Kit Young Interview

Kit Young did an interview with Melvin Mapa:

While I began taking photographs several years ago, I only started taking the medium of photography seriously when I discovered the hands-on nature of black-and-white film and what are now referred to as ‘traditional’ printing methods. For me, nothing else will do. Film photography allows me to consider my work over time as part of a creative process. I thoroughly enjoy printing my own negatives. Every moment spent in the darkroom gives me a chance to reflect on what I have done and learn from my mistakes. I’m not one for planning individual photographs or indeed photography projects. Instead, I take photographs on the spur of the moment. The four sides of the negative are my point of reference – they enable the viewer to see what I have seen.

Find it here.

allFT Takeover - Michael Neale

Continuing our weekly feature, Kit is sharing some of his favourite pictures from the weekly #allfttakeover happening over on our Instagram page. This week they’re from Michael Neale’s takeover.

Michael Neale embraces open spaces, dark corners and diagonal lines and often makes use of blocks of tone–deep, dark shadows and shimmering, silver highlights–to add structure to his compositions. No space is wasted. When shadows are projected by the blinding light of the sun and the rest of us are squinting or covering our eyes, Michael marches forth, his eye in the viewfinder…

allFT Takeover - The Middle Grey

Hi Guys, we wanted to start a new feature here at the allFT blog and share some top pictures from the weekly #allfttakeover happening on our Instagram page. This week, Kit is starting us off by picking from The Middle Grey’s mammoth takeover.

The Middle Grey: Kit’s top-five picks:

The Middle Grey collaborative film project thrives at showing transitory moments for the rest of us to see: no detail is too small, no space is too dark, light always radiates from within the frame and silver halides–O beautiful silver halides–always give form to oneiric visions from the other side.

Check out the allFT Instagram feed now and feast your eyes on all of the other wonderful photographs posted during the #allfttakeover by The Middle Grey.

Kit Young Print Sale!

Kit has been super busy in his darkroom recently and has many prints available for purchase.

Contact Kit directly via his website or through Instagram in order to purchase.

Kit Young’s Printing and Finishing Process

Kit shares some of his printing and finishing process - and some handy tools…

“Contact sheets. I’d be lost without them! I like to take my time to look at them, often in the morning with a coffee. I use a red watercolour pencil to mark potential keepers with a line. I then decide whether or not to print the potential keepers in the darkroom, once I feel I’ve hit my stride in terms of striking the right tonal balances and so on. If I end up printing a potential keeper, the line turns into a cross: X marks the spot!”

“So, once the FB prints have been made I tend to let them air dry for a couple of days. I’m not one for rushing this part because this ‘slow’ process does give me time to look at the print over several hours as it dries and reflect on what I’ve made…”

“As some of you might already be aware: I really enjoy spotting my prints. I like to put myself at a table near a window and put on some vinyl. Spotting can be quite a time-consuming process but it’s something I find very rewarding.”

Kit’s essential darkroom items:

​”This is the neg carrier from my Focomat V35 enlarger. While I do also print on a Focomat 1C enlarger now again again, the V35 always seems to lure me back…”

​”I used to use these exact same ​tongs on a weekly basis, almost religiously, when a dear friend in Paris passed on his knowledge of printing to me. I’ll not use any other. When I use these, a part of me is still in Paris, printing in my friend’s darkroom.”

“It’s probably not the prettiest or fanciest loupe you’ve ever seen but I really love it because it was one which was given to me by my father. He used to use it while he was teaching darkroom photography at college and I think it was given to him by a Nikon Sales Rep. who used to call by every once in a while with lots of treats…”

​”Because the print isn’t finished until it’s been spotted… And all my unfinished prints get torn into a thousand pieces and thrown in the bin.”​

“Hand-made by me! Can you tell? These, and my hands, are the only two tools I’ll use for dodging a print. The one on the left is made out of a small paper-clip and the one on the right is made out of a large paper-clip… Ingenious or what?”

Baldessari and the Zoo

Some years ago I made a family trip to beautiful Copenhagen. We decided to visit the highly rated Copenhagen Zoo. I knew our 3 year old daughter would love it and so would I.

However, photographically, I knew exactly what would happen. I would either line up with other tourists to get that pointlessly faux National Geographic cover shot of a depressed mammal. Or more probably my cynical and self-critical mind would kill even the slightest motivation to pull out my camera. So I tried to come up with a point of departure.

In 1967 John Baldessari exhibited a series of works under the title Wrong. The series included an intentionally bad portrait with the label “Wrong” beneath it. It was shot too far, exposed and composed badly with a background pilar growing out comically out of the subject’s head.

Resonating with Baldessari, I devised a plan for the day at the Zoo. I would make a series of bad zoo photographs. I would frame carelessly, fail in timing, compose badly and most importantly fail to present animals in any meaningful or aesthetic way. I would become the antithesis of that heroic wildlife photographer risking his life for a masterful cover shot. I would make it my mission to fail catastrophically at every single wildlife shot — in a zoo.

Several weeks later while editing the contact sheets I made an unexpected observation. My little experiment at the zoo had introduced a curious level of meaning and interpretation to my photographs. And an aesthetic that looked less of a failure than I had intended.

