Susan van Tonder

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Susan van Tonder (b. 1989)
Pretoria

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

My dream superpower is invisibility. So anything in its natural state – unaware or unchanged by my presence is what really floats the boat. Especially humans – hence lots of pictures of the back of people’s’ heads. So more often than not I tend to only ask people I am comfortable with to ‘pose’ for me: even though they’re aware of the camera it’ll still be real and open. That being said, I would like to work on this since it’s fear holding me back more than anything else. I’d love to be that person who can approach someone and be like, “Hey really aesthetically pleasing stranger, can I possibly photograph you?”, but alas!

I also love the seemingly mundane, especially within small details or moments: sometimes they’re things that could easily fall into being cliché. But to me that overlooked beauty is even more powerful because of its ubiquitous nature.

Describe your photographic style.

My style is very opportunistic and all over the show. I admire photographers who have a unique and distinguishable aesthetic, and I think it’s because I don’t have one. My approach to an image is very impulsive: something will catch my eye and the way I shoot it is dictated by whatever I am after capturing.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

It’s funny I have never thought about this but in retrospect I guess it straight up changed my life. When I was 21 I got my first film camera (Olympus Trip 35) as a gift from my boyfriend at the time. I was a confused, frequently drunk person at the time going through a major crisis due to the fact that I was studying BSc Life Science and I had no fucking idea why. I fell in love with the medium and for the first time realised how important creative expression is for my sanity. This realisation very much shaped my life choices in the years to come.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a shot and your approach to a body of work?

I try and always have my camera on me. I get in this zone where I take two steps back and observe the situation from an outside perspective. It’s like creeping on life. I love that state. It’s very indulgent and allows me to be simultaneously present and in my own head space. It’s a state of hyper-awareness. In this state I feel like I am open to and ready for whatever my environment is offering me.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

My sister and I have a teeny weeny production company together, so for the money dollar bills I make videos. Film (video) is a major passion for me. The decision to go into film was not completely supported or understood by my family. In the beginning, I had trouble even telling people because I felt so silly going from a BSc in Science to film at the not-so-tender age of 26, but it was legit the best, albeit scariest, decision I have made. When you get a late start in something there are a lot of feelings of inadequacy that come with it, and I am still battling these, but all round really enjoying the journey. As for film photography, I really enjoy having it as far away from being a career as possible. It’s a creative refuge for me away from the pressure and anxiety I deal with regarding my career. It’s where I do whatever I want regardless of commerciality or whether people like my work.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

So I just got a new camera! Eeek! Pentax LX. Goddamn it’s beautiful. So can’t wait to shoot with the new baby… I am a complete camera dork. The amount of time I lose on eBay browsing cameras is sinful.

Otherwise, I currently own; a Canon AE-1 – chunky black beast that I have had for more than six years and dropped more than 1000 time but it LIVES ON, a Canon Ql17 – rangefinder, sticky shutter drives me mad, weird focus system, but god the sharpness of the images it produces makes it worth the hassle, an Olympus Mju ii – pocket sized point and shoot with an amazing 2.8 Zeiss lens, four different flash modes and a focal range that starts at 35cm (how lekker!), an Olympus Pen EE – half frame auto exposure fun, such a good looking whee-camera as well, and a Mamiya C220 – I have yet to bond with this camera, it’s a lightweight medium format twin-lens reflex camera made in the early 1970s and every step is mechanical and the image in the viewfinder is a reverse (so it’s a bit of a mind fuck).

As for film, I tend to buy a lot of expired Kodak or Kodak Gold 200 just because it’s cheap and everywhere and the colours are good. Ektar 100 is also a good punchy film – really saturated colors and not too expensive, then Porta is hard on the wallet but nothing beats the skin tone. Also the Portra 800 is versatile: the exposure latitude is vast and the grain is pleasant. I still don’t know what I like in terms of black and white film. Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X are probably the ones I have shot on, but I still feel like I haven’t found my match and need to try out a lot more B&W rolls.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your work?

I have gone through some major slumps, but I feel that it is natural so I allow myself to do so. The biggest came after returning from South Korea. South Africa is unfortunately not the safest place to just walk around with a camera. So I really, really missed having that constant access to a city and masses of people and all the images it had to offer. I still get bummed out about it, but I always get back into it because I just end up missing it too much – it’s a solid habit in some ways. There is so much I still have to learn and so much I want to do. Having those goals is what keeps me going as well.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

Yoh, EVERYTHING! To start off, I guess, the most obvious answer would be my fascination with the process. I remember googling how film images actually work and realising that the principles of the way our eyes and film cameras record images is based on the same principles of photochemistry (Photos – Photons – light particles – boom!). I think that’s why Susan Sontag’s essay ‘On Photography’ is so powerful to me. If you haven’t read this do yourself a favour it’s a masterpiece. I feel what she discloses on the nature of a photograph can be understood and reinforced by the science behind the way a film image is formed.

“To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability, precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” That is exactly what happens physically speaking as well – a million particles of light are taken, stolen and then chemically converted and preserved for us to look at for year to come. It’s magic.

I take pictures exclusively in natural light so I feel film is simply aesthetically superior in this regard. At the end of the day a pixel breaks light down and will always be a linear representation of what you have taken a picture of. The way film handles colours, how light bleeds from a highlight – it’s so much more life–like. That ‘film look’ is basically our brain feeling at home with an image because it’s exactly how our eyes/brains handle light.

As an extremely indecisive person, the limitations of film are liberating to me: they remove the option of excess and force me to focus on only a few things at a time. When I take a picture with my film camera I cannot take ten pictures of the same subject and then review these immediately. It intensifies that moment you take a picture because of the finality of it. I engage with the image on a deeper level because there is no second look, no redo. It feels almost meditative because you forget about everything else and exclusively focus on the image and everything about it – the light, the composition, the movement. It relaxes me. The click-swish sound of the shutter brings me this primordial pleasure – like popping a pimple (if you know, you know).

