There can never be an age that's too young or too old for film photography. That’s what photographer Lindsey Lee proves when it comes to her commercial work in film. Check out what she said in our quick chat with her after the jump.
You may already have seen her photos on the Internet or your favorite magazine. She has a distinct affinity to youth culture and her film photos are just zinged with jolts of youthful energy. If you still don’t know who she is then it’s best you check our previous feature on her works. And for those who do, we present to you again, Lindsey Lee.
You may get this question in a lot on interviews but still we’d like to ask: how and when did you start shooting on film?
A question like this never gets old. My dad was always documenting family vacations and my athletic games, so I started playing around with his professional cameras when I was young, but I was always most drawn to disposables. I experimented with intentional destruction of plastic cameras while taking photos of my friends and waited for surprising results when I visited the local Walgreens.
What makes analogue photography special for you? Is there anything specific about shooting on film that makes it particularly stand out?
Everytime someone asks this question I feel a bit like James Bond. I do it for the risk. It’s easy to take digital photos and spend live shooting time manipulating your results. It’s more profound to go with an instinctive feeling and create a photographic series entirely on film.
What makes your approach to shooting with film different from shooting with digital?
Shooting with film is exact. There is no room for error. Not to mention when you’re shooting film you have to be in perfect harmony with your model(s.) Especially if you have a distinct result in mind (and not enough film to make mistakes.)
Your photographic body of work really works around youth culture, can you talk more about that?
To me, being young is kind of what everyone seems to be in love with. Adults always reminisce about “the good times” before they got old and boring and young people spend their days being mischievous and light-hearted because “YOLO.” I’m only 23 so right now I’m enjoying spending time with adventurous young people and documenting the shenanigans. For a little bit, I got a bored (and perhaps cynical) with taking photos in my daily life, but recently I’ve managed to revive my inspiration for capturing these more personal moments. Whether project-based or personal, I attempt to offer my audience a permanent opportunity to feel young.
We can just feel the energy coming from your photos. How do you envision your shots even before you compose them?
Typically I have a sort of inspiration board. Whether it’s literal or figurative I have an idea in mind: a character, a feeling, a scene. I like to be flexible with my shoots because I like to collaborate with everyone on set: the model, hairstylist, makeup, and even assistants. I want a final product reflective of a team effort. That being said there are plenty of shoots consisting of only models and I, and in that case it’s strictly a collaboration between the model and myself. I love getting to know models and creating imaginative scenes.
Those light leaks and flares are really sweet. Is that a style that we’re seeing in your photographs? What would you say is the “Lindsey brand” when it comes to your shots?
I would say light leaks are a big part of my work. As I said before I love manipulating film to give it character. As far as a “Lindsey brand” I would say that possibility, youth, color and nonconformity are the main elements that encompass my body of work.
Do you have personal rules that you apply to your own work? Please share them with our readers.
I care a lot about composition. If a photo is ill composed I won’t use it.
Some of your photographs are just bursting with spontaneity. Do you ever shoot from the hip?
Absolutely. I’m only 5’ 2" so some of the time I actually shoot with my arms fully extended above me. I also use ladders, high points of view, and even laying on the ground to get the right shot.
As a young photographer yourself with already so much under your belt, what tips can you give to other aspiring analogue shooters out there?
Make connections. If your dream is to share art with the world start sharing it now. Get connected with your community and make it happen for yourself. Self-motivation and preservation are far more fulfilling than any freebies anyway.
What is your take on photography as an art?
To me photography is incredible art. Photography provides us with the ability to manipulate reality in a way that paintings and sculptures take weeks, months, or even years to create. The fact that we are able to print a near perfect version of reality on paper fascinates me. I do, however, understand why others feel that photography has no artistic merit, especially in 2014. I think that platforms like Instagram have made taking an original “artistic” photo much more difficult, but I have never been one to shy away from a little competition, and I love the idea of continuously raising the bar even if the pressure to produce increases daily.
Which artists inspire you in your work? Any artists that we should follow?
Tamara Lichtenstein has always been a big inspiration for me. We both grew up in Houston and she was a few years older than me and served as a reminder that doing what you love is as easy as doing what you love. Petra Collins has become a huge inspiration for me over the last couple of years – I love what she’s causing to be surfaced regarding our male-dominated society through her installations and photographs. As a twenty-something-year-old woman, I feel that the need to produce intelligent content for young minds to consume is vital to the progression of our culture. Nothing makes me happier than to see a significant shift in the empowerment from feminine sexual oppression through shows like Orange is the New Black and films like Oppressed Majority.
Given the chance to collaborate with any artist or photographer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
Goshhhhhh, that’s a really hard one. I think I would have to pick Picasso. Before I started shooting with “real” models, I experimented quite often with light painting. Picasso had some ideas far before his time, and I would love to have the chance to work with him.
What’s next for Lindsey Lee? Any last words for our readers?
Right now I’m working on the same model project I’ve been doing for the last couple of years A Minute and a Half With, as well as a blog that I launched on Halloween called Bullshit Before Breakfast. I just shot for SXSW and I am still a little low on sleep. Once I catch up, I’ll be starting a few new conceptual art projects: a film and a collaborative art project with a good friend. For all you readers, don’t stop dreaming, and, more importantly, don’t stop striving to make your dreams your reality.
You can see more light leaks and vibrant photos of youth from Lindsey Lee in her website.
Liked this article? Check out our other interviews with amazing artists:
A Quick Chat With Lauren Field
A Quick Chat With City Space Photographer Clarissa Bonet
A Quick Chat With Pinhole Enthusiast Barend Mossing Holsteijn
A Quick Chat With Washi Film Creator Lomig Perrotin
A Quick Chat With Dreamscape Photographer and Ladytron’s Reuben Wu