One-On-One with Barbara Astman

Artist and University Professor Barbara Astman began her career entirely using instant film! She chats with us about her love for instant photography and shares with us some upcoming works - check it out after the jump!

Untitled (Visual Narrative Series 2 of 2), via Barbara Astman

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a senior artist who is actively engaged with the art community through exhibitions and teaching. I am a Professor at OCAD U and have been teaching experimental based courses that deal with materiality and instinct and intuition. I exhibit at the Corkin Gallery and national and international museums. You can see what I am doing by going to my own website which features my public art or the Corkin Gallery website for a general overview.

You started off your photography career almost entirely using instant film. Why did you choose this medium to work with?

Instant gratification! After studying design and silversmithing which are very slow and labor intensive, the immediacy of the Polaroid camera and film was very appealing. I had certain ideas that I wanted to explore visually dealing with performative based work and the Polaroid along with the self timer felt like a good fit. I needed to see what I was doing as I was doing it and correct what needed to be corrected on the spot. I was also attracted to the saturation of the color in the SX-70, with no apparent grain. I quickly learned that I could use a 4 × 5 camera (pre- digital days) to re-photograph the instant image which allowed me to blow my work up to life size images.

What is your weapon of choice and why?

I own a variety of Polaroid cameras, in fact you might say I hoard them! I use whichever one works and am partial to the SX-70 film but will shoot on the Spectra film too. The SX-70 has a finer grain and greater color saturation, so I just find it more appealing. Once I run out of film, I will have to try out the new instant cameras on the market.

What kind of projects have you done when it comes to instant photography?

Pretty well all of my art from the early 1970’s up to the right 2002 originated as a Polaroid Instant Image, which was then either re-photographed or scanned to create a larger digital version that was shown. You can see a historical overview at ccca.ca and keep in mind that most of this began as an instant image.

For some of the bodies of work, the instant image was peeled apart, manipulated and layered back up on top of one another. I liked that it had the ability to become translucent or transparent depending upon how much you manipulated the peeled image.

Dancing with Che, via the Corkin Gallery

You’ve taught a course in the Ontario College of Art & Design on “experimental processes.” Do you have any tips for our community on shooting with instant film and getting the most out of it?

While always keeping health and safety in mind, you should feel free to try what ever it is that you want out of the medium which would usually be in response to a concept you are exploring.

Do you still use instant film in your works today?

Yes, I sometimes still pull out a camera and shoot with Polaroid film. I have a slow moving collage series that incorporates instant images. I tend to have the idea first then decide what medium or materials are necessary to create the idea. If the idea needs to be done with Polaroid film, then I will use it.

And lastly, any upcoming projects we should look out for from you?

Yes, I am in an exhibition at the AGO, Light My Fire: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography, Part I: until October 20 2013, curated by Sophie Hackett, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON opening in early May and during that same time period, I am in a group show at the McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton. called, Flowers and Photography

In June, my installation dancing with che: enter through the gift shop opens at MOCCA, Toronto. The opening is June 21. On June 19 I have a show opening at Corkin Gallery, Toronto, in conjunction with the MOCCA show along with a “artist in dialogue” event on the Saturday June 22 at the Corkin Gallery. The Corkin show will include the original Polaroids form the dancing with che series.

- -

For more information on Barbara, check out her website

written by ashleyaang on 2013-05-02 in #lifestyle

More Interesting Articles

  • Brigette Bloom Talks 'Float On,' Film Soaking

    written by chooolss on 2014-08-07 in #lifestyle
    Brigette Bloom Talks 'Float On,' Film Soaking

    Her choice of soak for her photographic series "Float On" may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it can't be denied that something so unique deserves a spot in the limelight. During a recent chat with Brigette Bloom, the outlandishly experimental film photographer eagerly shared her inspiration for the series, process (a tipster!), and what she thought of people's reactions over her work, among other things. Check out the exclusive interview after the cut!

    6
  • Petzval Artist: Natural Photography Series and Interview with Alexandra Sophie

    written by mariemcnaan on 2014-06-20 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: Natural Photography Series and Interview with Alexandra Sophie

    Alexandra Sophie is a young self-taught fashion and illustration photographer who has already amassed a huge online following. She agreed to test the Petzval artistic lens and used it to create delicate and beautiful nature-themed images. See her work and learn about her photography philosophy after the jump.