Lastly, I love vintage film cameras because they are beautiful, masterfully crafted mechanical pleasures that you can get for a fraction of the price of a digital camera that delivers the same image quality. The fact that I can own a film camera from the 70s and it’s still in working condition is amazing. I got my rangefinder (Canon QL17) with a 45mm 1.7 Canon lens on it for R700! Life changing stuff. I could really go on and on here, but those are the big reasons for my undying love of film and why I can’t see myself ever crossing over to digital, ever!

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or things that generally inspire your image-making process.

My hero is Ryan McGinley. The first body of work of his I saw of his was called “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”, a series of studio-shot black and white film portraits of 20-something year-olds. The honesty he captures, his choice of subjects, the striking emotion of his images… are all things I aspire to. Interestingly enough, a lot of the people I admire are also filmmakers, for example; Jimmy Marble, Bex Day and Jason Tippet who documents his hometown, Atwater in Los Angeles – the sheer quantity of images alone is impressive. Bex Day is a self taught photographer and filmmaker from London and the humour and zany-ness of her images is wonderful. Jimmy marbles’ pastel toned and perfectly composed images feel like another planet. I also enjoy finding a person like myself (someone using film to document their life and the things they see around them). All of these nameless people continually inspire me. This sharing of what is seen, felt, and experienced conveyed and connected by a mutual love and use of film pushes me to continually share my images, however insignificant they might be.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

My career and journey in the craft of filmmaking is another major interest/passion of mine. Currently doing a lot of corporate to build up funds for more creative projects; a short film and a doccie. All first attempts and still in the planning phase, so the anxiety is real. Otherwise I also LOVE dogs, especially crazy about my own dog, Poopy – she’s my soulmate and the best cuddler in the world. And I couldn’t bare life without music.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Study light – don’t just count on the light meter. Mastering light is a never-ending crusade because your eyes lie to you. Don’t get too bummed by bad rolls. Don’t develop your pictures at shitty developers! Google is your friend. Everything you want to know is on the Internet.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I really want to start making more structured bodies of work and get over the insecurities that hold me back in that regard. I have ten thousand ideas, I just need to man up and get to them.

I NEED a dark room in my life. Luckily my sister and boyfriend are also keen so we are planning on building one in the near future – any film photographers based in Pretoria keen to join the party? Holler!

Instagram: @susnapsan

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All photos by Susan van Tonder

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2021.

Seth Zworestine

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Seth Zworestine (b. 1991, Cape Town)
I grew up living in both Australia and New Zealand and returned to Cape Town at the age of 21, where I currently live and work.

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

People! I feel that everyone has a story to tell and it is always great to try and capture that story and the feeling in a single image. Someone like the photographer Platon has mastered this – where he can sit with a subject for a short period of time and capture their soul.

Describe your photographic style.

My photographic style is very much documentary based. I photograph what is presented to me and very rarely set up a photo other than slight changes of subject position with regards to lighting (the way the sun is falling, etc.). I like to keep everything as natural as possible.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Because of photography I have interacted with people that I would never have otherwise met. I have travelled to places that I could never have imagined and witnessed things that I would never have thought possible. These experiences and people’s stories have helped shape who I am and sensitise me to the wonder and pathos of the world.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

One of my favorite quotes is a by an Australian photographer called Stephen Dupont. He says “I’ve always seen photography as a gift and what I mean by that is you don’t take a photograph, you’re given them. Without that gift, without the access, without the permission, you would never get those photographs. So, there is this incredible collaboration that happens between your subject and yourself. They allow you into their world.”

This has always spoken very true to me and my approach to capturing an image involves portraying a moment in its truest sense. I very rarely pose a subject but rather move around a scene until I feel that I have adequately capture that moment/scene/subject/feeling. I document what is in-front of me rather than trying to falsely stage a scene. Photography at the end of the day is totally subjective. No one sees the same scene in the same way. That’s what makes photography so great. It is your representation of a specific moment.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

Photography is part of my profession. I also work as a videographer and content creator for several cape town companies as well as working in the film industry in a number of different roles. It is very important in this day and age to be multi-skilled and be able to fill more than one role at a time.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically, camera arsenal and film stock.

I generally shoot with a Canon AE1 + 28mm & 50mm lenses. It is what my father used to shoot on and so I feel sort of nostalgic when I shoot with it. I also have a Yashic D TLR camera and my pride and joy is my Mamiya RB67 kit which I picked up a few years ago. Film stock wise, I love black and white – Ilford FP4 & HP5 specifically. When I shoot colour stock – Fuji Superia is a great, cheap film that always delivers good results.

When I shoot digitally I shoot with a Nikon D850 with a 24-70 & 85 f1.4.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

I guess a big part of staying motivated and positive is to not compare yourself to other people. Find your own style and roll with it. Let other people’s work inspire and motivate you but just don’t start thinking that you can never reach their “level” (whatever that means). I have a specific few people in my life who I trust will give me honest opinion regarding my work and when I want a subjective opinion (especially after looking at the same image for hours on end) I go to them because I know they will tell me the truth. This has always been a big part in my growth – honest opinion and constructive critique.

I remember the first week of studying photography – we took a small field trip to the company gardens in Cape Town. We were tasked with taking five images that would be later critiqued by the class. I remember taking an image of the albino squirrel that lives there. I was so happy with the image because I had managed to get so close but later when I showed it to my lecturer he said, “yes, it’s a nice image, but, at the end of the day, it is just an image of a squirrel”. That critique has always stayed with me and when photographing, one of my paramount goals is to transcend the mundane and hopefully capture the more etheric, soul qualities of a subject and/or scene.

For me, the biggest factor in staying enthusiastic is travel. Getting out of your everyday environment and exploring new places, meeting new people – just experiencing something new, breathes fresh air into my creative process.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws, you to film and what makes it special to you?

