? Any exhibitions or maybe any projects with acting?

A. If you want to buy my new book you can. It’s here

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/seasons/13621908

It looks pretty. Lots of flowers. Nothing to shock your mother in law.

Q. What has been your biggest influence?

A. I have a lot of books by great photographers, both well known and obscure, and regularly look into them. This week I have spent quite a lot of time researching the 1960’s work of the incredible triumvirate of Duffy, Bailey and Donovan.

http://www.duffyphotographer.com/doko_folder/doko.html

http://www.david-bailey.co.uk/Archive.html

http://www.terencedonovan.co.uk/flash.html

I would love to see photographers that cool getting hired by Vogue nowadays but it’s unlikely to happen again. Too much nepotism and too little taste. The dominance of the people who know someone.

But just looking at photographer is not enough. Last week I went the Tate Modern with my sister (who knows far more than I do about such matters). Yesterday I spent a day just looking for textures in the moss in my sister’s garden. It all comes together somehow.

Q. In your pictures, we don’t see the obvious but you choose to pick out moments or just parts of what you feel should be revealed. Do you feel that you show what you see in your mind, are your pictures your versions of reality?

A. My wedding photos are real but from a certain point of view and have a certain style. You soon know they are my pictures. Within the reality I select the interesting and condense that reality and interesting. Frame, light, focus, selection and darkroom technique only serve to accentuate the important and the interesting.

Reality can be mundane. I like things that almost exist or never have.

Do you know what weddings are really like? Go to one one day without drinking alcohol then tell me. To be a wedding photographer you have to be a magician.

Q. As an artist what difference or similarities does he see in two different art fields being an actor and a photographer?

A. It’s the same thing.

Its personal expression and the capture or creation of emotion, performance, thought, feelings, moods, the engagement of the spectator, the cathartic experience, the social comment, the play on words, the comedic, the sensual, the dramatic.

Once you’re out of the mass of unknowns you’re in there with everything. Not that I would know yet though as still battling in obscurity). It doesn’t matter what you make it in if you make it you can then bring in your pictures. Look at Lord Litchfield, Karl Lagerfeld, Bryan Adams, Mary McCartney, Andy Summers, Harvey Keitel, Antonio Banderas… the list is endless. They are all now photographers moving at the very highest levels of galleries, top magazine covers and couture advertising.

When I look thorough Vogue I see Paul McCartney’s daughter, Kate Moss and Penelope Cruz and sister designing clothes and perfumes and Dennis Hopper and Mick Jagger’s children modeling. The whole system from Harper’s Bazaar to Dolce & Gabbana  is ridiculous… run by money interests and cronyism, pedestals for and mincing up to the famous. The royal court of sycophant lovies. Photoshop plasticity. None of the celebrities have skin and few their own eyelashes or breasts. Few have talent. Few will last.

Q. In your photography, especially in weddings, you totally disappear into the crowd which is evident by the amazingly natural shots that you get. But as an actor, your presence should always linger. How do you feel about the contradictory situations and your changing roles?

A. If you’re shooting, like I am, people who aren’t Naomi Campbell or Robert De Niro its tough to get them looking real unless they are pretty distracted or drunk enough not to care (but still no too drunk so they have their eyes open). Fortunately in weddings there is plenty to distract them and plenty of free drink. The trained and the talented can take direction. Its distraction and alcohol for the rest.

Q. Any tips for amateur photographers out there?

Buy only genuine (film) cameras, and if possible at least medium format.

Don’t use computers. Make sure all your finished pictures are really handmade prints made by you. There is more to real photography than just pressing a button and a few keys.

Be real.

Haute couture is hand made from the finest silks, cottons and leathers from hand made producers of the finest level from around the world. 3 Michelin star haute cuisine is hand made from the finest handpicked ingredients. Photography is no different. Its really hard to do something really good. It takes years of study, a lot of kit and clear personal vision.

Aim for the top you may get half way up.

Don’t think numbers think only quality. Too many people produce too many images. How many of these dreadful facebook people do you know parading their holiday photos over the internet in monumental amounts? Don’t allow people to email you their awful photos of their awful kids at Christmas or of them on their awful holidays. If they continue sending block their emails or it will pollute you.

Be as tough with yourself as you are judging the others. I know my pictures so far are almost invariably not good enough but I am trying my best to fix it. Don’t do like so many local professional idiotgraphers, doing cheap copies of my pictures or of anyone else’s. Better to try your own ideas and for them all to be a glorious disasters.

Don’t waste your time liking your friend’s photos because they like yours. Don’t even bother to look at anyone’s picture unless you are sure they really stand out as the one in every several million worth looking at. That doesn’t mean only look at Magnum but have very, very strict criteria. If it’s not brilliant don’t waste your time.

Only when your obsession reaches levels that make you almost impossible to relate to for normal people will your work start to become meaningful.

Spend all your time, money, space, and efforts to try and do the best you can. You will feel guilty and perhaps foolish but at least you will find out how far you can actually take your work and if it is worth you really going for it or if you would be better off spending your time commuting to a boring desk job in middle-middle class small town suburbia somewhere in grey-dull-land instead.

 

Thank you Edward for participating in this interview. If you’d like to see more of his work, please visit his Personal Website | Flickr.

Featured Image Film

Into The Night (12.2009) TriX

Picture By zgodzinski
Picture By zgodzinski

There is no question that now days more people prefer digital over film. And as more and more run towards getting the latest DSLR, I on the other hand wish to have a Mamiya or a Hasselblad, one which runs beautiful rolls of 120mm or a Leica with a f1.0 50mm to blow my mind away.

Film is like the girl who twists and turns in your hands, teasing you with mystery. Every time the shutter clicks, it moans, breathes in deep until you push again, winding. Never showing whats on its mind, ticking, making you restless, 36, 35, 34….

So what does film whisper to you?
The Grain In Your Head