Duran Levinson (b. 1988)
What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?
Portraiture, fashion and street photography are my passions within film photography.
Describe your photographic style.
I shoot on film, mainly 35mm and use point and shoot cameras. I like to make images that are fairly simple but have a unique aspect that bring the image together and show the viewer a story or moment in time that has some sort of impact.
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)?
I started taking photography seriously about three years ago when I started travelling through Asia. I documented all my travels on the one film camera I had at the time and the project ended up being successful and was published. After that I decided I would continue with the film photography and it has given me so many opportunities, in terms of visiting countries, and making amazing friends around the world.
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 try not take myself or my work too seriously. I like to plan my shoots but I rely a lot on spontaneous moments and locations to influence the final product. All my Asia work from the fashion to street projects relied a lot on “in the moment” situations and nothing was too heavily planned. I feel like unless I am doing a specific shoot with an end goal in mind I like to leave room for as much creativity as possible within a moment.
Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?
I am a full-time freelancer, but my main income is as an on-set camera and visual effects assistant on international feature films and TV series. In the past two years photography has become a large part of my creative work and it is slowly becoming my full-time job. I am actually focusing on becoming a Director and D.O.P. and having skills as a photographer helps a lot with regards to these fields.
What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.
I used to collect a lot of film cameras but after a while I sold pretty much all of them. The cameras I use at the moment are a Contax T2, Contax G2, Leica Minilux and a Pentax Me Super. I shoot on any film I can get my hands on for a good price, but usually Agfa Vista and Kodak Portra.
Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your work?
I constantly try take photos and portraits even if I cant get my shit together and pre-plan the locations and situations. The whole process of shooting on film and working with analog techniques keeps it interesting and creatively challenging at times.
What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or things that generally inspire your image-making process.
I’m mainly influenced by filmmakers and Directors of Photography. Roger Ballen, a local photographer who I was lucky enough to meet with recently.
Gasper Noe, an Argentinian director who has made some incredibly disturbing and beautiful movies, such as ‘Enter the Void’ & ‘Love’.
Alejandro Jodorowsky who directed movies such as: ‘The Holy Mountain’ & ‘El Topo’.
Jürgen Schadeberg, whom in my opinion is one of the best photographers of all time. His work is a huge inspiration and I would recommend his photos to anyone who has never heard of him.
What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)
Anything that involves cameras, skateboards, Asian food and travelling.
Any tips for aspiring film photographers?
Shooting on film will improve your photography, there’s no question about it.
What lies on the horizon (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels etc)? And what do you hope to achieve in the future?
I have an exhibition in America this month. A couple in Asia this year and a few photo-zines coming out on independent labels. I have my first solo book coming out in a few months and it will be published by Coy Culture in London.
I’ll be working mainly in China for the next couple of months, focusing on directing commercials and my film photography.
Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?
I’d say my work is divided into two distinct styles; Portraiture and Street – which you can check out over on my website.
All photos by Duran Levinson
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