Deji Dada

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Deji Dada (b. 1993)
Pretoria

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

People, architecture, landscapes, festivals and sneakers.

Describe your photographic style.

I always struggle to describe my photographic style. To be honest, I don’t think I really can. If anything, my style pertains to whatever catches my eye – be it a serene landscape or an unsymmetrical beauty spot on a face. I love film photography. I find it exciting to put an idea on a roll and have to wait until it gets developed to see how the idea actually comes out. I like to think of the waiting aspect as the ‘green light’ at the end of Daisy’s dock.

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 sprouted so many different avenues in my life; from shooting for fun, to shooting for guest-list to see my favourite local and international musicians perform, to co-founding a South African online magazine, Our Friends. Amidst all of this, becoming an influence in the lives of friends and acquaintances. I’ve found that strutting through your favoured medium can help plant a seed in another person’s mind. This can enable them to create some kind of cultured turbulence through the use of their favoured medium.

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

I quite enjoy shooting familiar things; objects or people as if it’s my first time doing so. I like to throw away any form of experience I might have as I feel it may limit me. Perspective generally plays a large role in a photographer’s viewpoint but I feel it can be limiting too. I don’t think there is a right way to take a ‘good photo’. It’s not always necessarily all about the way perspective plays out in the photo, it’s how you feel while you’re taking the photo. I don’t have a certain technique to get my artistic point across, it all comes to mind in the moment. Thus, perspective plays a continuously changing role in my photography.

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

Photography is my side-chick. It’s given me a platform to make money whilst having fun and testing how far my creative boundaries go. If I’m not shooting, I’m working full-time at a business incubator called Awethu Project or co-managing Our Friends.

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

My first camera was a Sony Cybershot which belonged to my mother. My sister and I used to bounce it between each other, then I moved on to a little compact SLR, an Olympus E-PL1, followed by a Canon Rebel T2i. I now spend my time with a Canon EOS 300, Nikkormat FT2 and a Voigtlander Vitoret DR.

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

Progress is a key motivator for me. Looking back at where I’ve come from and attempting to be mindful of where I thought I would be really encourages me. Being surrounded by innovative creatives who are continuously pushing past the threshold also encourages me. I just wish to tell stories and envelop others’ imaginations.

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

I started shooting with film when I truly started taking photography seriously. Dennis Auburn‘s work really captivates and sets off bursts of colour in my mind. Cary Fagan is another photographer that has always been able to inspire the way I see inanimate objects. A few other photographers that occasionally make me feel like putting my camera down forever include;  Savannah Van der Niet, Erez Avissar, Duran Levinson, Nikki Zakkas, Andile Buka and Roman Spillman.

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

I quite enjoy blogging, hoarding sneakers and spending time with friends and family. I also seem to spend quite a bit of my time exploring the internet in search of music I can send to my friends in order to maintain long distant relationships.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Understand what you’re shooting and why you’re shooting it. Be able to get people to see exactly what you see. Never be fully content of your work so you can always strive to improve it.

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

At the moment I’m looking at collaborating with a couple photographers around both South Africa and America. (Once completely formalised you’ll be the first to know!) I will be travelling to New York in April and attempting to photograph the city in ways that aren’t generic to the general Manhattan-infatuated human being.

Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?

If I had to choose a word that sums up my portfolio best it would be ‘disjointed’. I can’t help but love taking photos of everything. I feel as though every photographer has their own personal way of expressing themselves – I like things. However, I do try to look for an ease, minimalism and depth of feelings to create the sensation of cosiness in the human eye.

Tumblr: http://www.dejidadaphotography.tumblr.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dejidadaphotography/
Instagram: @dej_dada

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All photos by Deji Dada

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

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Kent Andreasen

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Kent Andreasen (b. 1991, Johannesburg)
Currently living in Cape Town.

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

It’s hard to say. I shoot such a wide array of subject matter. I guess there is a feeling I get from certain scenes that then translates to me wanting to photograph them. To explain the feeling is hard. It’s kind of like the sensation of seeing someone who you haven’t had in your life for a while, like a rush of excitement or a strange compulsion.

Describe your photographic style.

It’s simple. That’s the only way to describe it. I wouldn’t try and describe it in high detail as it changes and evolves as I experience new things. As long as my work is changing and I’m still excited to shoot then I’m happy.

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 really been a vehicle to see the world. Commissions have taken me far and wide up to this point and they continue to do so. The one thing I have learned is that no matter where you go in the world there are people grinding it out everyday to provide for themselves and their significant others. I think that is the biggest defining factor – we all form part of this framework with the same goal. We often lose sight of this and divide ourselves. We forget how similar we are.

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

With the cameras I use, all of the thinking and composing happens before the shot. I guess that’s why I’ve always liked shooting film – you think, construct and then shoot. Nowadays, it seems the norm to “reverse engineer” the making of images by blasting off a thousand shots and then deciding which shots you like afterwards. That almost makes you more of a curator and less of a photographer.