Shooting film is special to me because it slows down the process and makes me really think about an image. I shoot professionally with digital and it is too easy to rack off hundreds of images at a time and any issues that you may have had can more than often be fixed in post-production. With film you do not have that ability. I generally always shoot film when I am shooting for myself. It is also the tactile nature of film – holding the negatives and printing the images. I get sad when I think about all of the images that just sit on my hard drives never seeing the light of day.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I have always wanted to be a documentary/portrait/travel/lifestyle photographer, so I follow a lot of photographers in this field. People like Peter Magubane, David Goldblatt, James Nachtwey, Don McCullin, Annie Leibovitz, Chris Burkard and Marco Grob to name a few. I also follow a lot of local young South African photographers who are doing amazing things and really pushing the limits of photography. We have so much talent in this country that it would be foolish to only follow the international greats. Luckily, platforms like Instagram have made it possible to learn from and follow your favourite artists from all over the world. It is a great place for inspiration, especially now that you can follow specific hashtags. You have access to the world in the palm of your hand – your cellphone.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

My close friends always laugh because of the amount of hobbies that I have. I surf, kite surf, cycle, skateboard and box. Music has always been a huge part of my life and is an amazing creative outlet. For the past four years I have been the front man of a punk/ska band called ‘Swatting Bats’ with a group of close friends. I love to keep busy and to try out new things.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Get into a dark room if at all possible. I was lucky enough to be able to do so when I studied photography in 2012. I could lose hours and hours developing film and printing images. You have to have that experience as a photographer. It really puts a lot into perspective. I think the other big piece of advice that I was given is to always try and get the shot in camera instead of relying on post production which is specifically true when shooting on film. More than that, just play – experiment with film stocks, cameras, etc and enjoy the process and the mistakes – which you will definitely make. Grow and learn from them.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I have a photo series/photobook coming out on the forced removals of the people from Riebeek Kasteel during the apartheid era, which I am hugely excited about. I definitely plan to exhibit this work at some stage as it is a story not widely known which still affects the lives of this community. I also have a number of projects on the back burner that I would like to do someday. I would love to be featured or shoot for a magazine like National Geographic, Time Magazine or the New York Times, as I’m sure most people would! But I guess for now just keep developing my own style and learning and witnessing as much as possible of the world and people around me.

Website: https://www.sethzworestine.com/
Instagram: @seth.zworestine

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All photos by Seth Zworestine

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Paul Wallington

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Paul Wallington (b. 1993, Plettenberg Bay)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Pretty much anything. Recently I’ve been focusing on my hometown, Plett. I’ll drive around to odd dead ends or find someone who can show me around a place I’m unfamiliar with.

Describe your photographic style.

I don’t think I have a distinct style. I guess I just find things that I think seem interesting. Or maybe they’re some reference to an artwork or photograph that I’m trying to allude to. I go through phases of what I want to photograph. A lot of the time I’ll focus mainly on portraiture and landscapes, but now I’m focused on the idea of animals.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Photography has made me see things I wouldn’t have seen. I’ve been to places where I wouldn’t have gone. It’s made me think more about the world in which I live in. There’s a cynicism that comes with that too. But to be honest I don’t think I’ve photographed enough to have any concrete views of the world of photography. I’ve just become more uncertain. I normally just go along with things I’m mildly interested in to try get a shot which results in me getting a headache at the end of the day.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

I have a friend in Plett who took me around his neighbourhood and introduced me to his friends. I would just talk and then ask them if they wanted a picture. Or I’ll drive around and find something that catches my eye. Once I saw a group of guys who had just slaughtered a cow and asked them if I could photograph them collecting the meat. Sometimes I’ll stay in a space for an hour or so and just photograph that small area.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

No. I’m currently studying at Michaelis School of Fine Art.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I had a Mamiya C3 and a Contax G2 but I lost both of them after an attack. I then received a Hasselblad 500C/M from a family friend who had one fixed for me.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

I go through waves when I won’t shoot. I’m majoring in painting so that takes up a lot of my time as well but mostly its just an anxiety that pushes me to shoot. Even if I don’t want to shoot and I’m not painting, I’ll force myself to go out and take some photos.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

If I’m being perfectly honest, film feels like an unnecessary burden a lot of the time. I spend more hours scanning and worrying about technical difficulties (like my camera jamming and taking a series of double exposures, dust on the scan or something going wrong with the processing, plus the cost). Digital should be what I’m using if I want to be pragmatic. But I’m not a pragmatic guy and there is just this thing with film that makes it so much more fun than digital. That’s all I can say about film. It’s just really fun shooting with it and looking at that big bunch of undeveloped film in your bag. Going through each image after a couple of months or forgetting what photos you took. There’s this excitement that comes with film that doesn’t come with digital.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

For the longest time I was obsessed with the documentary photographers like Mikhael Subotzky, David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane, Gideon Mendel and pretty much most Magnum photographers. But I’ve started to also look at contemporary photography as well. Photographers who stage their photographs or edit their photos in a way that tells a story rather than trying to tell a certain truth. People like Thomas Rousset, Momo Okabe, Weronika Gesickai and Zanele Muholi. I forgot where he said it but Alec Soth once said that he finds photography incredibly frustrating because of it’s limited ability to tell stories (or something along those lines).

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I’m studying now and I’ve mentioned before I’m majoring in painting. I also like to run and go to the bar.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Get a scanner and a proper filing system for your archive so you know where to find a certain negative years later.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

There is this project I’ve been working on in Plettenberg Bay for a while now. Hopefully something will come from that. I’ve put a couple of images onto my website.

Website: http://www.paulwallington.co.za/
Instagram: @paul_wallington

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All photos by Paul Wallington
(Interviewed in 2018)

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Steve De Villiers

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Steve De Villiers (b. 1980)
Johannesburg

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I tend to focus on people. Ordinary, everyday people who also have an interesting story to tell. Any subjects with character.

