Giving It My Best Shot

Film Club

Joseph Maltinsky has been a long time customer of PhotoLounge. Some of his photographs were featured in our most recent gallery show Best of the Year. After viewing his work in the exhibit we wanted to reach out to him to see more of his photographs and learn more about his interest in photography.

Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: Many years ago, in the early 2000’s, my parents let me use their Olympus point and shoot 35mm camera, and they continued to let me use it after I accidentally rewound a few rolls of film. Since then, I’ve always owned at least one camera (the quality of said cameras have varied significantly over the years), and my parents encouraged me to carry and use them often. 

Q: What kind of camera do you shoot with and what type of film do you usually use? 
A: The photos that I shared were shot on several different cameras (including digital, I’m afraid to say) and film stocks. I’ve only got one useful digital camera, a Nikon D3300 with a 18-55mm kit lens. The film was shot on a Minolta X-700 with a 50mm f1.7 lens, a Yashica Mat-124G, a Canon Sureshot 130u, and a Mamiya RB67 I was lucky enough to borrow. I used Ilford Delta 100, Ilford HP5, Fuji Superia X-tra 400, and Kodak Ektar 100. I’ve gotten more serious about shooting with film over the last year, so I’m trying as many cameras and film stocks as I can.

Q: There are a mix of black and white and color photographs within this collection. What qualities do you like in color film and black and white film?
A: This fall, I took an excellent photography class as a senior at Drexel University. Until then, I had always shot in color. I learned more about how important contrast is for black and white photography, and how it makes a monochrome image complex and engaging. With color film, I enjoy how it can be used to create extra vibrant colors, and I appreciate the precision of color film development. 

Q: Many of your photos seem to have been taken from the street while others seem to be taken in more rural areas. What are you inspired by in both environments? 
A: I usually aim for my photos to contain an obvious subject, and try to create a balanced composition around them. I also like to shoot close up, or with a shallow depth of field. Using older film cameras, I am able to use lenses with very large apertures for a much lower cost than their modern digital lens equivalents.

Q: There is a mix of landscapes, people and still lifes in this series of images. How would you describe your style of photography? What things do you most enjoy photographing? 
A: I would describe my usual style of photography as taking rather than making images. This involves a lot of patience, and sometimes taking my camera for a long walk without taking a single picture. I wait for something to catch my eye, and then I compose and take a shot. It wouldn’t be the best technique for studio work, but it does help me get plenty of exercise. 

Q: Out of this series, which is your favorite photo and why? 
A: I think my favorite photo in this series is the one with the American flag. I took it at the top of a lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina while on vacation with my family. I like the leading line formed by the railing, which directs your attention to the flagpole, in turn leading you to the flag. The way the flag is slightly frayed and waving mimics the look and shape of the clouds in the background. Additionally, the depth of field is just shallow enough to nicely separate the foreground from the background, while still leaving the golf course and buildings relatively in focus. Mostly I am glad that I got the horizon to be level.

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