Dylan Culhane

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Dylan Culhane (b. 1981)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Landscapes and portraits.

Describe your photographic style.

My primary focus is on multiple exposure photography, but more broadly speaking my preoccupation is with in-camera techniques like distortion, blur, long exposure, filtration and decay that manipulate objective reality towards abstraction.

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)?

Multiple exposure photography first presented itself to me in the form of technical error, in my early days as an avid ‘Lomographer’. Over several years I developed this aesthetic, spurred on by the desire to make work that was original and evocative; images that would really draw you in and keep you looking as long as possible.

More recently I’ve realised how this approach to photography has fundamentally affected the way I see the world. Photography tends to celebrate the idea of a ‘decisive moment’ but, with respect to Henri Cartier-Bresson, this is entirely contrary to our experience of reality. Reality is in perpetual flux, never settling for an instant and accordingly our perception of the world is messy and multi-dimensional. Photography is the physical component of exploring this metaphysical idea; the hands-on work I do to make sense of my evolving world view. I’d go as far to say that photography has played a major role in my spiritual awakening.

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?

My approach for multiple exposure photography is to perceive an environment as open mindedly as possible. So (for example) I’ll look at the lichen on a rock near my feet and then at a mountain in the distance and think how they might be unified in a single image. After all, they’re unified in my perception of that moment. Both the rock lichen and the distant mountain are part of this moment I’m in, this moment I’m trying to capture.

Regarding bodies of work, I question that construct sometimes. It can feel like photography isn’t substantial enough unless it’s grouped into a coherent series of images. I think I only have one body of work, which is an ongoing collection of half-imagined urban and natural landscapes; my lifetime’s work.

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

I work as a creative director for a company that creates video and photographic content, so even though I don’t shoot for a living, my knowledge of photography and film-making is crucial to what I do. I sell a fair amount of prints in my personal capacity, but not enough to justify giving up my day job at this stage.

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

Most of my work over the last 10 years has been made with a Nikon F100 & 35mm prime lens. I even have a brand new F100 I found a while back in a box waiting for the day my current body falls apart! I love playing around with unusual lenses, with the Petzval 85 and Helios 44-2 being two favourites. For medium format work I use a Mamiya 6, and maintain that it produces the most pristine images you’ll ever see.

I don’t get too hung up on film stock because I don’t need to worry about perfectly rendered skin tones and whatnot when working in the abstract realm. I love experimenting with different stocks all the time, but good ol’ Fuji Superia 400 is probably my favourite — it’s affordable and offers the degree of latitude I need for multiple exposure photography.

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

I think I’m lucky to have started my photographic journey in a paradigm of experimentation with the medium, and I have a feeling this preoccupation will keep me busy for a lifetime. Currently I’m building an online shop to sell my prints, so I think the next chapter in my journey that will keep me enthusiastic will be more entrepreneurial than creative. I’ve exhibited quite widely and used to own a photography gallery, but I’m deeply disillusioned with this old-fashioned, exclusive, and often exploitative mode of selling art. I’m very excited about the new frontier of self-determination open to all artists in the online age.

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

There are tons of photographers whose work I love and admire (Ryan McGinley is probably at the top of that list), but honestly very few have any influence on the work I do. I think I’m more inspired by ideas in painting that emerged in the previous century (Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism); ideas that exploded our straightforward conception of the observable world.

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

I love hiking and just being outdoors. The intersection of my passions for nature and photography is a source of immense joy in my life.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

You absolutely have to experiment in order to find your unique voice. Infrared film with a star-point filter underwater at night? Sure, why not?? Tumblr and Instagram are breeding homogeneity, so try hunting for old photography books at charity shops and markets instead. Some of the wildest photographic ideas I’ve ever encountered – and tried out – were buried in a really corny-looking book called ‘Adventures in Color-Slide Photography’ c. 1976!

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

My online shop should hopefully be live soon, and I think I’ll need to validate that endeavour with a new exhibition later this year. I started photography when I was about 15 years old, and I’m playing the long game. My greatest ambition is to be regarded as a master of the art form and still creating fresh, compelling images when I’m in my eighties.

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

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All photos by Dylan Culhane
Multiple exposures on film

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

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

William Sheepskin

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William Sheepskin (b. 1995, Somerset West)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I don’t really know if there are any specific things I enjoy more than others, a lot of the process for me is the interactions with people and how the image ends up being made. In a purely visual sense I have the most fun doing super contrasty black and white, sci-fi-ish stuff. I wouldn’t say I enjoy that more than I enjoy doing colour portraits of people though, I try to have fun in everything I do.