Describe your photographic style.

More of a documentary approach. Environmental portraiture. It has evolved from mainly portraiture to something wider – taking a step back to include additional elements in the scene. When shooting colour film, I try to capture scenes with richer vibrant colours, and if it’s black and white, I lean more to the dark side with higher contrast images with deeper, richer blacks. People in South Africa (even worldwide) tend to discard their traditions and move away from their heritage towards a more western/consumer driven society. This leads to losing your authenticity. When looking for subjects/stories to capture authenticity is crucial to me. A lot of the images are shot wide open with a very shallow depth of field.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Photography has basically consumed me since the beginning (and sometimes not in a good way; it can be a love/hate relationship). There won’t be a day that goes by without me watching some form of photography video or reading an article. Lately I am getting more involved with film photography, researching all the great film photographers and their work, realising that even the greatest images taken show how we’re all more alike than we would care to admit – and one can identify with the “humanity” in their work. I am even moving out of my own comfort zone from some of my previous projects and all the preconceived notions of my subjects are blown out of the water. As you grow on this journey called photography, you eventually start to think more about the message/story you want to present in order to give your images a deeper, long lasting meaning.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a shot and your approach to a body of work?

The shot or the project needs to really speak to me. I tend to undershoot rather than overshoot, even more so with film – I’m very selective with my shots and have to make them count. I will instantly know if I see an interesting character or project. My general rule when doing a project is to try and capture everything on just the one roll of film in the camera. With 6×7 there is only ten shots. If you focus, you can achieve your end goal within those ten frames.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I studied graphic/multimedia design, and worked in the industry for a short time. I eventually pursued photography on a full-time basis, and mainly focused on wedding photography. Currently I am doing more work as a drone pilot/operator, and should be fully licensed to provide commercial services for the film and television industry within the next few months. It is refreshing to indulge in film photography purely as a hobby and creative outlet.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically, camera arsenal and film stock.

My camera of choice is a Pentax 67 which is an absolute joy to shoot with. I also have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, and recently acquired a Leica M2. Favourite film stocks are Fujifilm Acros 100, Kodak Tri-X, and Kodak Portra 400. If I had to choose one film stock and shoot it for the rest of my life, it would be Kodak Tri-X – even pushed to 1600 ISO it looks amazing.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your work?

This is a tricky question, which I’m struggling with on a daily basis. It is very easy to become too emotionally involved or critical about your own work. There are going to be times when the last thing you want to do is pick up a camera. Your fridge is full of great film stocks, just lying there, but you can’t make it happen. It’s then that you need to tell yourself that it is OK to take a break – don’t beat yourself up. Pursue other interests and it will come to you when the time is right.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

Digital photography has reached a point where it is almost too good, too clean, too clinical – it has lost it’s soul. Film has soul, and character. Grain, weird colour casts, light leaks. Great tonal range and great depth. It’s not automated, and requires you to work for any good result. Delayed gratification, not instant, like everything else these days. And oh boy, it’s sweet when you see that special print taking form in the developing tray. Film also forces you to look at a scene differently and to evaluate every aspect of that scene. Be more present in the moment.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I draw a lot of my influences from film and cinematography. I’m a movie fanatic; City of God, Blade Runner, Pans Labyrinth, Road to Perdition, Brazil, Drive, A Clockwork Orange, Mulholland Drive and the list goes on.

In terms of photographers – my most significant influence and someone who captures humanity best is Steve McCurry. Then photographers who make you re-evaluate your work and the message you are trying to carry across is someone like Don McCullin. The raw power of his images… In terms of current photographers; Joshua Jackson – his use of colour and juxtaposing images is phenomenal (not film though), Sandy Phimester – phenomenal portraiture work (he was the reason I bought the Pentax 67) and his large format work is also brilliant, Michael Shindler for his incredible tintype/wetplate/collodion portrait work. And two local photographers who also really inspire me are Fausto Becatti and Elsa Bleda for the unique way they portray South Africa in their images – also great use of mood and colour.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I enjoy any outdoor activities, especially hiking. I appreciate any form of creative expression that moves me – whether it is design, films, books, music or art.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

It sounds more intimidating than it is. Get your first basic film camera, buy cheap film stock and start shooting. There are so many online resources to help with the process.

What I have also found is that there is a wide selection of film stocks available to choose from. If there’s a stock you really like, stick to it and develop your style around that. You then become really familiar with its characteristics. Also experiment with different formats of film. If you want to get into medium format, there are quite a few relatively inexpensive twin lens reflex cameras available to start off with. I started with a Yashica Mat 124G which is a fantastic camera that won’t break the bank.

12. What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I’ll definitely do more traveling once my drone operator business is up and running. I have quite a few locations on my bucket list. There is also a project I want to do in the near future – documenting some of the beautiful old churches and communities of far, outlying, rural Kwa-Zulu Natal. I was there on a shoot at the beginning of 2018 and was blown away by the rugged beauty of areas such as Inanda. But, the most important of all – to shoot as much film as possible.

Website: http://www.stevedevilliers.com/
Instagram: @stevedv

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All photos by Steve de Villiers
(Interviewed in 2018)

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2021.

Cape Film Supply

From their humble beginnings in 2017, Cape Film Supply has been providing an essential service to South Africa’s flourishing local film photography industry. Starting out by selling film stock on street corners out of cooler boxes and branding their own limited edition film to importing crates of Kodak and setting up a successful online store, they now run their very own lab since 2019. The team, consisting of co-founders Christiaan Beyers and Michael Ellis, and lab manager Brandon Reeff, have established themselves as powerful force providing clean negatives and sharp scans at the utmost quality. As fellow advocators for the culture, do check them out. #SkietFilmBra

https://www.capefilmsupply.co.za/
https://www.instagram.com/capefilmsupply/
https://www.facebook.com/capefilmsupplyza/

David Copeland

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David Copeland (b. 1988, Johannesburg)
Johannesburg (still here and frothing at the bit)

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Landscapes, nature.

