An early photographic influence for me happened when I was a child. We lived in Ohio during the 1974 Super Outbreak; 148 tornadoes touched down, and my town had an F5 pass through it. Our house was spared, but because we lived in a split-level, the family room and my father’s office was flooded with over three feet of water. A good deal of his family photographs was waterlogged and damaged that day. To me, the damaged images had a dream-like quality to them, and I begged him not to throw them out. I found the unpredictability of the damage to be beautiful; kind of like a dark dream that isn’t scary but weird to look at.
I use toy cameras or old cameras dating from 1939 to 1980. Majority of them date from the 50s and 60s. A few have broken shutters or various other things that are not quite right with them. I use mostly black and white film and rely on natural light and the weather to determine how I will shoot something. When I go out to shoot, I sometimes have a loose shot list, and other times I do not. This forces me to focus on what is around me rather than the camera in my hand. On a rare occasion, I will further manipulate my image in Photoshop. I only print on Hahnemühle William Turner paper because it is a rough and fibrous paper that further pulls out the grain of an image.
I like putting hard rules around the unpredictability of old or broken cameras because it can produce a genuinely individual photograph. People who love dark, damaged, warped imagery enjoy my work. ▼