Arat Komsawadichai aka Huge is a photographer from Thailand who is passionate about film photography. He used to be a regular at the Lomography Soho store and would often hang out in the shop and help customers out just because he's so crazy about film! Arat recently had the opportunity to shoot his brother's wedding using the Petzval Lens and LomoChrome Purple film, yielding fascinating results.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography?
Hello my name is Arat, but most people know me as Huge. I am from Thailand but currently live in the UK. I like to think of myself as an artist, not a photographer. I believe that by claiming you are a photographer people can pre-judge your work. I find that sometimes it leads them to look too much into the technical side, but to me it is not about having the sharpest image. I try to put as much of my personality into my work as possible. I think it is also important, especially when photographing people, to show the subject’s personality. I started getting involved with photography at a young age, I remember my sister giving me an LC-A some time ago. I’ve recently discovered that this camera had been hiding away in my room, having already bought myself an LC-A+ a few year earlier. Being young you lose interest in things easily. One time my family took a big road trip through Europe and I still remember to this day my brother jumping over some fences to take a picture of miniature houses and seeing the photo it looked as if it was real houses. I remember thinking I want to be able to do that.
When I was at boarding school I joined a photography club, it was run by our own boarding staff who took an interest in photography, it was very limited in terms of equipment. It still didn’t really catch on until I discovered Lomography about five years ago. It was Christmas and my cousin said to me he wanted to buy a camera for his girlfriend, I went to join him on this quest to find this mythical camera he’d been talking about. It was of course the LC-A+ but it still wasn’t what caught my eye, it was the Lubitel one of the staff had around his neck. I bought myself a Lubitel and from then on I pretty much never left the house without a camera. So to put it shortly, Lomography changed my life.
How was it shooting with the New Petzval lens?
First thing about the Petzval you should know, it is NOT a discreet lens (maybe in black, but it still stands out). I was getting crowded around left to right with people asking about what this four and a half inches of shiny gold in front of my camera. This isn’t a bad thing, it allowed me to connect with people and talk about the thing that I love, photography. Even though I’ve shot with this lens quite a bit already this was the first time I really put it through a good bit of abuse, I was shooting my brother’s wedding for him and put this lens to the test. It’s also great fun figuring out what works best with it and how well it can withstand a whole day of shooting non-stop. Shooting with the lens I found that it work best on analogue cameras.
What do you love about film photography?
Shooting it on film makes it more meaningful to me, the process more than anything, I feel it allows me to connect with the images. I also feel that it really does have a soul. It is a chemical reaction that happens when light hit that silver on your film, it captures the moment in time you decide to click the shutter. The feeling of hold and looking at your negative/positive/polaroid/wetplate, whatever it is, you’ve just shot and developed is never the same as staring at an SD card in your hand. However, to me it is not about digital vs. film, but both working together in harmony, the technology is there we should use it, it is the next step in technological advance of photography much like what film was when it was first introduced.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait?
Perfect is a difficult one, for me it is maybe finding the imperfection that is more important. Because if we’ve reached perfection then what else are we working towards?
Have you had any difficult or challenging situations throughout your photography career?
The thing with photography in Thailand is that its pretty much been taken over by digital. So it is very hard for me to shoot analogue at home; the labs out there are not the best and there’s very limited choice in film. So I either have to take film with me, risking that monster of an x-ray machine or buy whatever is available. In a way though I think that may be a good thing. It forces me to use what I’ve got to the best of my ability.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Honestly ? I can’t answer that I’ll get back to you in 10 years.
Thanks for the interview, Arat!