Exploring Film: A Never-Ending Journey

Film Club

Ander Kazmerski is a regular long time customer and Film Club Member at PhotoLounge. The photos that he tags us in on Instagram and submits to the photo contest have always caught our eye so we thought it would be great to share some of his work with the community here. 

Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: As a kid, I remember dropping off disposable cameras at the local CVS and waiting for the prints to come back. I was curious about where the camera went and how whatever was inside the camera got turned into a physical object I could hold. The time between dropping the camera off and getting the photos back was sometimes the most exciting part of the process. Of course, that wait time was cut down immensely with the invention of the "1-Hour photo" service and then completely wiped out altogether with the arrival of the digital photograph. I guess the magic of film; what it is, what it does, and how it makes me feel - is what got me interested in film many years ago and keeps me going with film today. 

Q: What kind of camera do you shoot with and what type of film do you usually use? 
A: Today, my primary camera is a Canon A-1, and I mainly shoot on Portra 400 and Ilford Delta 3200 (35mm). I have been trying out some 120 film on a borrowed Rolleiflex but don't see myself using it all that much. I have the most fun with an old Instamatic 314 camera that used to belong to my grandfather. I retrofit the camera to use regular 35mm film and have just begun playing around with it. The photos slightly overlap, so you have a completely continuous series of exposures at the end of a roll. With some help from PhotoLounge, the first roll got cut into shorter sections for scanning. I plan to continue experimenting with this camera and style to see what's possible. I'm halfway through my second roll!

Q: There are a couple of photos within this collection that are black and white. What are some qualities that you like in either color or black and white film? 
A: I like the heavy grain you see with 3200 films. In particular, the grain you get with Ilford Delta 3200 (Black and White) adds to the weight and emotion of the composition. For me, the grain immediately bakes in the feeling of nostalgia — a feeling I don't get as often with lower-speed films. When it comes down to it, choosing B&W or Color film has a lot to do with instinct and spur-of-the-moment decisions. I may want B&W for the first five exposures and then wish I had color for the rest (or vice-versa). So, I need to adapt and embrace all aspects and qualities of color and black and white film. I'm still working on learning to shoot for the style of the film already in my camera.

Q: How would you describe your style of photography? What do you like to take pictures of most? 
A: My professional work is in documentary video production - so I often think about and approach both motion and still photography in a documentary frame of mind. I tend to avoid posed, heavily lit, or elaborately staged photos (though I immensely respect those work styles). I like to be a silent observer. When looking back at my body of work, it appears I am attracted to landscapes, cityscapes, and street photography. I often like to try and capture motion and play with shutter speeds. I'm not particularly eager to create a photo opportunity; instead, let the photo opportunity make itself known to me. 

Q: The photos that are more abstract and that have light leaks (taken with an instamatic camera) are a very different style of photography compared to the other photos in this collection. What do you like or not like about these that is different from your other images? 
A: The Instamatic 314 camera is on the far end of my experimental spectrum. It's an old, leaky camera that produces imperfect, dreamlike photographs. I love the repetitive yellow flares you see at the bottom of each photo, resulting from light leaking through the camera's back each time I wind it. I am still new to experimenting with this camera, so I love the freedom and discovery of using it and understanding how it works. I am excited to figure out how this style can fit into my current photography and how it might shape my current approach, creativity, and thinking about photography in general.


Q: Out of this series, which is your favorite photo and why? 
A: It's hard to pick my favorite photo here. I tried to submit a mix of styles and left some of my all-time favorites behind. I keep coming back to the black and white beach photo, looking at the top of the house through the dunes. I like how the wind was blowing the grass in just the right way to frame up the house between it and that I was paying attention at the right moment to notice. For me, the photograph perfectly captures the moment. It was a crisp fall day with a wind that could cut right through your jacket, but still partly sunny enough to where you could occasionally feel the warmth of the sun against your face. The beach was empty of life but full of energy from the grass dancing in the wind. The house sat perfectly perched in the distance, a bit sunken from view but still tall enough to wave hello. It was a great day, and I immediately get transported back to that moment when I look at this photograph. A touch of nostalgia, I guess. 

Leave a comment