Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kris Hatch - 5 things I love about Film

Kris Hatch is a multi-disciplinary artist, analog photographer, writer & musician based in Somerville, Massachusetts. The aesthetic of her photography is surreal, and here is what she said about her background:
"A lot of my work is embued with spiritual themes, which I have been consumed by since I was a child. I was raised in a very religious family, and I often use photography as a medium to process my relationship with religion, mysticism and spirituality as an adult, in autonomy."
"I’m finding that many of these themes are making their way into sketches for films rather than photography lately, though, and my photography becoming more grounded in my physical space. It’s interesting for me to observe the shift."
Below are 5 reasons why she loves shooting film:

1. Mystery--I may do my best to work with lighting, camera settings, composition, etc. In a way that should optimize the results, but I really won't know if I'm successful until my film is developed, which can sometimes take a while. (I typically scan my film, as well, which often takes me an entire day.) It is a delayed gratification, especially when working with self-portraiture, which is always a bit of a gamble since I am not behind the lens.

2. Humility--Film feels more like a collaborator than a medium to me. I suppose particularly since I am self-taught, film introduces so much chaos into my process. We have to work within each other's limitations, but still work at stretching them. I feel that I am at the will of it. It may decide to make an ass out of me by returning to me completely black. I have to accept that sometimes all of my hard work may be for nought. Or, even if the film didn't come out the way that I expected, I may completely love what it became, feeling pleasantly surprised and sometimes excited by the outcome, grateful for what it taught me.

3. Challenge--If I want to execute my ideas, for the most part I have to figure out a way to do it in that moment, in the camera. (It is rare that I have access to a darkroom where I could do more experimentation.) This drives me crazy sometimes, but it stretches my knowledge and resources, which requires an immediate marriage of both the left and right brain. This can be incredibly satisfying. I have so much more to learn.

4. Physicality--I love the physical interaction with the images. My relationship with the images is grounded in my physical space, not in the ether. If I manipulate my images, it is by placing prisms, cloth, etc. over my lens, altering the negatives by various methods, or by playing with paper and chemicals in a dark room, where I can also bring in different objects in to create various effects. It feels more personal to me. For this reason and all of the above, working with film can feel like a spiritual discipline to me.

5. Practicality--A vintage film camera has endured decades of use. I do not have to spend a great deal of money to purchase new high-tech equipment that is essentially designed to expire or become irrelevant after a certain point. (Although one can easily argue that film is now more expensive over time.) In addition, the type of computer required to run Photoshop and the like is outside of my financial means, and I am also physically unable to spend that much time working on a computer.

To see more of Kris Hatch's work, visit her website, blog and her Flickr stream.

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