Gina van der Ploeg (b. 1994)
What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?
I always take pictures of landscapes. I used to aim for variation but eventually succumbed to the fact that most of my images will be of nature. My photographs become a kind of panoramic list of places I’ve been to and expanses I’ve looked upon.
Describe your photographic style.
I love everything and anything soft; flowers, grass, clouds, water with dramatic horizon lines. I often try to bring attention to the beauty of textures and detail interspersed with landscapes/dreamscapes, often whimsical and comforting (at least to me).
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)?
Shooting with film really changes the way you see moments that unfold around you, it takes time to set up a shot and there have been many moments I have missed in the time it took to load or wind the film. Seeing the world through this analogue frame helps me to appreciate beauty in the small and the big things, and just to be grateful for my eyes and all that they experience, and for my body’s ability to take me on adventures.
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 shoot outside of a studio and don’t usually stage images. I find that it helps to walk around, constantly looking through your viewfinder, changing your levels, and then trying not to second guess yourself/feel precious about the film and just take the image. Over the years of shooting film I’ve collected an inventory of images, I enjoy playing around with combinations of old and new images to create a body of work, as this often takes my photographs in a direction I couldn’t have imagined/planned.
Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?
No, I recently finished a degree in Fine Art and am busy with a BA Honours looking at aesthetic, artistic and religious practices in South Africa.
What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.
I shoot primary with a Minolta X-700 and sometimes with a Mamiya ZE-2. I generally shoot with Fugifilm Superia ASA200 (for outdoor shooting) and Ilford B&W ASA125, all 35mm.
Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?
I like that I can tell stories and create narratives. Photography is a relatively quick way to portray something beautiful or something new, nostalgic or to direct the way someone thinks about an object or a landscape. I love physically being outside and in nature and I love art that one can touch or experience beyond simply looking. I enjoy the challenge of creating a photograph that draws you in in a similar way.
In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?
When I wait to receive a newly developed roll of film, that anticipation reminds me why I shoot film. It’s a tangible, physical process. The limited number of shots helps me to focus on the photograph I am taking. I love the mechanical click of the shutter and love knowing that other people have used my cameras before me, that they had a life before I started using them.
What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.
The first thing I respond to when taking a photograph is the light. Using natural light means that I always have to check my light meter and let as much light into the lens as possible. I like the idea of having to be sensitive and respond to what is physically in the picture; the light becomes a very palpable part of taking the photograph. I love water, movement, weather and textures! Inspiration: Sama Alshaibi (photography), Anselm Kiefer (painting), Igshaan Adams (sculpture), Khadija M Farah (photography), Mona Hatoum (sculpture), Silvia Conde (photography).
What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)
I make wearable and touchable sculptures and love any kind of dance and movement that is produced as we try and navigate spaces in a meaningful way. I love being outdoors — my interest in movement and landscape often takes me to the beach or to the mountain.
Any tips for aspiring film photographers?
Get to know your camera properly and give yourself a few rolls before being too hard on yourself! You have to embrace the waiting period and you will be so amazed by the depth of colour and texture that film conveys.
What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?
I hope to travel to Japan and am eager to be in a space where people actively connect with their natural environment and interrogate their position in it. Aside from this sensitivity to nature, Japan also holds incredible photographic opportunities which I am so excited for!
All photos by Gina van der Ploeg
DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2018.