Joseph Ogden is a Film Club Member whose photos caught our eye on Instagram. The variety of subjects he captures and the overall composition of the images are what intrigued us. This week we interviewed him to learn more about his interest in photography. Scroll down to see a selection of his photos and to read the interview.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
JO: I took a photo history / photography class in 2011 that piqued my interest and I haven’t looked back! Holding physical images from chemicals, metal/glass engineering, and the sun is magic and complete nonsense. I love it.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
JO: I’m a huge sucker for the Olympus Infinity Stylus. It's been a game changer only needing to focus on framing and being in the right place at the right time. It’s really opened up some street scenarios that previously felt impossible to get into the ‘photo flow.’ I also shoot heavily with the Nikon F3. I also love shooting on my rangefinder style digital cameras like the Fuji X-Pro 1 and Fuji X-E4. In the film world, I love the grainiest black n’ white stuff possible. Kentmere 400 or Ilford 3200 are my heroes. For most of my color work, I’m on the opposite spectrum of grain because I love Cinestill 50d or Portra 160.
PL: There are a mix of color and black and white images within this collection. What are some qualities that you like about both?
JO: Playing with shadow vs capturing light in specific moments. They both present their challenges, but they’re both a blast depending on the day. I think B&W satisfies the isolated street scene itch, or a beam of light that cascades down an alleyway. I love following grit, texture, movement, and maximizing a stock's dynamic range. On the other hand, color slows me down as I look for unique lighting environments that may never happen again. A storms a comin’ as people give it one last look before heading to their car? Now, that’s just perfect.
PL: Some of your photos capture people in candid moments. What do you like about photographing people? What is challenging about it?
JO: Even though it’s legally acceptable to photograph anyone anywhere on sidewalks or public property, the camera's gaze overshadows every photograph. I find it interesting, especially in our current social media and commercialized landscape, that photos of people on the street are more than accepted these days, they’re actually promoted. The pumping cycle of imagery for ads, tech conglomerates, and incessant influencers have created a new meaning of capturing people in the moment as they ‘truly’ are. The challenge and ultimate goal of my street photography is not exploiting strangers for personal, artistic gain, but creating images that keep human anonymity, or their genuine true selves fully intact.
PL: Many of the photos in this collection are nicely composed. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
JO: It’s a good ol’ dance of eyeing around the edges of the frame and centering on where our eyes feel like they should go. I want to create spaces, especially when shooting wider, to feel calm and intimate - someplace to hang for a second. It’s a fun balance between crowding the frame and letting it breathe.
PL: Out of all of these images, which is your favorite and why?
JO: The car engulfed in flames is my favorite. (sorry owner of the car) It was a chaotic scene with a small group of bystanders checking in on the smell, sight, and sound. According to the fire department, a live wire burst from a transformer after a broken tree branch knocked it to the ground and caught the vehicle's wheel on fire. The burnt rubber could be smelled for 10 blocks, people chatted about their theories on how it happened, and the fire department contained the scene until the car was nothing but a molten metal frame. It’s an image that lives far beyond its frame and has everyone in the area questioning parking underneath utility poles.
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