Describe your photographic style.

EPIC. Not in the epic = amazing or awesome way though, epic like the poems, or a wide open landscape, that sort of epic. I enjoy monumentalism in pictures and have been told my portraits are sensationalist in nature, which is probably true. I don’t go out of my way to make things look the way I want them to, but I am aware that the inherent fallacy of photography is that when you photograph something, you get back a reflection of yourself. I’m probably compensating for something personal by trying to make my subjects as powerful as I do — wowsers that was introspective.

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 have issues with social anxiety and being in spaces with loads of people at once. Having a camera with me helps me to slow down and focus on specific things rather than being overwhelmed by my surroundings. On a grander scale, I decided to go and get a BA in photography at UAL in London, UK so I moved specifically for the sake of developing myself photographically.

The constant back and forth between Cape Town and London allows me to acclimatise to two very different lifestyles, which in turn has an impact on the way I interpret the world around me. I don’t really make much work in London, I spend my time there planning things to do in Cape Town, then do the things in Cape Town and develop them further in London. I’ve found that it works quite well so far.

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?

In terms of individual shots, I try to find a way to make them stand well on their own. My fallback tactic is to make things striking, but lately I’m trying to get more into the quiet, understated side of visuals as well.

For bodies of work, I spend a whole bunch of time planning, story boarding and hand drawing the general look of shots that I’d like to go for. I think the flow of the images and the way they interact in a body of work is just as important as the images themselves. I had a book featured at OffPrint at the Tate Modern last year, it was 70% words and 30% images but the way they interacted was the reason it worked. The images were almost a response to the little story I made, and what I’m trying to do now is make images that are a response to other images in the same body of work.

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

I’d like for it to be my professional career but for now I work in a travel bookstore to make money to pay for processing and film, haha. I do get photographic jobs as well, they can just be quite few and far between sometimes and I need a way to keep myself constantly rolling in the Portra and Noritsu scans.

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

I’ve managed to sort myself a dream setup recently so I mainly work with a Mamiya 7ii and Contax G2. I’d kind of like to work exclusively in 120, 6×7 format but I have an RB67 that’s been giving me constant issues for years now, so 135 is still my go to for stuff that needs to be focused closer than 1m (darned rangefinders). I probably take too many snap-shotty pictures to justify only using 6×7 anyway.

In terms of film stock, my favourite is probably Provia 100f, but slides are very expensive to work with so I try to use them sparingly. Besides slides it’s really whatever I feel like using. I use loads of expired Kodak stocks like the Portra VC and NC, and for bodies of work I like to play it safe and use Portra 400 and 160.

My go-to for black and white is Tmax 400, but I also use TriX. I used to only use Tmax since it was more forgiving, but still contrasty in terms of self-developing with hc110 specifically, but I was never really happy with my personal results. Now I pay someone to do the hard work for me and can use whatever I like, haha. (Support yer local lab!)

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

I tend to lose enthusiasm when I’m not around things I’d like to photograph. I counter this by reflecting on work I’ve already made, and asking myself how I can respond to it with what I make next. I also spend a lot of time self-critiquing and the thought that I can do something better the next time excites me.

I’m in constant competition with myself and try not to compare my work to that of other people – doing so would drain me pretty quickly I reckon.

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

I take a lot of influences from things outside of photography. I really like Japanese woodcut prints, the specificity and compositional savvy the good ones show really get me going.

My main influences are interactions with people though — most of my friends are creatives of some sort and I take influence from their processes and mannerisms. I like listening to what people have to say and trying to adapt their general ideas and mannerisms into an image.

In terms of photographers I find influential, I’d separate them into two groups; people I know that I find very influential, and people I don’t know that influence me on an aesthetic level.

In terms of very influential people, I’d say Jonothan Ferreira has had a profound impact on my work ethic and has been around giving me industry tips from day one. Rosie Matheson who stopped me on the street for a portrait the first day I was in London and has since become a friend is one of the calmest people I’ve ever met and the way I’ve found she interacts with sitters has helped me in terms of portrait making immensely.

Kent Andreasen constantly blows my mind simply with the barrage of visual perfection that is his work. I often look at photographs and think wow that’s amazing but there’s this one little thing that could’ve made it better, with Kent’s work its like he’s noted the one little thing, gotten rid of it, and compensated for the fact that it ever existed by doubling the visual impact. I don’t understand how he does what he does, he’s a magician (and Kent makes me want to be a magician, haha).