As mentioned before, the image making happens when I get that sensation of excitement and intrigue. I contemplate it for a few moments, compose and off I go. I don’t waste frames and if I make a mistake then so be it. I find I get better results if I’m decisive. The image is there, I can see it in my viewfinder, and I know what it will look like once I’ve snapped the shot.

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

Photography is my career indeed.

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

Various 6×7 cameras, and I tend to only use Portra stocks.

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

Taking images all started for me as something I enjoyed to do just because. It has always felt really simple, like I was five years old again, being happy to be putting sand in a bucket for hours on end. I’ve tried to keep that simplicity as I’ve started doing photography as a career. I don’t take it too seriously in terms of the actual making of images. Obviously, with the business side of things and making sure you deliver is high up there, but I remind myself that I’m doing something I really love and that I need to really be conscious of enjoying it even though it can be fickle as hell and full of ups and downs. I get anxiety when I think of having an office job, so that also keeps the fire burning to a certain extent, ha-ha.

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

I like looking at other images for sure, but I’m more inspired by going through life and the experiences I have day-to-day. Toying with my existence on this planet and finding out where it takes me. I’m also lucky to have people around me that work in various crafts that I find massively interesting and that are completely out of my field.

If I had to name a few I would say; Marton Perlaki, Andrew Querner, Mat Hay, Gregory Halpern, David Chancellor and Maureen Drennan.

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

I really enjoy being in the ocean, body boarding and surfing. It gives me the same sort of happiness and simplicity as photography. It has also taught me a lot about myself.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Don’t get caught up in gear talk. Find a set-up that works for you and then forget about that side of photography. Go out and shoot as much as you can and enjoy yourself out there. Buy a light meter and treat your film with thought and respect.
Be conscious of your growth and when you stop having fun give your camera away and do something else.

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

I’m keen to expand my career commercially to the point where I can sustain a small studio set-up at home with everything I need to make images. Simple living. I want to be able to keep the same fire I have now until I die or go blind (not to sound morbid). Travel is always on the horizon so we will see.

Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?

Putting my work in categories doesn’t really work for me, as I like the variety of subject matter I shoot. I don’t see one less than another. So I hope a combination of images sums up my work best.

Website: http://www.kentandreasen.com/
Tumblr: http://www.kent-andreasen.tumblr.com/
Instagram: @kentandreasen

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All photos by Kent Andreasen

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

Gabriella Achadinha

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Gabriella Achadinha (b. 1990, Bloemfontein)
Residing in Cape Town for 8 years now

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Moments of contemplation in strangers, spaces – be it urban or organic, children, fooling around with humans I love or admire, moments of raw emotion – street photography.

Describe your photographic style.

Indecisive, and yet to form. Still in the process.

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 almost impossible to put the camera down, it becomes a sort of engulfing obsession that hones in on the ‘perfect’ composition, colour palette, subjects, etc. in everyday life. You begin to see everything through a frame, and in a way this creates a separation. The more I photograph, the more introverted I become, the imagery I enjoy capturing– street photography – involves a form of social disconnect in order to observe.

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

Generally I just walk around alone and wait for something to catch my eye. Sometimes it will be a productive day with plenty of shots and other times I’ll walk away with nothing – that’s the beauty of it, the unpredictability.

With regards to fashion (more conceptually driven shoots), I’ll mull for hours over screen-shots from relevant films, artworks and poems/quotes from novels and attempt to piece a storyboard. I oscillate between an extreme planned-out approach and a very relaxed, spontaneous approach.

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

I do the occasional photography job, but I predominantly work in production and wardrobe in the film industry.

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

Nikon F100, Agfa Vista 200 and Kodak Porta 400. Nikon D810 for the digital.

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

I tend to look to artists, cinematographers and writers for motivation, going back to a list of favourites helps in refuelling. I also have a whole board of photography work by local and international photographers that I love. I find it helps in building enthusiasm around the craft ,but it also serves as way to recognise what not to try and emulate.

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

The art of René Magritte, Eiko Miyara, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Paul Gauguin.

The cinematography of Roger Deakins, Christopher Doyle, Robby Muller (Paris, Texas).

The photography of Helen Levitt, Richard Misrach, Harley Weir, Juergen Teller, Tim Kondrat, Joachim Brohm, Janet Delaney, Viviane Sassen, Peter Magubane, Kristin-Lee Moolman, Tony Gum, Adrian de sa Garces, Johno Mellish.

All the John Steinbeck books.

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

Traveling, hiking, painting (very badly), writing.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

I don’t feel as if I’m in any position to give out advice, but one thing I do believe is that it’s all about enjoying yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously, play around, there are no rules.

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

Planning a mixed-media exhibition with illustrator/artist Marlize Eckard titled ‘Mono No Aware’, that combines her painting with my photographs of Japan and Seoul.

