UK-based film maker Joel Byron is a creative director at BigPlus and uses film photography regularly within his work. He recently took the Lomo'Instant Square Glass to Mexico and managed to capture the colors and culture of this vibrant country.
Hi Joel, how have you been since we last saw you?
I’ve recently returned from a 3-week road trip in Mexico, which was epic so I’m still buzzing from that! Traveling around with a car meant more freedom and mobility, so it was easy to turn left off the tourist trail and create our own adventures.We traveled around Oaxaca visiting local ancient Zapotec ruins such as Monte Alban and Mitla. We then headed to the coast, stopping off for a couple of nights in the mountains at a small village called San Jose Del Pacifico before reaching the ocean.
How did you get on shooting with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass?
I like the ergonomics/design of the Lomo'Instant Square Glass. It’s neat lightweight and folds down; fitting neatly into most jacket pockets or front pouches which makes it ideal for taking away travelling.My images got better the more I shot with the camera. The + & - exposure are there for a reason so it took a few images before I got used to setting the best exposure.
What did you choose to shoot?
The beauty of traveling is your senses are exposed to new environments, people and food (the food is very important). We visited the natural rock formations of Hierve el Agua where we stayed over night in order to rise early enough to capture sunrise over the mountains, on our way up the path we were followed for about a mile by a couple of stray dogs who were kind enough to pose for a few shots. The views were breathtaking. Instant cameras are not inconspicuous so I chose to be more considered in what I captured…in my experience Mexicans are incredibly hospitable, warm and inviting people. But, it a poor country and understandably people are often wary of being exploited. With this in mind I gave away the portraits I captured as small gifts but captured most of these images on my iPhone. My Spanish is laughable so whilst there were some bemused faces…whenever I looked back each person was left smiling down at their picture!
What do you think is the appeal of instant photography?
The images are precious because there is only one original! They have a unique aesthetic and I love the natural white border, which frames each shot…also it can be helpfully forgiving if an image is slightly out of focus.There is a universal joy in watching a photograph expose right there in front of you… a party trick that keeps giving. Magic!
What’s coming up in 2018?
I’ve been working on quite a few style/fashion projects lately. The briefs are more open and creative + clients have been more willing to embrace shooting on film!
Telecine services have really improved over the last couple of years, which has enables 8mm/16mm film to be scanned in much higher resolution (2.5k & 4k). I’ve been gradually transferring a lot of my work with a view to having an exhibition soon!