The animals in my photos appear completely ignorant of the photographers gaze — as if to totally and explicitly refuse their role as unwilling exhibits in fake environments. Refusing to even pretend. Like accidentally walking into an occupied dressing room they want us to feel ashamed for our gaze. Ashamed for expecting to animals to put on a show, to pose for us and our cameras. Ashamed for feeling disappointed of that tiger resting lifelessly in the shade.

The zoo had changed completely. By completely ignoring the expected subject of my photographs I had stumbled into a more meaningful subject matter altogether.

For recent work, follow me on Instagram.

Traveling Out West – The Guide To A Successful Road Trip

Now there are many ways you can have a successful road trip. An example could be going on a 150 mile drive to a national park and camping out or it could be be going on a 4700 mile voyage and viewing a ton of beautiful scenery that your eyes have yet to see. Whatever it may be there are a few things that I personally would recommend you take in mind.

This past summer I went from my hometown of Manitowoc, WI with two friends and traveled out west to Seattle and a few other cities along the way. Never really traveling before I was excited to be able to take the leap and see what amazing sights and adventures I was in store for. I got what I absolutely needed for my trip and stuffed it in a single backpack and went along. That being my two film cameras along with a Rolleicord from Raph the creator of allFT, 3 handfuls of black and white film and a couple rolls of color, a small amount of clothes and an open mind with no expectations.

Tip #1: No Expectations

I cannot stress enough that this is one of the most important tips I can give. Imagining what the trip could be like will only disappoint you if you have too high of an expectation. There were countless times on my trip where things didn’t go as planned so just go with the flow and be in the present.

Our first stop was Minneapolis, MN and it was a beautiful city to see. Going to Chicago, IL a couple months prior to this trip I thought MPLS was a lot more pleasant and cleaner with what seemed to be an amazing art and music scene

We cooked some food and had a bonfire and talked about the days ahead and what we were excited about. Which brings me to my next tip.

Tip #2: Camp To Save Money

One of the big things when going on a road trip is to be as cost effective as possible. In total I spent $270 dollars on gas and other necessities. This will allow you to spend more on what you want to and other activities in the places you plan to go and if you’re up for camping its a great way to connect with the people around you. If you’re lucky you wont have any cell phone reception and wont be frozen to a screen!

After spending the night in probably the most beautiful part of North Dakota we packed up and jumped in the car and started to head towards one of our stops in Montana. Makoshika State Park is a really cool park that has a mostly rock landscape and it reminded me of the grand canyon. Obviously not in side or beauty but it was a great stop and great for some photo ops.

We spent about an hour there and it was such a calm and peaceful reminder that there is so much to see and being able to view this for such a small amount of money made me want to spend all of my savings on traveling.. which I will most likely do from now on.

Tip #3: Bring A Camera!

A camera! Not your iPhone. A legitimate camera. Preferably film since this is a film collective after all and well its the best way to capture your experience. And it looks like nothing else! This is another tip I cannot stress enough. Although its an extra thing you have to bring and a little less convenient than a phone the photos you take on this trip you’re going to have for ever ( If you use a real camera and get them printed ) and want to make huge prints! Its also a great conversation piece.

Back to the story! After Makoshika the rest of the day was dedicated to getting as far west as possible and quick stop at this “Ghost Town” outside of Missoula, MT. Turned out to truly be a ghost town because we couldn’t find it and we were deep in the Montana mountains surrounded by windy dirt roads, trump signs and road signs filled with bullet holes. After that we drove to the nearest hotel in Missoula because it was storming and we wanted to get a fresh start the next morning.

Tip #4: Explore Every Stop

Traveling through the pan handle of Idaho we stopped in the little mountain town of Wallace. This place took me back to the 60’s with its old style cafes and classic cars. On a side note they should make all cars like they did back then. It seemed to be untouched. We walked around the whole town and went window shopping and got some coffee and food at the local coffee shop. Stop everywhere you can and look around. You will find things you wouldn’t have seen if you didn’t!

Tip #5: Have Fun

Having fun is the final and most important tip that I can give you. Enjoy everything. Look around you’re seeing amazing and gorgeous places. I can’t tell you how much of a life changing experience this was for me and it would not have been close to what I experienced if I didn’t have fun.

The next 4 days were spent in Seattle, WA and it has made me want to move out there. Which I hope to do in the near future. The rest of the blog will be just photos so please enjoy and leave a comment if you liked the read!

Photographing in Winter

Now if you live in a place where during the winter months you get snow you can already relate. One of my biggest struggles is being able to go out and photograph during this time. Although its beautiful outside after a fresh snow fall the conditions aren’t the best. Its usually super cold, windy and very wet and easy to get your gear a little messed up if not cared for properly. I absolutely hate that its fully dark at 4:15 p.m. and like me most of the people Im around hate it too. Which leads to no motivation for anyone.

There are a couple of benefits to this time of year though. You have to get creative. Not all your subjects are going to want to freeze their ass off standing outside while you try to focus and get your settings right. So here is a little advice on how to work with your surroundings while photographing in winter.

