I don’t know if this post will be some kind of a manifesto of my practice of photography or just my current point of view on my photography.
My experience with the medium
I won’t lie. I really started to be interested in the medium in 2018. Sure, my grandfather was a photojournalist, and my father is a hobbyist. But that’s it. These are just facts, they never pushed me to try it. I do have some memories of me having fun as a kid with a digital compact camera, taking snapshots of some dog’s bollocks and butthole at a wedding party I didn’t want to be. But that’s it.
No romantic story here.
When I was 17, I eventually bought a compact digital camera and an analog SLR at a garage sale. I bought them myself because my father can be such a nerd. Not that I don’t appreciate it, but I didn’t want to be that young punk shooting classmates with a DSLR in the neighborhood’s park. I shot like three rolls with the SLR before it broke and the compact camera never worked.
My first experience with photography ended that day.
Oh, and of course I tried Polaroids. Such a quirky experience for a teenager before the instant cameras revival. Anyway, my artistic domain was mostly illustration and painting.
2012-2017. Five years … five years without any interest in photography. I only posted snapshots on Twitter as a context to my day to day life.
Instagram? No thanks. Okay, not fair. I posted pictures of my cat, Alto, of my friend’s pets with the same template as a caption:
Magnifique #species *emoji of the species*
I still use this template on my “animals” Instagram.
Back on film
2018, I’m 24. I don’t know why, but I need to try to take pictures again. I know a lot of technical details about photography. My father taught me a lot about it. I toyed with a lot of different cameras but never shot more than 5 pictures with them. 2018 is the year I buy my own camera. I want to shoot pictures as I want, and mostly how I want.
I really hate DSLRs. They really are heavy and bulky. I want something compact. I don’t want another digital camera. I already have a smartphone (they are awesome, please don’t deny it). I want to shoot film. The way it chemically reacts to light pleases me.
I bought two cameras that day. A Voigtlander Vitoret DR, a cheap rangefinder, and a Yashica T3 super, a nice point-and-shoot camera.
I use the Vitoret for some fun and casual pictures. I zone focus with it and shoot. That’s it. Easy.
On the other hand, the ease of use of the Yashica T3 makes it my main camera. I love it.
How I shoot, a short essay
- “wow, I want to shot this. Let’s take a picture of it.”
- Subjectivity is important.
- Shoot more, think less.
Technical details shouldn’t stop me
I don’t care about cameras. They must be easy to use. I don’t want to mess with my camera’s settings before having to shoot. They also have to be light and small. I literally want to point my camera toward the subject and shoot.
Complicated setups are for photoshoots.
I also shoot in black and white because of the abstraction it allows. I enjoy color on some projects or ideas, but it always felt painful.
From the corner of my eye
When I say that I point and shoot, I literally do that. I capture everything that catches my attention. I’m doing it quickly. It often means that levels are wrong, that the picture is blurry, etc.
It doesn’t bother me and it shouldn’t. I cultivate my snapshot aesthetic and I embrace it as the result of my creative process.
My creative process is the expression of my curiosity, my desires, my fears. I live in the same physical world as my subject. Why should I hide my shadow? Why shouldn’t I show my hands? It’s a shared experience but also my very own diary.
Shoot more, think less
This one is a hard to swallow pill. A lot of articles and YouTube videos will tell you otherwise. Since I work with my instinct, the body of my work is empowered by quantity.
Thinking less helps me getting a lot of shots. By that, I mean every picture I want to take. Having a simple setup and a black and white roll of film help.
That’s it for now. I don’t think that my style is unique or sophisticated. I enjoy it.
I also ran out of ideas for this post. I will update it in the future, and write another edition if my mindset changes.