This week we are featuring Film Club Member Tyler Wallach. The photos that we have seen him post on his Instagram have always caught our attention so we thought it would be nice to learn more about him as a photographer and show off some of his work to the community. Scroll down for photos and a full interview.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: The short answer is my dad has been a lifelong photographer and his passion and knowledge has always sparked an interest in me. It’s easy to take photography for granted but I think what got me interested so early in life was also a fascination with being able to look back in time. That lit up my imagination and I loved flipping through my parents’ old photo albums and seeing the lives of my grandparents, aunts and uncles from a time before I was born. Photography is time travel and to be able to give that to others, by being a photographer, is a vocation I want to pursue. I think film photography is the closest medium to timelessness and magic. There’s a romance there that is endlessly fascinating and caught my interest at an early age.
Q: What kind of camera do you like to shoot with? And what would you say is your “go to” film?
A: I shoot primarily with a Nikon F3. I would say Portra 400 has been my more consistent stock. I like the slightly faster stock because it gives me more range for lower light settings. But I really hop around and am always trying to change things up.
Q: Many of your photos are taken up close, focusing on details within nature, but how would you describe your style or approach to photography?
A: Yes, right now I would call it an approach over a style, for sure. After a bit of a break from shooting film, I’m starting to re-incorporate the practice into my daily life again, and doing it by focusing on the details, subjects, and people I care about. My approach lately has been to use photography as a meditative process and to stay excited about the world around me, improve my skills, and branch out. I’m hoping it will lead to a more pronounced style and community over time. I read a great quote today that I think applies to what I’m exploring in the details. It’s by the physicist Richard Feynman. He wrote “Our imagination is stretched to the utmost not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.” With photography you have a defined frame from an exact instant in time. Even by looking at a small detail the imagination can be stretched to epic proportions.
Q: Many of these images are also portraits. What do you enjoy most when photographing people? Additionally, what is challenging when photographing people?
A: I love asking a person if I can take their picture and the trust that comes with them saying “yes”. I get so much joy when I look through the viewfinder and see someone smiling or looking at me. One of the more common challenges taking a portrait, especially on film, is that it’s a slow process, with a big build up and a quick let down after the shutter snaps. I lean right into that challenge and make sure I build mutual respect and comfort with the person before I even ask.
Q: Several of the photographs of people seem to be cropped at their chins. Is this purposeful? If so, why?
A: I hate chins. Despise them. No, truth be told, I’ve been consciously avoiding cropping in as of late. I wouldn’t call it a prior mistake because it was an intentional choice, but it likely started as a compensation of wanting to get as close to a subject as I could while still keeping the subject’s facial essence intact. I love when faces fill the frame more and more and if that meant cropping in, I was all about it. There is an intimacy to a full frame.
Q: There are a mix of black and white and color images within this collection. What are some qualities that you like about both color and black and white film?
A: At first I wondered if I should share only B&W or only color to help push a theme. However, I chose to mix them, which I think as a collection can work to compliment one another nicely. To put it as simply as I can I like the full story color tells and I like the constraint B&W offers. Lastly, I want to thank the PhotoLounge teams and community for this opportunity to share a few of my photos and words. I work in NYC, live in NJ, and yet there isn’t an easier choice I have to make than to send my film to be developed and processed to you in Philadelphia! The care and support you’ve given to myself and so many other photographers is inspiring. Thank you, again!