If you don’t immediately recognize his name, you should be sorry. Especially if you’re a Twilight fan. He was behind the camera during the Eclipse production, and now, behind yet another camera (one of ours!), he captures a tale for us to enjoy.
Real Name: David Aldrin Slade
City: Los Angeles
Country: Originally from Sheffield, England
How long have you been a Lomographer (or are you new to this whole thing)?
I got my first Lomo Camera in the mid 90s in the Czech Republic. At the time they were old russian military cameras that had been retrofitted LOMOGRAPHY wasn’t yet around in such an omniscient form. It was an ancestor of the LC-A+ that I now use. A year later I would get an ancestor of the Horizon Perfect. Again at the time it just bore the white “HORIZON” logo. I now use one of its descendants.
What is the hands-down greatest Lomographic experience you’ve ever had?
Reversal film in Cornwall England, purposefully misloaded Horizon Perfect with soft edges in woods and lakes of Vancouver.
Describe the LOMO LC-A+ in five words.
Precise, loose, analog and solid.
What made you pursue a career in the motion pictures industry?
I was a journalist a writer, and a photographer. I was writing stories and making images. A BA hons degree in fine art later and it seemed to make more sense than anything else I could have been doing. I believe working in the film industry is a privilege not a given I think its important never gorget that.
My ongoing interest in photography is in part a process of documenting the incredible things that I am lucky enough to be doing. I mostly use available light. I do shoot portraits but largely in an organic way. I have never brought in lights and posed a subject.
This way of working is the antithesis of the way I work in films which is incredibly precise and rehearsed. It keeps my ocular muscles working and it keeps my mind fresh.
Among Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night and Eclipse, which would you say was the funnest to shoot and why?
HARD CANDY hands down, it was my first and still my best film, making it was tense tough, full of military precision, full of humanity and exhaustion. A testimony to the dedication of a creative few. All round one of the most a life affirming experiences I have ever had behind a camera.
From our understanding, you started out directing music videos. How was the transition from music videos to feature films?
Film making is film making, 90% of what gets you anywhere is daring to challenge the areas you don’t understand to learn and better yourself and the understanding of your craft. As a director you can only move forwards by learning more, putting in the work the preparation and dedication. Over time and experience you transition from one thing to another, hopefully rounding out and getting better at everything.
Music videos are largely a visual medium, you need to understand everything about the mechanics of cinema, particularly the mis en scene, the camera, the rectangle in which your film will appear. The more you understand about the craft of film making, the more open making a film will be to your input. Narrative dramatic film has other demands that need to be learned before going blind into the dark, but a solid understanding of the craft of making everything in that rectangle that will become your film is a god start.
What’s your favourite breakfast food?
If you could be any animal in the world, what would you pick and why?
I wouldn’t want to be an animal, they get a rough time of it, I don’t eat animals and haven’t since I was 15.
How has Lomography changed your outlook on photography and feature films?
Everything that is good about LOMO comes back to celluloid and the manual approach to making images. Learning, even if its seeing the difference between a 2.8 and a 5.6 with your own eyes or at least knowing why you would want to choose one over the other.
While digital cameras have an auto everything if you so desire the LOMO has a satisfying barrage of levers, sliders, and wind on cogs that help you understand the mechanics of image making through a physicality that is lost on most cameras.
These days we have computers and digital imaging, CGI work, and we have shutters that wind manually and cameras that need readings to be taken separately with a hand held light meter. They are all image making tools. I don’t believe in the separation of church and state when it comes to imaging tools. With an open mind I think everything benefits from everything.
With an LC-A+ I have a fast sharp glass lens that rivals most digital cameras for resolution, I have a fridge full of old film, a lot of it out of date, I have an underwater body that didn’t cost much and I have a digital scanner. I don’t need much more.
Your advice to future LC-A and Horizon Perfect shooters is…
For the LC-A. Measure, use a tape measure, I carry a DIY tape measure from Home Depot with black marker indicating the distance from the film plane to the focal lengths that the LCA lever rests at. I sit the camera body against the metal part of the tape body and measure the focus.
Happy accidents are great but the more you plan your shooting with light levels choice of film stocks checking focus etc. The more you get things down so they don’t interrupt t the flow of creative process and the more chance you will be happy with the accidents that happen than not.
For the Horizon Perfekt. Remember that the Perfekt has a long distance minimum focus, its not for portraits without some serious home surgery to the camera. The true minimum focus is still not much under 10 feet even with a deep stop.
Carry a light meter, the PERFEKT doesn’t have one built in, I camera tape the cardboard tab from the stock I am shooting to the back of the camera so I don’t forget the ISO inside.
Shoot deeper stop if you can, its a wide angle, wide shot camera for the most part.
Light meter’s may be intimidating to the analogue virgin, but they are easy to use, get a cheap sekonic 2nd hand. I have even done conversation tables shooting a digital camera and used the results as an exposure meter, but trust me that’s more trouble than its worth.
For fun try loading the film OUTSIDE of the sprockets closest to the frame, the camera will still work (though always be delicate when you wind the film) but as the film is not locked down to the film plane you get soft focus vignetting at the left and right of the image.
If you want to print or scan your negatives from the Perfekt, its a bit of a pain but with simple DIY procedures you can figure it all out. LOMO makes a great holder if you are using a flatbed scanner, that takes all the pain away.
If you are going for a drum or something in between (I use a Nikon Coolscan 9000) then you have to get a medium format tray, ideally with sandwiched glass and then trim each neg to fit. You won’t have to crop your image but you will have to store each neg separately after. So get some med format plastic holders.
Similarly printing in an enlarger works with a medium format tray and a liberal helping of black camera tape to stop light leak.