Describe your photographic style.

Reverent witness; “an austere and blazing poetry of the real” (Ansel). I’m essentially seeking proof, in images, of a symbolic design, a formal perfection or spiritual presence, which in its epiphanic realness only the medium of photography can justly capture, and which, in a sense, justifies photography as a “creative” medium. For given that a photographer’s vision is more subordinate to empirical nature than, say, a painter’s, one’s expressive parameters are limited to relatively narrow, though by no means, simple choices. Thus a patient humility is enjoined, a poised receptiveness, whose task is more to reveal than to invent – a chemical midwifery to light’s apparitions over the face of the waters.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

It began as a means of arresting evanescence, evoking the ineffable, and I turned to it during the usual adolescent awakening to mortality, which for me was associated with the “holy moment” episode in Waking Life and an affinity with the Impressionists. Overcoming such sentimental attachments was the first step towards objectivity. I’m not sure that photography has had a pronounced influence on my personal life, as such; practically, it’s begun to affect choice of accommodation, which must now facilitate a darkroom. I think the more you practise the craft, the more attuned you become to visual patterns, forms, qualities of light, etc.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

Landscapes are often a matter of luck – being in the right place at the right time – but I try to acquaint myself with a location and note the positions of sunrise, sunset, weather conditions (The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a useful tool). Then I’ll go back if need be, or if I can (mountainous locations are not always easy to reach), and hope for co-operation. I didn’t start this series of landscapes with a body of work in mind, but I became aware, as time went on, of patterns or themes that began to organize my vision. I’m adopting a more deliberate approach now that I’m starting on some more conceptual work. It’s less a waiting game, more active.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I work in tertiary education.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

Pentax Spotmatic, Mamiya M645, Fujica G690, and a Linhof Technika III, loaded with Ilford traditionals or Deltas.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

My subject till now being landscapes, the anticipation of the next trip has always been a strong motive; and it’s not hard to feel inspired when nature’s swirling mist about some august peaks as God draws a slow bong. On the other hand, putting time and money into a trip and coming away with nothing can be discouraging. As long as I’m maintaining the illusion of making half-decent images, there occurs a very brief satisfaction, thirty seconds or so, when the print is finally toned and dried, after the hours on hours of testing, processing, assessing, adjusting, washing, self-mutilating, shouting, etc. That faint pleasure has apparently been enough to keep me going.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

It was the texture and tonal qualities and abstraction of black-and-white that drew me in. It’s a cliché, but it was also the process: the care and discipline required, the narrow margin for error, the satisfaction of working for the final image, which, as a print, has a material finality that a digital version never can. For me, the main justification for shooting film is the traditional wet print. It’s the lengthy way, but it forces you to focus on only those images that might have a chance of lasting. I find the keepers, in any case, are usually a fraction of one’s total shots.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

Darren Aronofsky had a strong influence on my general visual imagination and creative vision when I was younger. Ingmar Bergman was also potent (film-making was my initial ambition). My early photographic influences were my father’s old collections and annuals from the 70s. I didn’t treat it as a serious craft for a long time, but Michael Kenna was a lodestar when I started to. Since then I’ve admired Keith Carter, Fan Ho, Vivian Maier, Sally Mann, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, and (locally) Nolan Lister. Eddie Ephraums’ Creative Elements has been a useful technical resource.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

Poetry. There are a few pieces in Stanzas and New Contrast.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

On the technical side, learn on 35mm; move to medium format if you want resolution; abstain from GAS. Devving your own film is fundamental to tonal control. Assembling a darkroom is more of an undertaking, though I would also encourage beginners to print by hand – or at least to get a taste of it. Alternative Print Workshop’s dev and printing course is well worth it.

As for style or vision, film has a great look – no doubt – but it is the niche medium today and naturally so in many commercial fields: there’s all sorts work which it would now be laborious and even impossible to do on film. One can get into film for just the look, but as an aesthetic choice I think it’s worth having good reasons for doing so: Why film? What is it about film that complements, translates, expresses your way of seeing?

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

What lies on the horizon is hopefully more exhibitions, some new themes, a new body of work. It would be nice, at some point in the future, to be able to devote some of my working week to image-making.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/davidcopelandphoto/
Instagram: @davidcopelandphoto

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All photos by David Copeland

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Luke Bell Doman

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Luke Bell Doman (b. 1991)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

People I guess, tshirts, cars, houses, dogs, anything that people associate with memories and happiness automatically. Obviously I’m referring to specific people with a specific experience. Na but forreal I come from a background in streetwear and I grew up in the suburbs so all these things come from a mixture of those things.

Describe your photographic style.

I like to think It’s kind of cute, kind of simple, a tiny bit cool. My composition and subject matter definitely speaks to the notion of street style photography although that is mostly out of necessity as those are the kinds of things people want from me. I’m really trying to inspire a moment of nostalgia for a simpler time when we liked things just because, not because of what they meant or why they are important. Just a moment though, nothing major. There’s really nothing loaded about my style, the word nice is seen as a lame way to describe things but I like it, it’s the first word that comes to mind really.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Um…well first off it’s given me a craft to focus on so I burn energy that way which is important. It also gives me a realm in which to progress or regress. The burning of energy and the capacity to move I feel are important for mental health and such things. The idea of a culture, scene or industry is also important to me as it gives your existence a little context, although for the most part these things are pretty toxic. These things also give you the opportunity to engage with people who maybe think like you, which breaks you out of patterns of engaging only with people who look like you. Um….I guess my eye has changed. Before, I’d look at my surroundings as a series of things you could either skate or you couldn’t, now I look at the world as a series of potential backdrops or subjects. This has kind of changed the way I move, like now I find suburbs far more interesting than the city, where before I felt so drawn to the city. I also look at people differently, would you be interesting to photograph or no, what kind of shapes would you cut, do you have that thing in your face you can switch on. It’s very different from like, are you attractive or not. Some of these things kind of ruin life for me, like constantly seeing things through this lense affects the value systems through which you perceive, constantly judging people’s lives on like, would this make a good caption, would someone publish this blah blah blah so I try to stay out of that mode for the most part. I don’t ever have a camera on me nor do I take pictures in various circumstances like at parties or walking around, and I don’t take pictures on my phone really, I prefer to be there, present, a part of the world as opposed to a voyeur. When I do shoot it’s very deliberate, I’m going out with a specific goal, then I’m in the zone. When I’m not in that zone I try my best to perceive with a sense of naivety. More than anything, it has given me a vehicle through which to reflect the things I like, I like clothing so I can add to that conversation you know, as opposed to just being a consumer.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a shot and your approach to a body of work?