Normally Ill start off around the house. See what might be an interesting scene. Maybe turn off a couple lights and make the scene a little moody.

The sun is very low during winter so almost anytime during the day you can get some great light coming into the house. This shot below was shot at 11 in the morning.

Depending on if I feel like freezing I will go out after a fresh snow and see what I can find and last winter was my most successful for some good photos.

Even though I hate winter so much It almost always helps me grow as a photographer to think a little outside of the box and work around my surroundings. So when you are stuck inside get a friend and look around for the light and an interesting scene and shoot!

Interview with Jason Lee

Back in late 2016 (Allft Issue 1), James Moreton caught up with the large-format Polaroid master, Professional Skateboarder and Stillwater lead guitarist - Jason Lee

JM: Why do you shoot film? 

JL: Because I’m a photographer, and, to me, to be a photographer means to shoot film. I’ve never owned a digital imaging device and never will. To me, photography and digital image making are two completely different things. It’s a heated debate, I know, and I never want to be disrespectful or too indulgent in said debate, but those are my feelings about it.

JM: Do you have a favourite camera and film stock? 

JL: I love my old large format cameras that I’ve had for years. my leica m6, too, and even point-and-shoot cameras, like the olympus xa or the nikon 28ti; anything that uses film, really. Favorite film is probably Polaroid 804 (8x10); it’s just perfect to me; smooth and charcoal-like. Most of my conventional B&W film photos are reverse-processed (slides) by dr5. I have been using that process for 10 years now because I like that what you do in-camera as the final result. And being that I shoot mainly for publication, versus darkroom printing, the dr5 photos are great for scanning. In this process, I love rollei retro 80s, rollei IR400, hp5 at EI 3200, and delta 100 at 50; depends on what I’m in the mood for I guess. I also really love agfa scala, which Dave at dr5 can process. I don’t shoot much color but I do love shooting expired color neg films and pulling them, like portra 800.

JM: There seems to be a lot of synergies between the skateboarding world and the world of photography. Some of my favourite photographers were skateboarders and good photography seems to be a big part of skating - would you agree and how much of an impact has skating had on your photography? 

JL: Artistic inclination is very common among skaters I think because skateboarding is itself a very creative world, from design to filmmaking, and the way one skates; it’s all creative. Music and imagery and filmmaking are all used alongside skateboarding, it’s amazing to see how different people express themselves. Because of skateboarding, its culture and the various personalities and influences that I’ve been exposed to, especially people like Mark Gonzales and Chris Pastras, I’ve been turned on to things that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have. Skateboarding and art go hand in hand.

JM: If you could only rescue one photobook from a house fire, which one would you rescue? 

 JL: ‘On Reading’ by Kertesz.

JM: With Fuji discontinuing film nearly every month but with the likes of new cameras from the Impossible project and film from Japan Camera Hunter - what are your thoughts on the current state of the film industry? 

JL: It’s a bummer to see films being discontinued, but it’s alive enough to stay hopeful and productive. All of my large format polaroid films are now of course expired, but most of it is still useable and I plan on getting through it all for more publications over the next few years. The discontinuation of 3000b is a bummer but there’s still plenty of it out there and it’ll last quite a while. It’s very cool to see people and groups making new films or bringing back dead ones.

JM: How important is social media to the film photography community? 

JL: I was a longtime Instagram holdout because I just thought the whole thing was silly and a lot of it still very much is, but seeing how strong the film community is on IG, I find it inspiring enough to keep at it. It’s been fun having the @filmphotographic page too, which I started a little over a year ago I think. It’s encouraging to see how many film consumers there are out there.

JM: Can you speak a bit about how you went about selecting and editing together images for you upcoming book? 

JL: There’s a flow to it - day to night, night back to day, outskirts to within a city and then back out to the outskirts. A run of B&W and then some color and then back to some B&W. Grouping people together here and there. Themes within a theme I guess. But the whole thing tells (or should tell) a kind of story, without hitting anyone over the head with it. I’ve never felt that photography should be explained. There’s a flow to it and it’s based on how it feels more than how it looks. You create that feeling by how the photos are placed within the book. My upcoming book is all peel-apart film photos taken in America and hopefully there’s a good overall presentation there that will give a certain feel to the viewer based on the contexts and the films used.

JM: Any advice for little known photographers who want to get their work into the public view?

JL: Make books, use Instagram, start groups, websites, podcasts, blogs…

JM: Are there any interesting photography-related stories you would like share?

JL: I photographed Dennis Hopper with 8x10 804 Polaroid film and the one image I kept (I rip up the ones I don’t like until I get the ‘keeper;’ this was back when I was shooting more publication portraits) got stolen from a gallery in Los Angeles and 2-1/2 years later it was recovered. Had it been a print, I would have let it go, but because it was a one-off, and the only 8x10 polaroid of Hopper, it was definitely a bummer. it was nice to get it back. Other than that, I’m usually out there somewhere shooting alone and it’s often pretty uneventful, just me and my cameras.

JM: On a scale of 1 to 10, how cool is Kevin Smith? (And does he chat much?)

JL: 10. super laid back, super cool.

Thanks Jason!



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