Member Moment: Biz Deol

Film Club

Biz Deol is a Film Club Member who shared a photo project they have been working on from their trip to France. This week we interviewed them to learn more about the project and to share their travel images with the community. Scroll down to see it all

PL: Can you tell us more about the project and what inspired you to start it? 

BD: This project was shot this past summer - at the time, I was going through a creative block and was struggling to take photos I enjoyed and find the motivation to take my camera out for walks. This trip to France was for one of my best friend’s weddings and I knew the change in environment would be a perfect opportunity to get reinspired. And it’s hard to not want to take photos when you’re traveling with someone/people!

PL: What is challenging about travel photography and what do you enjoy most about it? 

BD: The challenges are logistical more than anything else. Flying with film can be a bit of a pain since you want to avoid them going through TSA scanners so I always ask them to hand-check them so that always takes a bit of time. 

And then when it comes time to actually take the camera out for the day, there’s another challenge of what equipment I want to bring with me. If I’m walking for the whole day, carrying my TLR camera will be a bit of a pain, but I found quickly that it’s always worth it. Any day I only brought my point and shoot with me for the day I almost immediately regretted and wished I had more.

What I love most about it is being inspired by different architecture, different landscapes, and different cultures. I found the moment I got there and was out with even my little point and shoot that I was just taking more and more photos. Being in a new place makes you want to capture memories and I found myself worrying less about every frame and just taking photos of everything that seemed interesting in the moment. 

PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?

BD: I’ve found for me that lighting is a huge factor. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t really dabbled in night photography so the biggest things I looked out for were interesting lighting, vistas that fit within the frame nicely, and people with something to say. For the lighting, typically I would be looking out for the sun hitting areas highlighting them, but I found a lot of love for dark alleys, cloudy skies, and artificial lighting on this trip. For the vistas, the most important but hardest thing is they need to fit in a square format since I’m shooting TLR, or at least need to have natural layers that draw viewers’ attention to something different with every look. And on this trip, the human element was just people that were loving life. I focused less on the people and portraying them (even though that’s typically what I do more of) and more finding frames that showed these people's love for their surroundings, whether that’s a wine cellar at an estate, or sitting on sand dunes with family.

PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?

BD: I’ll have to answer this in two parts because the two were just so different. The first is the night shot with the long red light streak through the center. I had done star trail photos prior to that but I wanted to capture the night bustle within Bordeaux, and this spot I took the photo is called the Mirror of Water. It’s a shallow reflecting pool that looks directly at Place de la Bourse and reflects this beautiful architecture from the mid-1700s. It ended up being a bit difficult since the shutter was open for about an hour and it’s hard to control ripples others made in the water, but this one really captured exactly what it was that I envisioned.

The other favorite was for a much simpler reason. It’s the photo of the couple sitting in front of the vineyards. Those are my friends that had just gotten married and they had wanted to spend some of the start of their honeymoon with my partner and I, and it was just an incredible day and it was so wonderful for me to be able to capture them too and all the happiness and love we all felt. Small aside, that day was also the first day of amazing sun after the previous 4 days of clouds and rain so it felt like everything just cleared up for them and us.

PL: What got you interested in film photography?

BD: I first got into film photography because I had found my father’s old minolta years ago. It had just been sitting in a box and was in terrible condition but it was still such a fun way to give it a shot. And after I started (and got a better condition but older camera - a Minolta SRT 201) I just found myself always wanting to take more photos. It made me more mindful when I walk around Philly or wherever I visit - it became more than just going for a walk, it was now going for a walk and looking at what was interesting around me, where the light hit nicely at 5:30PM, where people liked to sit during sunset and golden hour. And it feels like it’s an endless passion. Every time I feel like I’ve figured out what I’m working on, I realize there’s another awesome thing I have to try (still trying to get better at night photography and star trails). 

PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?

BD: I have two main cameras that get used: my Minolta Autocord (TLR) and my point and shoot: a Fujifilm Tiara. In terms of film, I’m pretty flexible - I love picking a roll that I think works in the moment. I end up shooting a lot of Portra 400, but probably my favorite is Fuji Pro400H but shot at 200 ISO. It has the richest colors and most accurate depiction of skin tones I feel like. Also I think for both Pro400H and Portra, the color palettes lend themselves really well for prints.


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