Award winning photographer & filmmaker Dean Chalkley has shot the likes of Daft Punk, The White Stripes, Oasis and Amy Winehouse. He has worked with various record companies & fashion brands over the years. We gave him Lomo'Instant Automat to test out his instant skills.
Hello Dean, tell us a bit about yourself?
To explain a bit about myself…I'm probably best known for being a photographer; I also make films and occasional art installations. My work can be seen in Galleries, Magazines, Books, Record covers and Campaigns. I do what I do because it reflects the subjects I'm interested in. Whether it’s Popular or Sub Culture, my images more often than not celebrate the individual, individuality or the collective notion of bonding. Personal work and commissions complement each other and generally go hand in hand. I love the Mod styles and adopted music that emerged in the clubs during the early 1960's (especially Soul music, even more especially Northern Soul) in the UK. My musical tastes are broad though, progressive and expansive, I revere the past and dive into the future.
How did you get on shooting with the Lomo'Instant Automat?
I liked using the Lomo'Instant Automat it was small and compact, very easy to use and light to carry. The format of the images was fun and when scanned (and the Lomo crew will tell you I scanned the images at a super high resolution initially because I think we might exhibit a selection of the pictures in the future sometime), they take on a very nice quality. I think the combination of the plastic lens, instant film process and size of the captured image all add up to produce an interesting character to the images. Oh, one admission…um... So, I took this camera thousands of miles in the time I did this little bunch of pictures - Southend-on-Sea, London, Suffolk, British Virgin Isles..etc. Unfortunately the camera has now disappeared. I think it must have gotten wind of it's imminent return to Lomo central ...it's done a runner. So somewhere in the world that little ‘Automat' could be snapping away. Who knows where it will end up and what it will see!
What did you choose to shoot?
I took the Automat with me most places over a period of time, along the way I shot stuff that I thought would be intriguing.. I shot Elvis! Well, a little metal Elvis statue in Bobby Joe's Diner, a Cadillac and some interesting people at the Red Rooster Festival in Suffolk, some shots of Rock ’n’ Roll band The Second Sons. In fact Chris from the band featured in quite a few shots. I went to the British Virgin Islands on a job and on a day off I shot a few sheets. I met up with my friend Billy Childish at the L-13 Light industrial Workshop.
As you can see I shot a whole bunch of stuff, there's even one of Nick Corbin, lead singer of New Street Adventure with a drawn on head extension. (The band are set to break up in January 2018 so that’ll add even more significance to the image in time.)
That's the fun thing about instant film; you can immediately mess around with it and it makes photography immediately very sociable and inclusive. I probably gave away as many images as I shot because when people see them they love them and it's nice to share things innit.
What's been your most memorable moment throughout your photographic career?
…Blimey there have been so many things... I've been in some very unusual situations throughout my career. Surrounded by a militia and threatened to be shaved…yup, I know that sounds odd - it was. I’ve jumped and laughed with Scarlett Johansson, I've stared into the eyes of Liam Gallagher at close quarters, I've dangled from a paraglider whilst shooting models in speedboats below me. There are too many things to list, every image or shoot produces special memories to me. In a way, that’s the natural and beautiful thing about photography, the preservation of the immediate memory but also the trigger that unlocks the peripheral memories, Richard Ashcroft eloquently put it in a Verve song 'looking through her red box of memories'. I take everything on it's own merit and mere celebrity for its own sake does not interest me. But working with interesting people constantly interests me.
What's coming up in the future?
2018 is going to be an interesting year there are several projects bubbling up, exhibitions in development and interesting people to photograph. I’m going to present a new film project featuring the brilliant Kojey Radical and I’m looking forward to working with long term clients as well as getting together with new people too, it should be good. The general landscape of photography is changing, new potentials are emerging so that’s pretty exciting to approach, it doesn’t come without risk and you have to be committed, but pushing forward into what I feel is a new phase is very, very stimulating.
For more of Dean's work visit his website. deanchalkley.com