27th August 2018
Q: Why is it important that you shoot in analog compared to digital?
Working with analog is so different from digital in so many ways. First of all you are limited to a certain number of photographs per roll. Also, to me it's a bit about letting go of control. I don't edit my pictures color-wise - I like having the camera and the film chemistry create the image. As a photographer, you act a bit like a curator. You take what's there and bring it into a new context.
I also like the limitations that my point-and-shoot cameras cause - that gives me a kind of ‘freedom’. I regard analog photography, especially instant photography like Polaroid, as part of the ready-made art form. There is something that you see in reality, you then take a picture of it which is now a physical object in the shape of a negative (film) or positive (Polaroid). The light hitting the emulsion is then like a direct cast of that photographed object, which then these results can be used to either create a print or be directly exhibited in a new environment.
Q: Why and when did you first start shooting in analog?
Probably when I was a kid. I've always been taking pictures with some intermissions. But I started to do it more seriously about one and a half years ago.
Q: How does living in Germany inspire your vision and imagery?
Actually it inspires me to travel, visually I'm rather drawn to other places. But the good thing is that you can very easily buy film and have it developed in every drug store here.
Q: What was traveling to California like and what captured your attention the most out there?
It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. I have always dreamed about the States and spending some time there. So I will definitely come back. What I absolutely loved was how open and friendly people were. also the light is really beautiful there - I'm a big fan of sunshine and summertime so that was really a great place for me. I was able to capture a lot of pictures in the mood that I wanted them to be.
Q: How do you educate yourself to evolve within photography?
Sometimes I read stuff on blogs or I find cameras on eBay or Instagram and then I do some research online. Talking to my photographer friends is also very inspiring. I love it when people are sharing the same passion and help each other out with technical tips, etc.
Q: You seem very attentive to the composition within your images, is that something that you spend time on or, do you believe you just have a natural eye for it?
I do think about it, but not constantly. Most of it is probably the result of spending a lot of time in art school.
Q: What motivates you to keep taking photographs?
I'll do it as long as it is fun to me. When I get bored I'll do some thing else but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. I like documenting my environment, or particular details of it, and sharing the resulting images to let people look at certain things in a new way. One idea that I find quite fascinating is the depiction of a world full of human interventions, also known as New Topographics.
Q: Have you ever had a bad experience when shooting analog?
I was taking portraits of someone and the film didn't advance. Afterwards I found out I brought a blank roll to the lab. So that was a bit unfortunate. Luckily I had used several cameras during that shooting so I still got some pictures in the end.
Q: Which place would you like to lose yourself in with your camera?
I definitely want to go back to Joshua Tree National Park as well as other national parks in west America.
Q: Whose work has influenced your imagery the most?
I'd probably say my time in art school and the talks with the professors and the other student were the most influential on how I think as an artist. Not to forget, all the lectures that you actually don't want to go to but in the end they made quite an impact. It may take some years to realize that though. Generally I find talking to people about their work and experiences very exciting.
Q: How would you express your art form without social media?
The same way as I have done before there was social media. Old-school offline. You know, I am not making this for the virtual likes, it's great to see that some people love what I do for sure, but in the end I just really do it because I have a deep interest in it.
Q: What advice would you give to people starting out with analog?
Just do it and allow yourself to make what some people might call ‘mistakes.’ Or maybe even make them on purpose. Have fun and don't be scared of the blank canvas.
You can find more of Dennis's work here