It’s always different really, depending on my mood and energy levels. Sometimes I obsess about an upcoming project for weeks, to the point that I hate taking photos and I wish I weren’t to do it. Sometimes I don’t think about it until Im literally standing there about to go. Certain things are always the same though, I always have a little character in mind, and a tiny narrative, it could be maybe three words, it could be an entire biography, there’s always a little world there that I don’t really ever share unless it helps subjects with direction. It’s funny for me choosing subjects is like casting characters in a role that they will never know and that probably won’t even really be reflected in the output, it’s just a fun game for me I guess. It helps me to maintain consistency when it comes down to details, like what would this person be doing here, does it make sense in a very loose way. I like to have someone with me, like a friend or assistant, just because I like the comfort it brings. When I’m actually in the moment of capturing a shot, what I really look for is magic, I frame loosely and then I make small movements and I try to be patient, waiting for the angles and ratios to find their power and show it to me. I rarely shoot people I don’t know personally, I’m terrified of people.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I mean I guess at this point it’s what is making me money although when I think professional I think of an old white guy who pretends he knows things that others don’t so that he can take advantage of them. I do other stuff; logos, styling, creative direction, videos, writing, casting, I dno it’s been a weird year, I can barely remember. I’m not sure what I’m tryna do going forward, I’m not really inspired to make photos rn cuz what’s the point, publication? Money? Clout? Exhibition? All v boring. I also really haven’t seen anything that I really like recently its much of the same, specially down here in South Africa, and the people and things that get a lot of attention are pretty ordinary for the most part. Meh, I dno. Some of my homies like Kyle and Imraan and some of my young homies who are way better than me keep me interested cuz they are from here and are doing the things, other than that its very fake you know, it’s all nonsense like any other form of media. Might just go back to coaching at the UCT graduate school of business next year and just giving the whole thing up.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

Right now I’m focusing on shooting with my Bronica ETR si with a 50mm lens. It’s new for me cuz I only ever shoot portrait when I shoot 35mm, so now shooting only landscape is like a whole new thing, but I like the fact that I’m really now presenting a scene as opposed to a subject with a backdrop. I want to start making moving pictures so framing with the Bronica is helping me to understand how to create scenes or sets or whatever. For 35mm film I have a Pentax K1000 from my grandpa and I’m on my third or fourth Olympus Trip, which is where it really all began for me. With the Pentax my best is a 28mm lens, for me its best for capturing a full body look when doing the fashion or streetstyle type things. I’ve gone through millions of point and shoots but I actually don’t have one at the moment, my two go-to’s were destroyed by a wave that covered the whole fucking beach and went onto the path, guess the ocean spirits were mad that I was shooting at the beach even though I hadn’t been to talk to them in a while. So as far as gear goes I’m here tryna rebuild a collection tbh ‘cause I had to let go of some stuff to be able to afford the Bronica, so the images I’ve submitted weren’t shot on any of these cameras besides the trip. For 35mm film my ultimate best is Fuji 400 not that Pro XP trash, just the normal one, its kinda rare here though. For 120mm its Kodak Portra 400. I’m not really like a gear head (I had to google the name of my camera to see how to write it proper), nor do I understand what the cameras can actually do, i just try to figure it out as I go.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

Ugh I used to be very motivated because clothing and streetwear was my thing, and photography allowed me to really be a part of that conversation. Now that fashion is super dead I’m really not sure what compels me to keep going. Probably those rare occasions when you see your shit and you’re like ‘ok, I’m not terrible at this’. But na forreal it really does make me sad that fashion and streetwear have died such a nerdy white death, that shit was my shit and now its gone. I guess maybe the idea that if I keep practicing and trying new things I might be able to make a short film or something one day that really actually reflects the small world I have inside of me. Other than that I’m not sure tbh, i just kind of don’t know how to stop at this point.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