The start of 2017 also marks the beginning of work on a personal series, ‘A Land Together Apart’, which has been a very long time in the conceptualisation phase.

Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?

I’d say the ‘Spaces & Faces: In an Iberian Landscape’ and ‘Japan Japan’ photographs were my favourites in terms of uniting travel and spontaneity – some of the images I look at and still feel semi-happy about, which is rare, so I’m guessing that combination works for me.

Trying to juggle the film industry and photography has been a bit tough but I look forward to growing in a more conceptual direction as well.

Website: http://www.gabriellaachadinha.tumblr.com/
Instagram: @gabriella_achadinha_the_xvi

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All photos by Gabriella Achadinha

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

Luke Daniel

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Luke Daniel (b. 1989)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I enjoy photographing people and their relationships with the landscapes they live or operate in. I guess I’d describe myself as a social documentary photographer, focusing on fringe societies, often isolated, rural communities. I’m also obsessed with light, its subtleties and its influence on atmosphere and mood.

Describe your photographic style.

Cinematic social documentary photography aimed at intriguing and engaging story-telling.

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)?

The photographic medium has really served as a tool for me to better understand and explore the world around me, through diverse communities and landscapes, unpacking the complex cultural microcosms which exist, particularly in South Africa. The camera has afforded me the opportunity to move between people and places, assuming the role of viewer and participant at will – to live many different lives.

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

There is an approach to commercial work, which is far more structured compared to my personal (non-commissioned) work – which isn’t to say there is no ‘art’ in commercial work, nor no structure in personal work.

Personally, if something looks good – if the light is beautiful and it conveys a mood (to me in the moment) – I’ll release the shutter. Photographic essays are built around themes that interest me, ideas that I can’t get out of my head, things that keep me awake at night.

When it comes to image making, it’s like building, photo by photo, a strong aesthetic structure, while peeling back the multifaceted layers of the subject. Eventually (hopefully) telling a captivating story, composed of many fascinating moments in time.

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

I’m fortunate enough to make a living from photography, but often the stress put on creativity is frustrating. Creativity is a hard thing to quantify and to sustain across multiple fields in order to make a (meagre) buck.

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

I shoot all commercial work with digital gear (Canon), but I most enjoy shooting film. My gear case usually consists of three Minolta 35mm SLRs – my favorite being the X-700 (with a 50mm 1.7 lens), the other body has a wide (24mm 2.8) lens and the seldom used Minolta 7000 Maxxum has a telephoto (70mm-210mm) lens. I also shoot instant film on the Fujifilm Instax Wide (which usually serves to produce keepsakes for subjects I may never see again).

I shoot with quite simple film stock, usually Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400/800. If I can get my hands on some X-TRA 1600, that’s a real treat. If I’m shooting monochrome (which these days is seldom) I’ll use Kodak Tri-X 400.

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

I just enjoy creating images, hearing and telling stories. Piecing together a body of photographic work keeps me motivated. Waiting for film to come back from the lab keeps me excited.

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

I’m more inspired by film (moving images) than I am by stills photography – Sergio Leone films, cinematic Westerns, complimented by Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack. Possibly the greatest atmospheric, visual story-telling duo.

I’m also more inspired by literature than by photographs. Herman Charles Bosman (South Africa’s finest storyteller) and Stuart Cloete are huge influences.

More than anything though, South Africa inspires me. Her people and landscapes and everything in between. I would never want to tell stories of another place.

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

I enjoy driving, travelling the highways and dirt roads of this incredible country. South Africa is my greatest interest. Sometimes I play harmonica around bonfires.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Follow the light and feel something before you release the shutter.

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

I’d like to travel South Africa more, go even further off the beaten track, get lost and get weirder, record (and hopefully return with) images of adventure and abandon. I also want to start working with moving images, I feel it’s a natural progression from stills, and (maybe even) a greater medium for story-telling.

Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?

The work that I’m always most passionate about is my works that are still in progress. I always try and better my images, story-telling and technique, so most times it’s hard to still be in love with completed work.

I regularly retreat into the pine forests of Knysna to work with woodcutters and moonshiners and a host of other isolated characters living on the fringe. I photograph it all on film, and at the moment it stands as my most meaningful body of work, aesthetically, technically, and conceptually.

Website: http://www.lukedanielphotography.com/
Instagram: @maddogdaniel
Email: lukedanielphoto@gmail.com

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All photos by Luke Daniel

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

This City is a DEAD TOWN

Film is not dead. Analogue photography is very much alive. This blog is a testament to that very fact.

Focusing on young, contemporary South African photographers, with curated images and engaging interviews, we will highlight the art of picture making.

Feel free to contribute your work to our showcase as we also aim to produce printed publications (zines & photo books) and vivid exhibitions.

The original seed was planted at http://thiscityisadeadtown.blogspot.co.za/, but now we simplify the name, bring it new life and amplify the fact that one is capturing a moment in time, forever gone.

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

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