During the last few weeks, we brought the new web series Pdexposures.tv to you. Made in Portland, Oregon by Nate Matos and Ben Davis, the series focuses on all aspects of analogue photography. Since they took a week off last week after producing the next episodes, we used the opportunity to ask them some questions about them and their project.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? What do you do for a living and what kind of things do you do for fun?
Nate: My name is Nate and I’m a Graphic Designer and Social Media manager at a Design firm here in Portland Oregon. I sit in front of a computer all day, and do work I love. But getting out and doing photography away from the computer screen in a tangible fashion is what I love most!
Ben: And my name is Ben Davis, I am a computer science major performing free lance on the side. For fun, I am an avid climber, enjoying bouldering and sport climbing.
What made you decide to produce a weekly web series based around your interest in analogue photography?
Nate: We wanted to showcase the world of film in the way that the people who shoot it, see it. So often film is looked at as a dying medium but by bringing it out into the light rather than discussing it on a webcam was far more engaging and true to life.
Ben: It was honestly the perfect storm, first of all I saw the idea as niche that seemed to have been overlooked. On top of having the work relationship that I have with Nate, and being part of the following that Nate has generated by his belief in film and constant hunt the nostalgic photos or methods to capture a moment, is a mere testament of how deep his love is.
Making a series of videos might not sound like a big deal to some people. Can you go into some detail on the effort that goes into making one episode of the series? What were some of the challenges you had to face and overcome?
Ben: We stay in generally the same neighborhood and try to seek out the weird and Portlandian locations. I make it a point to have the audience feel as though they are on a photo adventure walking around with Nate, while receiving copious amounts of information about the environment or most likely a camera we are highlighting. We roll as much as we can and Nate will flow from topic to topic while I shoot and take detail shots. Each episode takes about two to three hours to shoot and editing takes about an hour for every minute of actual footage.
Nate: Ironically so the main challenge is talking about the camera objectively without seeing the images that are being taken.
The video in which you shot a Praktica camera with a Russian rifle has caused some disappointed comments amongst viewers, saying that the camera or parts of it could still have been used. What was your idea behind that video and what was your response to these comments?
Nate: We did it for fun as the broken camera (and lens) were lying around. What people watching don’t see is the Pdexposures Group donating used 35mm cameras to local schools to promote film photography and the wet darkroom experience.
Ben: We were actually looking to blow it up with some target practice explosives but couldn’t get some in time.
Nate: Haha that’s right, it would have been neat if we had more slow motion cameras too.
You seem to be going through a lot of film with your profession and hobby. How do you keep film photography affordable for yourself?
Nate: Developing at home saves a lot on cost and time, I encourage everyone who hasn’t tried it to do so, it’s incredibly simple!
Ben: I steal mine from Nate’s fridge. Haha.
Do you have any favorite cameras? Can you go into some detail on why you enjoy shooting with them?
Nate: It’s funny but I feel guilty talking about my favorite cameras to use, because honestly I don’t feel like I’m good enough to use them! But my favorite is the Leica M6. It is everything a camera needs, and nothing more. So simple, well built, and it will last a lifetime. Plus it is still compact which is the biggest thing I look for in a camera.
Ben: I have enjoyed shooting with a number of cameras but the Polaroid SX-70 is an awesome option for instant film. But mostly I shoot digital, my 5D Classic is a favorite because of its versatility and robustness.
How do you decide on a certain camera for a specific project?
Nate: We like to find cameras that are unique or interesting, cameras you may not see every day or are different in one way or another!
Ben: So basically anything in Nate’s bag of cameras.
Nate: It’s true, I have over 200 in my collection.
Similar question for film: Do you have some favorite films and in what kind of situations do you use them?
Ben: I don’t shoot film all that often, but some high contrast black and white is a classic.
Nate: I stopped shooting digitally a while ago, my go to is Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600 in HC110. It’s a simply wonderful combination. But for personal reasons I’ll be switching over to Ilford. As for color, to me nothing beats a properly exposed slide. The colors, contrast, clarity are unmatched.
Can you give us some hints on what you’re going to do in the next episodes of Pdexposures.tv?
Ben: In one we take a hike to famous mansion in Portland, highlighting a really nice instant camera.
Nate: That was a fun one, we’ve also explored some more industrial parts of Portland with another instant camera. I know we’re being vague but there is so much we have in store! Interviews, more challenges (the corner to corner was a favorite) and some other fun stuff in between! Season one of Pdexposures.tv is now half way over, and we’ve barely started to crack the surface!
You will be able to find every new episode of Pdexposures.tv in our magazine section. Here are some bloopers from the shootings of the first episodes Nate and Ben have put together:
You have missed the first five episodes? Watch them right here:
pdexposures.tv is made by Nate Matos and Ben Davis. Originally, pdexposures was started by Nate as an outlet for his work in photography. You might have come across some of his youtube videos in the past in which he discusses different aspects of analogue photography and gives hints and tips.