    1
  • Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-29 in #people #lifestyle
    Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    While many of us can only dream of working with musicians and photographing them, Angela Izzo's job entails exactly that. Apparently, this is a fulfillment of her own dream that she had when she was younger. In this interview, Izzo talks about her beginnings which, of course, included going to as many shows and festivals as she possibly can; some of her most memorable on-the-job-experiences with the likes of The Doors, Lykke Li, Jack White, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood; her inspirations and other interests; and her love for film photography and Diana Mini. And to those looking into fulfilling their own dreams of working in the same industry, Izzo also shares helpful advice based on her own experiences.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • LomoAmigo: Larissa Lily at Kew Gardens

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-10-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Larissa Lily at Kew Gardens

    Larissa Lily is a UK based photographer and writer who agreed to share some of her Petzval shots with us and explain a bit about her love for film photography. She took it on a recent trip to Kew Gardens, and here are the results.

  • Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-17 in #people #news #lifestyle #locations #lomoamigos
    Lomo'instant LomoAmigo: Martin Smith

    Martin Smith is a London based film photography fan who was one of the first people to receive the Lomo'instant from the Kickstarter Campaign. Since then he's been avidly shooting around town. Martin chatted to us about his love for instant photography and showed us some of his excellent shots. Read on for the full interview.

    1
  • All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the Petzval Lens

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-22 in #people #lomoamigos
    All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the Petzval Lens

    A wedding photographer based in New Jersey, Michelle Lange is all about weddings and engagements. After her own wedding and spending years on wedding research, she decided to take the plunge, pursue her passion and create a dream career. In this interview, she talks about her passion and her work, and showcases a series of photographs she shot with a Petzval Lens.

  • Shop News

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    Enjoy a truly analogue moviemaking experience with Lomography's 35mm movie camera and an accompanying accessory to watch your films with. View your masterpieces in the most analogue way possible with the LomoKinoscope. Get it now 20% off the regular price!

  • FEElim Photography's Samantha Talks About Pre-wedding Photography with the Petzval Lens

    written by zoeyeung on 2014-06-17 in #lifestyle
    FEElim Photography's Samantha Talks About Pre-wedding Photography with the Petzval Lens

    After our previous little chat with Samantha of FEElim Photography, we just couldn't wait to learn more about her pre-nuptial photography experience using our Petzval Art Lens, and were eager for some tips on how to use the lens for a prenup shoot. Read on for our interview with Samantha and of course, get hold on her amazing photography along with a few pre-wedding shots!

  • LomoAmigo: Super Kawaii Asami Nobuoka Shoots with the Lomo'Instant

    written by ciscoswank on 2014-12-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Super Kawaii Asami Nobuoka Shoots with the Lomo'Instant

    Asami is a "Super Kawaii" a.k.a super cute, Instagramer who has 16,000 followers. She loves analogue cameras and she is totally in love with the Diana Mini. Check out her creative piece of instant shots taken with the Lomo'Instant.

  • A Petzval Series with Sarah Zanon

    written by givesmehell on 2015-04-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    A Petzval Series with Sarah Zanon

    Sarah Zanon is an incredibly talented graphic design student and photographer. She has agreed to share with us her beautiful series of photographs taken with our well-loved Petzval Lens. Here's an exclusive interview with her!

  • Shop News

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Shoot more with LC-A 120 without breaking your budget! The Phoblographer Editor’s Choice Award Winner now comes in a Bundle with 120 format film at 15% off!

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-18 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    Dale McCready is a cinematographer working in the film/ TV industry and has worked on programmes such as Doctor Who and Merlin. He was one of our supporters for the Petzval Kickstarter campaign and recently used the lens to film for a new BBC drama, which is due out in March. Dale kindly shared some of his Petzval photographs with us and talked about his love for this lens. Read on for the full interview.

  • Crafty Creativity: LomoAmigo Felt Mistress

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-03 in #people #lomoamigos
    Crafty Creativity: LomoAmigo Felt Mistress

    Louise Evans AKA Felt Mistress designs and makes cute, colorful monsters and characters out of felt. She has worked with the likes of artist Pete Fowler and musician Gruff Rhys, and even made a special felt character for a Lomography Exhibition back in 2012. She shot with the LC-A+ and Fisheye Baby recently, and shared personal insight regarding her work.

  • Lomo'Instant First Impressions: mamablue

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-12-04 in #lifestyle
    Lomo'Instant First Impressions: mamablue

    Mamablue has been shooting with her two Polaroid cameras for years. She's no stranger to instant photography but the Lomo'Instant camera challenged her to get even more creative. Have a look at her first Lomo'Instant snapshots and her quick tip on using the camera's close-up feature.

    2