Levi Macdonald, aka Benedict. on Flickr is a photographer from Edinburgh, Scotland She loves to shoot film and polaroids, and currently shoots with a Pentax Spotmatic and a Mamiya RB67. "I'm just in love with film and its subtle tones." says Levi.
Hi Levi, can you introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Levi Macdonald, I am a photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I shoot portraiture and fashion mostly with a strong emphasis on the street and street life culture.
Can you tell us for how long have you been into photography? And why film?
I have been into my photography seriously now for around five years, I started off shooting the little Lomography camera’s like the fish eye and the Holga 35mm. Playing around with different kinds of film and the processing really got me intrigued as to how I could apply these processes more to my portraiture work. It was around this time that I started setting up my own little shoots, styling them with my own clothes in locations I was familiar with. After a couple of these I was approached by a local online publisher and this is really when I started fashion with a new cleaner approach but still wanting to keep it relevant to the street style I had curated previously.
Film is my first love, I love the texture, tones and feel that you get from it. The surprise of receiving my processing back at the post and seeing the images that you have created on that day.
What film camera did you start with, and what are you shooting with these days?
As I mentioned I started out with the point and shoot Lomo’s, the fish eye, Holga, 3 & 4 lens robots. I still have these camera’s but use them more these days for holiday snaps or day trips with friends. I now shoot almost everything on my Pentax Spotmatic II. I found this camera in a charity shop in the West end of Glasgow for £14 as the girl was unsure that it would even work, ever since that day it has been a total work horse and has produced some of my best work.
What gives you inspiration?
I’m really inspired by the current trends on the street, not so much the fashion designers view on it but the girls you see who are making their own way and their own trends. I love bleak architecture and geometric spaces, abandoned steps and disused children’s play parks. I love finding new models and planning shoots to fit them, or maybe the other way around, planning shoots but not actually going through with them till you find that perfect model. Inspiration is everywhere. I really enjoy sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and leaf through all the big publications, I love seeing all the set building and behind the scenes work that goes into these big productions, that is another thing that definitely inspires me.
Who are your favorite film photographers?
Paolo Roversi is my favorite film photographer. Every image he captures just seems so full of life and emotion. I also really enjoy the fact that he shoots everything on large format and most of his studio work focuses on black and white so that he can process everything himself and has total control over his end result.
Any message for other film photographers? Or maybe a tip you would like to share?
Don’t let the current state of film on the high street dampen your spirits, you may not have a place to process your film in your local town, but there is always mail order. If you are based in the UK I highly recommend using lab 35 (www.lab35imaging.com).
Levi, thank you for the interview!
More of her work can be found on her Flickr photostream and Facebook page.