This week we interviewed long time customer and Film Club Member Mitch Larson. The photos that he has tagged us in on Instagram and submitted to our weekly photo contest have always interested us. You also may have seen a photo of his in our First Film Club Member Show. We wanted to reach out to him to see a larger collection of his work and learn more about him.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: I’ve always been a creative person, but my love of photography definitely stems from my love of movies. Long before I ever picked up a camera I was watching films. I’ve always loved Stanley Kubrick and I remember going to my local library one day, thumbing through a book, and coming across some of the photos he took as a photographer for Look magazine. I was awestruck by them and for whatever reason, it set off bells in my head that still photography and motion pictures aren’t so dramatically different. Eventually, that led to a natural love of still photography, but it was a while before I started really taking photos myself. Right before I got married my twin brother and the groomsman in my wedding all pitched in and bought me my first DSLR. I really loved shooting on it, but I also never quite got the images from it that I was hoping for, and when I would go through them I found myself just deleting about half the SD card because I’d take so many pictures without even thinking about it. A little while later my twin brother started to shoot film and kept pushing me to try it, so I went on eBay and bought the cheapest 35mm film camera that I could find. I really haven’t looked back from there!
Q: What type of camera do you shoot with and what type of film do you usually use?
A: Most of my photos have been shot on my Canon AE-1, Olympus OMG, or my Canon Rebel-TI. Of those three the AE-1 is definitely my favorite, there is just something so timeless about it. I try to play around with different stuff so I am really not married to any film in particular. I'd say that I typically end up shooting some combination of Ilford HP-5, Tri-X 400, Cine-Still 800, Ultramax 400, or Kodak Gold 200 most frequently. Lately, I’ve been shooting a lot more Portra!
Q: Many photos seem to have a great sense of movement to them even though they are still images. How would you describe your style of photography? What do you look for when you are out photographing?
A: I taught myself how to take film photography, so a lot of the rules that people learn early on, I don’t always adhere to! I tend to see things cinematically and when I go to compose an image, that’s definitely something I look for. My favorite photos are the ones that tell a story and the ones that capture a cinematic feel.
Q: A few of your photos have people in them. What do you like about photographing people? What is challenging about it for you?
A: I really like trying to capture moments of genuine emotion, so I love to shoot candids. Part of why I love photographing people is that I find it challenging to capture those moments well. I am not someone who shoots overly posed photos, so I am never looking for that. I’ve never quite been able to do that in a way where it doesn’t feel forced or inauthentic to me. I am also a really big sports fan, so whenever I go to a game I make sure to bring my camera with me. It's a totally different challenge that I love.
Q: There are a mix of black and white and color photos within this collection. What qualities do you like about black and white and color film?
A: When I am shooting black and white I am drawn to the contrast and the shadows. I really love how black and white has this almost intrinsic ability to evoke a mood in a way that’s totally different from color. When I am shooting color, I love the vibrancy and the way it can really bring an image to life. Regardless of what I am shooting though, I also really love some nice grain. When I think of film photography, grain is something that just always leaps to the front of my mind.
Q: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
A: It’s so tough to pick which one, I really like all of these photos for completely different reasons. The photo of the Delsea Drive-In marquee is one of the first photos I took on my Olympus camera and it’s one that turned out exactly the way I hoped it would. On the other hand, one of the things that I love most about film photography is that it can be a bit of adventure and you might get some unpredictable results. I find that a lot of my photos end up being sort of happy accidents. For that reason, I love the triple exposure photo. I took that with my wife one day when we went hiking and I was testing out a new camera I bought in a second-hand store. I am still not totally sure how it ended up exactly the way it did, but I love it so much.
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