Until a few years ago, analogue photography was a foreign but always excitingly mysterious cosmos for me. The first thing for me was to have a huge technical effort behind it, which of course it doesn’t have to be. That’s why it was important for me at the beginning to demystify the topic a bit.
In Berlin it’s very easy and fast, many groups of photographers and enthusiasts offer a variety of events that deal with the topic and the processes behind it. This way you meet people who have been taking analogue photos for a lifetime or people who are completely unbiased about the topic. It is also always exciting to see which cameras other photographers work with and the stories of how they came across these 30, 40 or even older devices.
After some backgrounds were clearer for me it was about the use of analogue photography in the present time, but also in the past. Many documentary works of events in the history of the Cold War and the Fall of the Wall have been very inspiring for me.
Capturing moments in seconds that tell stories and are also a kind of document of the time — it creates great tension in me.
With the renaissance of analogue cameras in fashion and lifestyle, more and more photographers came over the social networks with their now analogue moments and works. The way some people deal with moments and capture them for us viewers had already captivated me at that time. I noticed that this inspiration triggered more in me than other photographs. The colours of summer, light, skin and water create scenes in my head that can be experienced and from them a desire. This desire archived on a piece of film is now a goal that I strive for. I started to try out many types of film myself, noticing that some factors were simply missing or I didn’t see them. In the exchange with other photographers about these thoughts, I noticed of course also that these are the existential questions of photography.
Through the numerous comrades-in-arms that one gets to know at meetings, new paths of one’s own horizon open up again and again. That’s what I always appreciate about communities like BerlinOnFilm. Through all these influences and processes, I noticed how my photography as a whole changed dramatically, whether analogue or digital. Now it was more about the moments in a lighting mood that captivates and inspires. Here in Berlin, it is very different with light in general, the legendary Berlin summer moments can be shortened to a few weeks. So it’s time to look for the right light.
It started with a trip to Portugal with one of my closest friends who is also a photographer. After 7 days in Lisbon, I could work slowly with the Portuguese sun, so we made our way to Porto before we went back to Berlin. It was again the human encounters and local knowledge of the people there that we got to know spontaneously through Instagram. One evening over the Duoro (river) with a view to the most famous bridge of Porto I could feel the light. I have often heard of magic light in conversations, books and reports from other photographers. Now I have found it. It grabbed me and we stayed there for a while. A place full of cars, buses and trucks — which passed us every minute. Everything I try to get out of Berlin’s way. The three pictures with Julia from Porto were taken that evening, at this place.
Before the trip, I thought about which analogue camera to take with me. With a relatively handy 6x6 medium format camera the choice was quickly made. For me it is always important not to have too heavy equipment with me, also to be able to move freely when the situation demands it. Tripods or cameras with waist-level viewfinder have never been anything for my kind of photography. The three pictures with Julia from Porto were taken that evening, at this place. It was so important to take pictures on Kodak Portra, a style that is very special to me. With Kodak one associates an epoch that I have not lived through myself or was still too young. This film reflects a past time in my thoughts and a certain light warmth that is close to life. Analogue photography helps me to capture a situation as it is without having to go through post-production. You just learn with every picture.
For me, it reflects exactly what I want to capture with my photography. Moments with people in an intense lighting mood.
— — — — — — — — — — —
By Felix Kayser