Slices of the world

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in photography. What inspired you to start taking photos?
I’m an ambient musician who saw film photography as another means to express a similar feeling and aesthetic. I gained an interest in analog film cameras and how they operated as Covid lockdowns began. I’ve always appreciated learning how mechanisms work, it’s the same thing that drew me to my love of synthesis in my music. This interest soon evolved into curiosity about the film process itself and I fell in love with the artifacts that can be produced by it. The subject matter came after, as I slowly taught myself photography over the course of my project. It was a very natural development as it quickly became a ritual in my daily life. I developed an ‘eye’ for what I wanted to capture and increasingly trusted that instinct.

Everyone has a unique style. Can you describe how you would define your style and what visual or conceptual elements characterize it?
I try to capture structure and patterns in everyday mundanity. I try to isolate slices of the world and reduce them to geometry, flatten them, but to counteract the rigidity I introduce randomness through expired film and the other imperfect elements of film photography. Artifacts and ‘the imperfect’ are my favourite components in art more broadly.

Photography has the power to tell stories and convey emotions. Can you share an experience in which one of your photos had a significant impact on people or on yourself?
I don’t think my photos have been impactful themselves, but the process of taking them has been. Taking ‘photowalks’ with friends around the area was a great way to keep in touch during the incredibly isolating times that Covid produced. It led to many fond memories, albeit small in scale compared to creators with larger scopes. It also created an incredibly healthy habit for myself, but most of all, it helped me see beauty in everyday life in a way I never quite had before.

What has been your most challenging photographic project to date and why?
My one and only project – 1,000 photos published in 1,000 days. It started out as incidentally posting a photo every day for a while, but that gave me precedent (however arbitrary) to aim towards. This concrete objective drove me to continue at a set pace and was largely responsible for keeping myself accountable to my ritual.

Technology and photo editing tools are constantly evolving. Can you tell us about the techniques or equipment that you consider essential for your work?
I love the idea of removing as much control from the creator as possible – I’m a firm believer of limitation breeding creativity. There were a few elements to this. I exclusively used expired film with unknown and varying origins, introducing excess grain, contrast, shifts and other artifacts, or occasionally having no consequence. I never cropped, coloured or edited my shots in any way – the camera’s settings, the frame’s composition and the selection process were all I had control over. It’s liberating. Specifically, my favourite cameras to use are the Olympus OM-1 and Olympus Pen FT – both are marvellous pieces of machinery.

There are many genres in photography, from portraits to nature photography. Do you have a favorite genre in which you feel most comfortable or enjoy shooting the most? Why?
Street photography that isn’t centred around people. I’m quite shy and also quite slow to compose and shoot photos, so human subjects intimidate me. I’m in my element when slowly strolling around the suburbs and spotting otherwise ordinary settings that just happen to be pleasing to me.

Can you share an interesting or unusual anecdote you’ve experienced while taking photos?
Because my photos are almost always of very boring things, I get asked very often “why are you taking a photo of a garage door?” Sometimes I wonder if people are more suspicious of me than if I were to be taking a photo directly of them.

Many photographers find inspiration in other visual artists or everyday life. What are some of your sources of inspiration?
Inspiration for my subject matter is very much about finding pleasing vignettes in otherwise mundane, everyday and incredibly normal situations. As for the process, my love of character and texture comes from musicians such as Burial and Califone who create rich worlds for their music to inhabit by highlighting imperfections in their work.

Photography is a visual medium, but it often has a conceptual background. Have you worked on photographic projects that address specific themes or concepts? Can you share information about one of those projects?
I wanted to explore the idea of micro vs macro. The vast majority of the photos I shot in my 1,000 days project were taken on my one-hour lunch break while working from home full-time at my day job. This means that almost all of them are within a half-hour radius of my home. When photographers travel and capture beautiful photos in various cities around the world, it feels to me like a ‘best of’ of the planet. Many of these kinds of shots are true spectacles in and of themselves. The macro. I wanted to explore the idea of zooming right in, honing in on an incredibly small and relatively ordinary area, and seeing if the same beauty could be found. The micro.

What inspires you when creating new images? Do you have a ritual or creative process you follow to find inspiration?
Walking slowly, especially through familiar places. You’d be surprised at what stands out differently to you each time you revisit a place. I find that when I’m somewhere entirely new, everything stands out to me and I miss all of the beautiful small details.

Editing and post-processing are essential parts of photography. Do you have a particular focus on post-production of your images?
None. I experimented with post-processing but found the options it offered far too overwhelming. I prefer to limit myself in as many ways as possible so I can reduce variables I have control over and introduce degrees of circumstance into the process. I find it far more inspiring.

For aspiring photographers who may be reading this interview, what is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received in your career, or what advice would you like to share with them?
If I haven’t said it enough – limit yourself! Figure out what it is you enjoy the most about the creative process and try and remove as many of the decisions you need to make outside of that. Set arbitrary limitations and treat them as golden rules. When you reduce the infinite possibilities of the process, you end up mastering the elements you do still have control over.

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