I guess the air of romance that comes with exploring a medium in the way it was initially conceived. I’m not sure, for me it was born out of the fact that I couldn’t afford gear and I was in no way interested in learning how to edit and shit like that, my attention span is minute so sitting in front of a computer doing something I didn’t know how to do seemed impossible. Also when I was small it was just a cool thing man, cruising around with a sexy little point and shoot, the anticipation when you’re waiting to see what actually comes of it, the excitement when your ratio of good to kak isn’t so bad. All these things give the whole thing life for me. Not that I’m opposed to digital, this is just what I like now. Each photo is special cuz each one literally costs money and time. All my homies shoot on film too so it’s something we share as friends which is nice.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I mean I try not to actively seek out inspiration or to look at other photography for inspiration because I feel that’s where things become derivative and that sort of process leads us to the homogenous mess we’re currently in. It’s more like I live my life like I always have, I consume stuff that I consume because I like it and then when I have to do something I guess a mish mash of everything I’ve consumed plays a role in whatever I come up with. Who knows. Memory plays a big role though. Like we see and hear things and those things become little stories in our heads. Over time those stories change shape, we lose pieces, add pieces, whatever, to form new shapes and ideas. It’s like a myth you know, or an epic poem from before writing was invented, every time the story was told, it was changed a tiny bit. This is how culture moved at a point, through myth and memory. I like that. So by the time I’m tryna make something, that little idea that inspired me is very different from the way it originally looked. I don’t go back to check the reference, I work from memory, making something that’s a little bit new, something with a little bit of my brain in the mix, but something you’d immediately associate with the same feelings or whatever. That’s not to say that I’m not inspired by things. If things inspire feelings of longing, nostalgia, melancholy, hope, despair, cuteness, power, anarchy in me, those things generally make me feel like doing or making stuff, cuz ultimately I’d like to inspire certain feelings in people. Also there’s a bunch of artists I love and respect; Kyle Weeks, Katya Abedian, Kristin Moolman, Ib Kamara, Robbie Augspurger, Lotta Volkova, Wanda Lephoto, Kabelo Kungwane, Anees Petersen, Petra Collins, Johnny Dufort, Misha Taylor, Imraan Christian, Jade Ayla, Harley Weir, William Stroebeck, Sep and Simon, Jabu Newman, brands like Sunnei, Richardson and Martine Rose, Jamie Hawksworth, Dapper Dan, characters like Princess Gollum and Ketu Malesa, Gondo, Samuel Ross, Manthe Ribane, Larry Clark, Fela and Desire, Stiff Pap, Nico Krijno, Kalo, Bradley Abrahams, Rei Kuwakubo, Alexander McQueen, all my young homies, um….fuck there’s way too many actually I can barely think.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

Skating but I’m fat and old now and I don’t find much time for it and also the culture here is pretty toxic its a bunch of old salty whites blocking bags and opportunities for young brown people who are far far better than them, fr it’s such a sif thing to see and be associated with. I must say though, the first things I probably ever made I was proud of were definitely little skate edits on my phone so it was super important for me in terms of building confidence and engaging on social media. Um, I like to hang and party and things like that too. Love watching stuff, series cartoons things like that. Love clothing although there really isn’t anywhere to wear nice things to here. Talking kak with certain people is my favourite thing to do in the world. I love driving and listening to music when I get to choose the music, its my favourite thing in the whole world so i guess talking kak is my second favourite thing. Um, lamming with my puppy is jas. As far as creative exploits go I mean I’ll do anything literally, product design is my ultimate fantasy but we live in a kak place for the kind of stuff I like, also I’m too impatient to fuck w the process. I like drawing and graphic design but I suck so bad.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

I’d say the most important thing is to focus on your shit, the shit you like, the shit that makes you unique, the shit that you like to consume not because you wanna make it but because it resonates with you for reasons you don’t yet know. Don’t focus on photography, photography is a tool, it’s a vehicle for you to enter the conversations surrounding the things you like, instead of being consumers. Don’t let photography itself become the object of your obsession, you’ll run out of subject matter real quick and you’ll fall into the trap of making derivative shit you think others might enjoy. People can smell that shit from a mile away fr. I can’t reiterate this shit enough, be obsessed with the things you’re naturally drawn to and use photography to engage with them. Be a person, be a child before you are a photographer. Make sure you get the chance to play every role you might encounter on set, style something, model something produce something so you understand the experience from these perspectives. Be gentle, be willing to adapt, relax, let go, be willing to fail all the time. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Try something new every time you get the opportunity. Don’t listen to anyone, don’t listen to me either I don’t know fokol I swear. Don’t get caught up in our society’s current obsession with ‘creativity’ and ‘talent’, that shits not real, this shit isn’t special, it just so happens to be what certain people are compelled to do, and it just to happens to be marketable at the minute. Breathe in, breathe out. Do things with friends. Leave your camera at home. Check your intentions. Stop shooting from references. Most importantly, network horizontally, stop sucking dick of people you think have something to offer you, suck your damn friends dick, that homie beeeeen there, since before your ass knew what a photoshop was.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

Ugh had some things planned, some stuff fell through, some stuff fucked out so rn I’m not really sure. Gonna do young exhibition type thing December (2018). Mostly i’m tryna have fun and figure it out, this thing was never sposed to pain me as much as it has been lately so I’m really tryna reflect on what I’m actually doing here. But awe, I mean like I’m making work and practicing all the time even when I’m not putting stuff out there. Will do the big boy thing and approach agencies and stuff at some point so that’s like a vague goal. Videos and things too, like fictional shit, funny stuff, make people laugh, that kind of thing. When I’m ready, go back to focusing something that will help and inspire my young homies. It’s just like, this fake world is lame so really mostly focusing on where I’m even tryna be if that makes sense.

Instagram: @lukebelldoman

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All photos by Luke Bell Doman

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Ilan Godfrey

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The Harvestfrom the series ‘Harvest
Living With Crimefrom the series ‘Living with Crime

Ilan Godfrey (b. 1980, Johannesburg)
Johannesburg.

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

On a personal level, I am open to exploring various avenues that interest me and drive me to investigate and research further. These subjects are generally socio-political, environmental and resonate within the South African diaspora.

Describe your photographic style.

Documentary in approach, straddling the line between fine art and humanistic values.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

At 19 I boarded a plane to London, England where I studied two degrees in the medium; a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Photography and a Master of Arts in Photojournalism. It became my priority to document daily life, my travels across the world and ultimately find direction in my personal work, which resulted in me spending 11 years working on various projects related to socio-political issues within South Africa. Traveling between my hometown of Johannesburg and London (where I was based) allowed me to continue learning about my home country and the ongoing changes that were taking place.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

I always have a camera close by and like to have one with me most days when I am heading out. Although, when I make pictures, it is generally with a body of work in mind; a narrative, a collection of images that make up a larger project. It is also the context in which you are working and what you are trying to say: the single frame could support a larger project later down the line. It is subjective. There are no set rules it depends on what you do with those images and how you show them – what’s your message, your visual language?

