Our featured film photographer, Laura Lynn Petrick, from Ontario began taking photographs when she was 16. Her photography explores ‘societal themes such as contemporary countercultures, consumerism, the sublime, and notions of identity.’ Let us go through her amazing gallery right after the stop.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a country goof from small-town Thunder Bay, fascinated with cultural studies and popular culture, with big ambitions. I am trying to make an honest, fun, and creative living in a busy multicultural metropolis.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I began photographing in my teenage years, I must have started in my first year of high school. I used to have all sorts of dinky digital cameras and disposables, but I would take them out to parties and drop them and all that…. I was unimpressed with the infinite memory cards, the ‘megapixel’ quality, and the instant gratification of the image. I was always very inspired by my grandmother’s film photography, so when my father passed down our family’s Yashica FX 3 Super 2000, I quickly focused on teaching myself the practice of film photography.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
I believe my photography style is natural, unintrusive, slightly painterly, and colourful. My usual subjects are youth culture, nature, and taboo subject matter (drugs, nudity, countercultures, etc.).
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
The soundtrack to my photographs would be the Doors discography, beginning with Strange Days (1967), L.A Woman (1970), and through to the dark poems of An American Prayer (1978). Their music compliments the nostalgic aesthetic of my photographs and revisits the free love/ anti-establishment/ stoned free notions of the counterculture described by the band.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to? Who or what influences your photographic style?
My photography idols involve a handful of visionary photographers from all different decades. The first photographer that caught my eye and greatly inspired me was William Eggleston (Memphis, USA), I love his use of colour and his capturing of the American mundane. Secondly, another American photographer, notorious for her documentation of New York city’s gay subcultures of the late seventies-early eighties. I am fascinated by her subjects and her racy subject matter, they are exciting and real. I admire her soft blending of the private and public. The two of them definitely influence my photographic style, as they are my photography idols. Toronto is also home to many fantastic photographers, many of which I am lucky to know. A local photographer that I admire would be the talented Kavin Wong (former
website- www.sharkvsbear.com, new website, kavin.tumblr.com). I have been a follower of his work years before I came to Toronto. I used to view his photographs online as a teenager, eager to get out of my small town and join him and his subjects in the fun debauchery and creative artistry he fluently documents. He is definitely one of my original inspirations and his work continues to impress me on the daily.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
Ou man, that’s a tricky one. There are soo many people! I would just die to photograph the greatest rockstars of all time. Jim Morrison first. Jimi Hendrix second. In my opinion, they seem like fascinating individuals with extreme talent and mezmerising presence. It would be very interesting to interact with them as photographic subjects and see how their personality and charm plays in with the photograph. I would use my Yashica FX 3 and lots of psychedelic filters to photograph the rock legends.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
Analogue is the originator. Analogue photography is priceless, classic, and aesthetically much more beautiful. Analogue is more artistic, as it is a complex interaction between chemicals and the mechanical structure of the camera. The shots are not infinite, or stored on a memory card, thus they are more refined and not as disposable, as digital photography, in which photographers take hundreds of the same photos in a matter of minutes. Analogue requires more from the photographer, it is requires attentive skill and knowledge of exposure settings. I believe analogue photography is a dynamic art form. I only shoot film, as I believe digital is tiresome, too finicky, frustrating, and does not respond the same way to aperture tricks, multiple exposures, etc.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite? / Which Lomographic camera would you like to have and why?
I own a Diana F + medium format Lomography camera. I love to fool around with all the different films, from black and white to the saturated 100 film. You never quite know what will happen to your shot. One thing’s for sure it will always be a wild one.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
I know, I really love that Analogue is seeing a rejuvenation. It’s crazy to think some generations do not even know what film is. I want that to change! I believe Lomography plays a big role in introducing the beauty of analogue to the masses. To inspire others to shoot analogue, I would say- Think of how exciting it is to shoot an entire roll of film, each shot is worth something, and beautiful in its own way. You can make your photographs appear as complex and gorgeous as a great painting. Film is not just a nostalgic medium, it is a way of life!
Aside from [featured blog], do you have other creative online/offline projects? If none, what other creative pursuits do you wish you could explore?
This is a busy year for me definitely. I have two solo exhibitions going on in the month of March at Toronto galleries, Only One Gallery (March 8th, 88 Harbord St.) and Forgetus Gallery (March 22, 163 Sterling Rd, Unit 29). They are both very different, a graceful blend of my abstract work, my documentary styled work, and intense portraits. Also, In recent months, I have been collaborating with a fantastic high end vintage store, Penny Arcade, in which stylist Chris Koyionis and I work with a muse to create a pictureesque story of a day-in-the-life with a head-to-toe Penny Arcade wardrope. From elegant silk dresses, power-suit dress pants, to rich fur coats. Penny Arcade owner, Rachel will be publishing them very soon on her upcoming website for the store. I also have a zine coming out with the popular Toronto press makers, Blood of The Young, which will have photos from my ethnographic venture into the heavy metal scene of Toronto.