Analog

Feral Ground

I met Thomas Petersen, the Danish visual artist better known as Grundvold, a few years ago and we talked about doing a photography project ever since. We finally managed to get together this autumn and headed to Pollok Park to take some pictures. Shot on analog and digital, we called it “Feral Ground” and intended for it to be a commentary of sorts on toxic masculinity, the masculine/feminine, strong/vulnerable in all of us. Results below:

GEAR

Nikon D4
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Profoto A1
Canon AE-1 Programme + 50mm f1.8
Kodak 400TX

Analog Photography

Digital photography didn't exist when my interest in taking pictures begun. I was 16 when my parents got me a second hand Zenit 11 and in order to get my head around it, I enrolled in photography workshops where l learned the basics of an SLR as well as how to develop negatives and prints. My first digital camera was a Nikon D40 which I got on sale in 2009, and I've been shooting digital ever since. I love it, I enjoy its flexibility, the control it gives over your files and the retouching process and how much faster your overall workflow can be thanks to modern technology.

Having said that, I've been missing shooting analog for some time. I feel like I second guessed myself less when I shot film and was more confident in my abilities. Admittedly, I was a teenager then and that might've simply been the arrogance/ignorance of youth rather than confidence, but I felt drawn back to the days of shooting analog nevertheless. You can get really snap-happy with digital just because you can, rather than because you need each frame, so I wanted to remind myself of the discipline of shooting film where each shutter pressing matters, and where you don’t have the digital LCD screen on the back of your camera to double check the exposure. And so a couple of years ago I got a Canon AE-1 (with a 50mm f1.8 lens) on eBay and started shooting analog again. Not for commissioned stuff, cause that would be a commercial suicide, but for personal projects, behind the scenes shots, friends and such. I've tried different films and fell back in love with Kodak (duh!) which is what I used to shoot all my black & white stuff on back in the 90s.

I don’t develop my own film or prints these days as I don’t have the time and, to be perfectly honest, don’t think I’d have the patience anymore. I’ve been using DS Colour Labs for that and they’ve been great. All in all, it’s been an educational and interesting return to basics for me, if frustrating at times. I’ve realised I shoot differently on analog, I even tend to frame images in a different way than on digital. Conversely, I’m definitely not as trigger-happy when working with a digital camera now. I’ve actually got a couple of bigger 100% analog projects lined up at the moment and I’m dying to get a Rolleiflex and try shooting medium format but for the time being here are a few images taken on film over the past couple of years:

My Sister Ania

My sister Ania has been the subject/victim of my photographic endeavours ever since I knew how to press the shutter button on a camera. Now, I'd like to be able to tell you here a nice, sentimental tale of how I was a wonderfully attentive older brother wanting to capture every moment of my beloved sibling but that just wouldn't be true. Ania likes to tell the story of how, whenever the two of us were going somewhere together I would walk ahead with my headphones on, blasting music while she was trying to keep up with me a few steps behind. There's my level of brotherly attentiveness for you.

Having said that, she’s always been available to have a picture taken and willing to indulge whatever ideas I might have. Getting wrapped in cassette tape? Sure! Posing in a bath filled with paper offcuts? Bring it on! Wearing nothing but tinfoil? Where do I sign up? I could go on but you get the picture. Our relationship has changed quite a bit since we were kids and she not only became my absolute favourite person but also someone I truly admire. I don't photograph her as much as I used these days as we're both busy with our work (Ania's a seriously talented, award-winning nail artist and runs a salon in Glasgow called Beauty Beehive) but there's probably a book's worth of images I've taken of her throughout the years. Some are great, some of questionable standard but all are a testament to our growth: her as a woman and mine as a photographer and I thought it would be interesting to share some of them here. Enjoy.