Congratulations to our Top Pic of the Week, Alex Simpson. Read on to learn more about the production of these photos!
How long have you been a photographer & how did you begin your journey?
My journey into photography started in the spring of 2014 when I found myself with far too much free time and a huge void in my life that desperately needed to be filled. I was in search of a new creative outlet to express the thoughts, emotions, and observations I had been bottling up inside since I was young. Photography always seemed to move me in a way, so I bought a used dslr along with a generous stack of books on photography, and I started sprinting down this road that seems to never end.
How would you describe your photographic style?
Intimate, honest, and vulnerable. These qualities are constantly in my head and extremely difficult to capture. When I do get that image, I know it, even before I see the photograph, and it’s the most unique rush of adrenaline there is.
What tips do you have for shooting?
Know what you want your finished image to look like before you press the shutter. It will force you to slow down and think about all of the elements that comprise a good photograph, like lighting, color, gesture, depth of field, composition, and exposure. But, more importantly, it will force you to be there in that moment and feel it. Observe, engage, relate, and come to an understanding of your subject before you try to capture it.
How did you get started in film photography?
My initial reason for switching to film was the overall aesthetics in the image quality. The pictures from my dslr never felt like photographs to me. No matter how much I edited, they felt stale, brittle, and empty. Image quality aside, it quite literally forced me into becoming a better photographer. I no longer have an lcd display to cower behind when I become anxious during a shoot, which in turn pushes me to constantly engage with my subjects without interruption. Most importantly, in this digital age, I find it more crucial than ever to ensure my photography is a physical and tangible art form. I develop, scan, and print all of my images myself because I love the process and feel that it constantly pushes me to improve.
What do you love about instant film? Favorite cameras?
It’s instant, tangible, and nostalgic! What’s not to love about that? My favorite instant film camera would have to be my SX-70 Land Camera, one of the most brilliantly designed cameras ever made. I love that it’s an slr so I can see exactly what I’m about to capture, and being able to manually focus is always essential for me.
How do you gain inspiration for the photos you take?
I’ve learned that trying to find inspiration from other photographers’ work is a really dangerous thing for me; it ends up being extremely counterproductive and discouraging. Recently, I’ve found that the best inspiration I get for photographs is actually already inside of me; I’m just usually far too terrified to address those things. When I start to ask myself questions about who I am, what I want, what I’m trying to say, and why I’m creating images in the first place, I find answers that I can directly infuse into my photography.
What advice or tips would you give to other photographers regarding finding their style?
Find yourself first, that’s where you will find your “style.” If you try to copy other work or shoot the images you’ve already seen, there’s a very strong chance that it will leave you feeling unsatisfied with your work. Figure out what you want to say-- the emotions you feel, the experiences you have had-- and then find a way to express that visually. It’s not easy, I struggle with it every day, but you will find your style there and your work will stand on its own.