Featured Film Photographer – April 2013

Thomas Becker

I am a 29 year old photographer from Germany and after years of shooting digital I came back to film about three years ago. It started with a cute little Exa Ia which I bought on a flea market in Dresden and it became an obsession. Since that day I almost exclusively shot film when I took photos for personal projects. I love the fact that film cameras are so cheap and it´s possible to try different cameras, even those which were very expensive a few years ago. I also love this special mood film photography gives me although I can´t explain what it is exactly. I´m slowing down when shooting with my Rolleiflex, the Hasselblad or the Olympus OM2n, cameras I dreamed about a few years ago when I was in school. It was always fun and we loved it!

My favourite photographer is Anton Corbijn, I love his dark, contrasty pictures and the way he can make everyone look cool. I´d love to do more people photography but it´s hard to find models when you don´t have a large portfolio to show and it´s hard to build a portfolio without the models; but I´m trying hard to break through this vicious circle. That also would be my advice to apsiring photographers – try hard but love what you do and do what you love!

I bought a Voigtlaender VAG, a 9x12cm large format camera a few years ago and didn´t use it because it´s hard to find film in 9x12cm. But a few weeks I had the idea to cut some sheets of photo paper so they would fit into the cassettes. It was a little difficult because the cassettes I have are for glass negatives and so the paper wasn´t perfectly flat in them; but it was an experiment. The next day I went to the river with the camera and a tripod and took some pictures. Unfortunately I thought paper had an ISO of 1-3 but it has an ISO of about 6 so the first pictures became black when I put them in the developer in the evening. (If you put paper into the camera instead of film you have a negative on the paper.) So I put the next four images in the developer only for seconds and as soon as I could see shadows on the paper I put them into the fixer. That wasn´t perfect and so they looked very unbalancedly exposed. At first I didn´t like what I saw but once I scanned them I thought “Hey, everybody thinks it is art to put a Instagram filter over every image they take with their phone. So I call the pictures art and everything´s perfect.” :-) To show how a negative becomes a positive I put them beside each other. It also helps to give them a sense even if you can´t see much at the first view. They are abstract but I like them.

Check out more from Thomas on his website.

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