I made most of the photographs in this book with either a Holga (a 99% plastic camera) or a pinhole camera. I used black and white film, most of which I developed myself, because I wanted the photographs to feel nostalgic and to look as if I’d snatched them right out of time and look a bit rough, like scattered and discarded moments recovered, not from history but from the many moments in-between history. Was it shot in 2008 or 1908? The imperfections are not incidental, they're important.
I suppose I could have done it all with a digital camera and Photoshop but I felt the questionable quality and uncertainty of shooting with low fidelity equipment and processing the film on my own added an often appealingly random quality to the images. Along the way, I’ve had rolls of film get accidentally exposed to the light, cameras fail, shutters get stuck open and winding mechanisms slip, either due to mechanical failure, weather conditions or operator error. Introduce a little chaos into your creative process and you never know what might happen. It might be something wonderful or it might not.
Why, then go to all that trouble? In part because the potential for surprise is priceless but, ultimately, because most of the art that really moves me, does so because rather than compete with the din of the modern world, it transports me, however briefly, from the brilliant and mundane distractions and attractions of my daily life into an unfamiliar context.
Suspension of disbelief is unnecessary because everything is simultaneously familiar and strange.
So then, think of each image here as a fragment of a story, taken at the end, at the beginning or somewhere in the middle.
If nothing else, I hope these photographs serve as a pleasant and nostalgic reminder of a time that never really was.
I was given my first camera when I was 10. It was a budget-friendly, yet fully manual 35mm SLR with a built-in light meter. I had my first photo credit in a professional publication when I was 12. It gave me an attitude and while I never gave up photography, I felt I'd learned all I needed to know, I seriously wondered if photography was or could be art and so I let it recede into the background of my life as I pursued the many of the other interests most people call growing up. It is, perhaps a ridiculous point of pride but most, if not all, of the optical characteristics in my photographs are done, not in Photoshop but in-camera. I do not use filters to make my work look like film, I just use film. While I own and use digital cameras and technologies, I feel I get more of what moves me in photography, from film and vintage, arcane and "low-fi" cameras. I am not interested in capturing reality, I am interested in creating something evocative, using reality as one ingredient.
Dickens Christmas Fair - 2011 Published December 21, 2011