BeAnalogic.com promotes and spreads the idea of analog photography, that is why we want to learn more about our users! “Outside Fridge” is a section of our website, where we interview our users. Why “Outside Fridge”? Often, analog photographers save their films in the fridge, to maintain the quality of celluloid. Once put, you can “relax and chat” with us. Today we interview Andreas Xavier.
Sebastiano: Who is Andreas Xavier?
Andreas: Andreas Xavier is an Italian guy interested in photography that has still much to learn. I’m absolutely not a professional photographer!
Sebastiano: When did your passion for photography start?
Andreas: This passion started when I (re)discovered analog photography. In the past I owned different digital cameras to take “ordinary” photos just like everyone else. Three years ago I was trying to sell on Ebay my dad’s old camera. Then I found a Lomo Smena 8M on sale and I bought it. I quickly got familiar with manual controls for aperture, shutter speed and the focus ring. I’m sure analog cameras helped me to become a better photographer.
Sebastiano: Do you remember when you took your first film roll?
Andreas: I am “thirtysomething” years old, so when I was a kid all cameras were analogic. Probably I took my first roll when I was ten: I received a Canon Prima Junior as first communion gift.
Sebastiano: What do you like about analogic photography or photography in general?
Andreas: I don’t blame digital photography to be less spontaneous and pure. But analogic photography definitely has some peculiarities. I’m not only referring to the fascination with something vintage or retrò. There’s more. I studied Mass Communication at university and I still remember the famous phrase of McLuhan: «The medium is the message». For example, if someone takes two pictures of the same subject, the first with analogic and the second with digital, the results will be generally different: the photos will have unrelated meanings, they will inspire different feelings and atmospheres, they will represent two distinct messages.
Sebastiano: What kind of photography usually you shot and what kind of analogic camera did you use?
Andreas: I’m interested in several kind of photography: landscapes, urbex, abandoned places, street and documentary, portraits, still life etc. I mainly use SLR cameras like Praktica MTL 5 B and Exa 1C with Pentacon lens, 30 and 50 mm (old and robust stuff manufactured in DDR!). In particular, I force myself to use cameras with no automatic settings (no autofocus, no light meter and so on). This becouse I’m still a beginner trying to improve his skills. I recently fell in love with the Exa becouse of the waist-level viewfinder. Sometimes I also have fun with toy cameras, like Diana F.
Sebastiano: What are the characteristics that distinguish you as a photographer?
Andreas: So far I never had the purpusose to create a recognizable personal style and I still don’t know if I have got one. I honestly think that in 2017 it’s very hard to produce something truly original and never seen before. Sometimes the ambition to be “unique” at any cost could turn in a kind of obsession that is not good for the creative process. So I never imposed myself any guidelines. I just try to be genuine and open-minded.
Sebastiano: I see on your Flickr profile that you shoot people and places. Can you talk about this project?
Andreas: I usually tend to capture the relationship between humans and places, both urban/suburban and natural. Probably my best shots are those representing the different ways people interact with public spaces. Or landscapes and views where can be perceived traces of human presences. But I have to say that these things come easy to me becouse I live in a big city. This is an endless source of inspiration to me.
Sebastiano: Who are the photographers that influenced your work?
Andreas: Hard question. Of course there are great photographers that I admire: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leonard Freed, Robert Frank, Steve McCurry, Saul Leiter, Charles H. Traub, Sebastião Salgado and others. I also appreciate some young talents I discover every day on the Internet (too many to list!). Maybe all of them influenced me somehow. But frankly I don’t think about it when I take photos: there’s just me and the image in the viewfinder.
Sebastiano: What is the future of analogic photography?
Andreas: I can’t predict the future, but let’s look at the present. Megapixels never killed films. Furthermore it seems the analogic photography is living a renaissance. Few years ago some people believed this was only a “hipsterish” fad (like vinyl for music industry). But interest about analogic photos is still growing: projects related to film photography raised a lot of money with Kickstarter, Kodak and Ferrania gave back to life discontinued films, new models of instant camera are on sale (also by famous brands such as Leica). When this trend will change and analogic photography will become less popular, analog lovers will still exist in the next years (or decades).
Sebastiano: Your plans for future?
Andreas: I have no exact plans, but there are few things that I’d like to do. Nothing too pretentious: firstly to improve my skills, particularly in portrait photography; eventually to experiment and mess up with different developing chemicals; last, to create one day a personal website as online portfolio.
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