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

Photography is my professional career.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I learnt photography shooting film as a child and shot on various 35mm cameras before moving over to medium format. When working with film, most of my personal projects are shot on a Mamiya 7II with a fixed 65mm f4 lens. Film stock varies although I do enjoy Kodak Portra 400 and 160.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

For me it is always about the story — a project that allows me to delve into a topic that may not usually get much public attention. I enjoy the challenge of scratching the surface, building narratives that are not obvious and essentially challenging on many levels. The process shifts from the craft to the issue at hand — I take on the role of an investigative journalist to a degree, using the photographic medium, sound, text and moving imagery as tools to bring the story to a wider audience.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

Whether working on film or digital it really comes down to what fits best for the situation or subject at hand. Understandably film is a slower process and it allows one to be more contemplative when framing up a composition. Personally, it gives me the time to think about what I want to say and why. Aesthetically it’s colour rendition, grain and the way it handles light is very special.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I would have to say that in the early stages of my career, fellow image makers specifically of South African decent and the likes of Magnum photographers had a major influence on my style and approach. ‘In Our Time’ , a book which my father had on his bookshelf when I was a youngster was an influential reference before the internet age.

Today, I generally focus more on the environment in which I live, the people I meet, the places I visit and the books and news articles I read. I am constantly questioning my work in its progress and development: what it is trying to say and how to move forward in creating new work.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I have become a tad obsessed with growing succulents and enjoy being in the garden. Generally I enjoy the outdoors, being in open spaces, fishing, walking and riding in nature. I am a father to a three year old boy, so I like to spend time with my family when I am not on the road. I also have a soft spot for the bush and head up north to take in the best South Africa has to offer when it comes to wildlife. I often think that I probably would have explored wildlife conservation as a career path if I hadn’t chosen to become a photographer… who knows, maybe I will combine the two in the future.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Keep shooting beyond the singular, beyond the pretty picture. Make work that speaks to a wider audience that engages people on many levels. Give your work purpose and meaning.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I am currently working on several new series and collaborating on a project that I hope will come to fruition with our first trip to Ethiopia. It is a global endeavor, challenging and understanding ‘leadership’ in all its forms. I will keep you posted with more details as it evolves.

Website: https://www.ilangodfrey.com/
Instagram: @ilangodfrey

Selects from the series ‘Panarama Place’:

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Selects from the series ‘Legacy of the Mine’:

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All photos by Ilan Godfrey

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Legend | Dale Yudelman

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Cape Town based photographer, Dale Yudelman, has been capturing images for over 40 years. Born and raised in Johannesburg, he began working as a press photographer in 1979, later living in London and Los Angeles and then returning to a new democratic South Africa. While working as a photojournalist, Yudelman shot his own projects, including his 1980s series Suburbs in Paradise, where he navigated the turbulent state of the nation through striking black and white film photographs.

The series was first exhibited in 1988 and since then he has continued his passion by releasing other bodies of work, as well as producing various book publications. Yudelman has been acknowledged and awarded internationally and he continues to enrich the local photographic landscape.

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Website: http://www.daleyudelman.com
Instagram: @daleyudelman

All photos by Dale Yudelman

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2019.

Vincent Bezuidenhout

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Vincent Bezuidenhout (b. 1978, Bloemfontein)
Currently living between Cape Town and New York City

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I enjoy exploring new places and finding a new image I have never taken before.

Describe your photographic style.

I am interested in the strengths of the medium, like its ability to record information for example, but equally I want to explore the many limitations inherent in making photographs.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

Not being confined to a studio practice allows me to interact with the world directly in a meaningful way. These interactions help me to make sense of my environment, often in the shape of people I meet, or experiences I will have, but which are not necessarily photographed. The making of a photograph is in turn imbued with the richness of this journey which increases my understanding of the subject matter.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

I rarely photograph something the first time, unless I have to, as my interest within the medium does not lie in one moment, but instead in images which exist within a much larger time frame. If I see something of interest and keep thinking about it I know there is something worth exploring and I will think how I can execute the image in a way that will suit a project. I sometimes take years before I make an image with the result that most of my bodies of work are simultaneously part of a larger whole.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I have worked in photography and photography related industries my entire career.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I use whatever camera is best suited for what I want to photograph. When I work with a large format camera I use a Sinar 8×10 camera with Kodak Ektar film.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

I work in a cyclical manner, and often after spending a few years on one project I will work on something different for a while. This allows me to reflect on past projects and subsequently to return to a previous way of working with a fresh perspective.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

I use film for its aesthetic qualities, obtained through both using a large format camera and from making large-scale prints. For these bodies of work, I prefer the subtle tonal values, gradation and image rendering of film as opposed to a digital camera.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

As a Tierney fellow I had the privilege of working with many great photographers and my early influences include The New Topographics and the Düsseldorf School. I continue to be inspire by both the old and the new, independent of medium specificity.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I have a research-intensive practice and with the research actually taking up most of my time I send on a project, which, luckily, I enjoy immensely. As an artist I also work in video and installation and enjoy finding ways of combing these elements with my photographic practice.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Don’t listen to people who give you tips on how to photograph.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I am currently working on a new body of photographs, combing various strategies I have used in previous projects about which I am very excited. In the future I want to continue to engage with the medium of photography as directly as I can, as it continues to shift and change.

Website: https://www.vincentbezuidenhout.com/
Instagram: @vincent_bezuidenhout

VB_Third_Nature_15

Canal Walk Food Court

2_Monwabisi_Resort

VB_Third_Nature_11

Birds of Eden

The Margaret

Mile End

The Biggest Pineapple in the World

5_Oudekraal

12_Soetwater

10_Kings_Beach

7_Strandfontein_Pavillion

All photos by Vincent Bezuidenhout

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