Community newcomer Sharyn Bachleda (@sharynbachleda) uses her passion for arts not only as a means of self-expression, but also to help others find their own voice. In this interview, she opens up about what film photography means to her and what pushes her to keep exploring this medium.
Name: Sharyn Bachleda
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
My name is Sharyn Ashley Bachleda and I'm just another introvert who makes a lot of art. I balance freelance photography and art, co-teaching an art class at a mental health and addiction recovery center through Healing Arts Project and I'm currently assisting art camps at the Hendersonville Arts Council here in Tennessee. I graduated from Watkins College of Art in Nashville, TN in 2015 and my interdisciplinary practice ranges from drawing, painting, mixed media to projection-based video art but film photography is definitely my main obsession. I'm currently working on a show that will be on display this coming August here in Nashville.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
A month ago or so you guys posted this article with one of my internet-photography friends, Jonathan Moore, and I saw that there was an online community of all film photographers which I thought was pretty cool. Being primarily a film photographer who is always excited to meet fellow film photographers, I didn't need much convincing.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
Any camera in my hand instantly becomes an extension of myself. My "everyday life" fluctuates so much and I shoot differently depending on the context so this is a hard question. It's entirely dependent on whether I'm traveling, helping someone manifest their own vision, or simply capturing what's in front of me in the moment. I think it's important to practice staying present and follow your intuition.
Most of the time, I have my camera on me but I do believe that it is necessary to put restrictions on oneself and I give myself "fasting days" every now and then when I feel like I have a lot of images to mentally (and physically) process. For me, in the end all that matters is whether the image is effective and authentic.
When critiquing my images, I think things like "What story is being told here and is that relevant?" I photograph as a way of visual storytelling but it rarely goes as planned so as long as one person connects with it for a moment, I'm satisfied. I like having a point of departure and letting myself go a new way if needed. Each of my cameras help me speak a different language. I love any point and click ("trash cams" as I call them) for those quick, reactionary moments on the street, while driving, at an event and just documenting things that happen too quickly to properly meter or advance the film on my medium format Bronica EC-TL. I absolutely love using my Bronica for more intentional images where I really want to see the texture and my 35mm Canon FT QL is perfect for those situations where I'm not sure what's going to happen next but I just have to keep chasing the light and find out.
In this digital age, why still film?
When one takes a photograph on film, they are literally causing a physical reaction as light penetrates the spherical lens, bounces off the mirror and onto light-sensitive material while utilizing the combination of science, math, history and art... all to be saved in a light tight box until it gets developed. I mean, how can you not fall in love with that? It's like a child staring at a record and thinking: "How in the world can this thing make sound?" Then it comes alive and adds an overwhelming energy to a space... I guess I'll always have this child-like curiosity to the magic of how light works in space and the fact that I am not only able to capture it, but share it with the world on a level that transcends time, space, and language makes me feel like maybe I am here for a reason.
Your favorite analog camera as of the moment? Why?
Currently, I've been really diggin' my new (old...it's from 1975) Bronica EC-TL that I got from Japanese eBay! But my all-time love, my go-to camera is my 1966 Canon FT QL that was my grandfather's from the Air Force. He gifted it to me when I was 16 for my first darkroom photo class and I fell in love with the way it feels in my hands, the satisfying click of the shutter, the cold metal and the crisp shallow depth of field of the super heavy 50mm 1.2 lens! I've had so many cameras over the years, but that's still the first camera I pick up when I want to go shoot.
What is the Lomographic camera you’d want to have someday?
Probably the Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter Medium Format Camera since I am in love with medium format but my very heavy Bronica can be a literal pain in the neck to carry around. The Spinner 360 also looks like a lot of fun for traveling though! I can fall in love with any camera though.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
I'm only 24 so as much as I think I know, I don't... so I would hate to limit myself to any particular philosophy since I am an ever-changing human in this ever-changing world. Although music has always played a big role in my life and many of my friends and clients are musicians. A few bands that have played a significant role in my life the past few years would definitely be Chelsea Wolfe, Radiohead, Patrick Watson, The Mars Volta, and I have a thing for anything Nordic. As for movies, everything by Wes Anderson is impeccable: the lighting, the color palettes, the set design, the FILM... AH I just love it. David Lynch is also a big inspiration. I dig the weird dark dreamy stuff. But I take inspiration just about any moving image.
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
I'm still pretty new to this site but this photo recently stood out to me:
The wanderlust in me is always a bit more struck by images of other countries and lately I've had the itch to go to Iceland. With how loud and busy America can be, the silence of the vast land like this really appeals to me.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
I haven't explored enough work on this platform to answer that honestly but the interview you guys did with Jonathan Moore introduced me to this community in the first place and his work is amazing! It has a very raw cinematic quality to it, almost as if it's an in-between moment in a film. Something I've been thinking about a lot regarding my work is capturing the moments "in-between", allowing the photographs to make the viewer think about filling in the gaps and imagining a world outside the boxed in perspective, rather than getting the whole story. We will never get the whole story.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
I love that this community spans so many countries and that I can witness personal film photographs from people all over the world yet stay on my couch. Also being a film nerd, it's exciting seeing people tagging the film, camera and lens they used paired with the location.
Thank you Sharyn for sharing your thoughts with us! Welcome to the community and we're looking forward to seeing more of your future work!