My friend Aubrey Ndiweni is a master of the retro aesthetic, he and I have gone on many an adventure and done some lovely collaborations. He’s ridiculously good at getting something to look a very specific way — his way. I learned most of what I know about having a creative vision from him.

People that influence me on an aesthetic level are; Jamie Hawkesworth, Pieter Hugo, Petra Collins, Laura Pannack (I assisted her once and her manner with sitters is amazing as well), Ryan McGinley, Helmut Newton, Alec Soth, Harley Weir, Ren Hang, Henrik Purienne, and Jean Pierrot. I could go on for a long time, but that’s a solid list.

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

I really enjoy film-making. I make music videos for my friend CLBRKS which aren’t exactly award winning, but the moving image is something I’d like to get more into. I draw a bunch and play video games competitively sometimes too.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Hmmm, my top tip would be to be brave enough to tell someone they’ve done a poor job scanning your film if you’ve paid for it, and to learn how to retouch a scan to look right. Also spend loads of time in the dark room, if you can — hand prints of pictures are a totally different ball game to a scan.

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

I’m in the middle of an ongoing series, documenting people on beaches in places I grew up. I’m hoping it’ll end up being an autobiography of sorts. I’m going to make a book out of this series. I’m also in the process of putting together a book of black and white sci-fi sets I’ve done since I really love that sort of thing, but it’s a bit too niche to be successful online I reckon.

In the future I’d like to make enough money from photography to pay for photography and groceries. That’s about it really.

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

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All photos by William Scheepers

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

Carl David Jones

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Carl David Jones (b. 1987, Durban)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Portraits, people, fashion based stories. If the light is good, I’ll enjoy pushing the shutter.

Describe your photographic style.

Lo-fi, balanced and for the most part still figuring that out. All I want is for my imagery to be memorable and recognisable. If it’s not, then I’m doing something wrong.

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’m quite an observant little fucker with the memory of a gold fish. Photography helps me remember things the way they were when they were shot. Some images happen spontaneously while others can take weeks to make. Creating images has had a solid impact on my life, it’s the thing I want to do everyday. Pictures > Words in my opinion and connecting with people.

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?

That is something that’s hard to explain — you can have these thoughts running through your head, ideas that might evolve into something and others that will die off. Write them down, expand on them, ask why. After a while, sometimes in the strangest of places, something clicks. Nurture that “click” and turn the idea into something physical, or that idea gathers dust and will disappear.

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

I studied engineering at university, taught English in Asia, and now I’m a photographer by profession.

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

Contax T2, Nishika N8000 and at the moment Fujifilm Superia 200.

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

I wish someone had told me about the roller coaster I was getting myself into before becoming an image maker. Motivation is bullshit. Humans are not designed to do things that are scary, uncomfortable or difficult. Our brains are designed to protect us from situations like that. We are only motivated to do things that are easy. As an image maker you have to believe in what you are making and by putting yourself in those scary, uncomfortable and difficult situations you keep yourself enthusiastic about your work. We are all guilty of having a horrible habit of hesitating. I’m guilty of it too.

I still shit myself going up to someone asking if I can take their picture — that doesn’t become too much easier over time, though dealing with the rejection gets easier. Not everyone digs getting their picture made.

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

I can’t be in one place for too long, physically yes, but mentally too. I need to travel and go to new places to feel influenced by my surroundings, the people and the landscape. Just being out there and being willing to experience new things is influence enough for me.

The photographers who influence me the most are actually photographers I have met and are for the most part people I have worked with or are close friends. Seeing my mates and artists I admire pushing themselves and always making the ‘new new’ is inspiration enough.

I enjoy so many different photographers for completely different reasons but the first times I saw Mario Testino, Mert & Marcus, Rankin and Txema Yeste work I was moved.

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

I like running fast for a long time.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Learn from someone who has done it before and cultivate your style on the knowledge passed down from the professionals who have been there and done that. Always be open to learning new things.

Shoot good images on your phone or digital camera before moving to film, unless you dig wasting money and shit photos.

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

I’ve got some series that I’ve been working on but they seem like they are going to take quite some time to complete (and I’m ok with that). I’m part of Back Chat Boys Vol.2 zine which is coming to SA soon. Only 100 copies to come here so the launch and exhibition will be announced soon — get amped. Looking at going to Asia again soon for about three months if all comes together. Hope to grow as an image maker and work with some talented people in the field and get my work published across the globe.

>> Read all about Carl’s 3D GIFs here.

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

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All photos by Carl David Jones

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