Photographer under the name "Anthony Awaken" introduces his series of abandoned buildings and architecture. Titled "Days Gone By", Anthony restricted himself to only use the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass. Opening his eye's up to new refined vision of his photography.
How did you come up with this series?
"Days Gone By" has been a series that I've had in mind for at least a year. The focus of this series aims to encompass the "old world" and things that are now a part of our history, rather than our present day to day. The overall vision for this series is to photograph old signs, old (and often abandoned) buildings and things of that nature.
"Days Gone By" really won't have an end-date either. I actually plan for this to be an ongoing collection of photos that I add onto as I see interesting places or things that need to be documented. (meaning, the Instant Automat is always in my bag)
Who or what inspires you as a photographer?
Firstly, I love seeing other people who are doing incredible and unique work. With that said, I keep a fairly curated feed of other photographers works on social media. Some of these people are doing film photography, some are strictly landscape photographers and some are street photographers. I honestly jump between a lot of photography styles myself to keep things fresh & interesting, so it's nice to see the variety from other people as well (instead of just looking at one style all of the time).
Aside from other peoples work, I am actually a full-time creator for a living (I run a creative studio). So creativity is a normal part of my day-to-day and I feel lost when I'm not creating something. However, as you can imagine, this can get pretty exhausting at times too. Which is why I like to have personal projects in the works at all times. These projects put the creative direction & vision totally in my hands... And that's a huge creative inspiration for me to create new and interesting things that I'm personally happy with.
You photograph a lot of abandoned places, why this subject?
Absolutely. As I mentioned above, it's my way to let these places live forever. I believe older places have so much more character than modern-day buildings in their architecture & visuals. I come from a design & branding background, so I'm very much drawn to signs and logos found on these older buildings as well (which are, sadly abandoned most of the time). I also love the mystery that comes from abandoned places. Often times, I find myself in places that were active in the 70's and 80's. So the contrast between our current age and that time period is really interesting. It's honestly like jumping in a time-machine exploring these places and I think that is so much fun.
It's also neat when you photograph an abandoned place and it starts conversations with people who have had past experiences when it was still active. It helps to bring the whole experience full circle and give context to the location.
What attracts you to instant photography?
I love film in general. The look and overall feel are very hard to reproduce in digital images these days. We're all trying to do it with filters, custom overlays in Photoshop, etc...But nothing beats the real thing. I like Instant Photography because you get the perks of film and you can visually check to make sure you get your shot. This is important for me since I don't always have the luxury of revisiting certain locations and I want to make sure my shot turned out the way I intended.
How was working with the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass?
The Lomo'Instant Automat Glass is fantastic! The wide angle lens covers a lot of space...Which I like for capturing larger scenes, such as buildings. It offers just enough creative flexibility with an optional ND Filter, built-in exposure comp, and flash. The limited amount of controls allows me to focus on the photo/creative aspect for a change, rather than a bunch of manual settings and that's a nice change of pace.
Being restricted to something as gratifying as instant photography, how did that change your thinking composition-wise?
Though Instax Mini Film is a great price per shot, it makes you more conscious of how many shots you fire off. I know when I shoot Instant Film I'm always thinking, "okay I'm tossing 50 cents into this photo right now, so I have to make it count". That kind of mentality restricts me to be a lot more picky about the shots I take. I also focus heavily on trying to perfect my image in camera (even/straight lines, nice horizons, good framing, etc).
What challenges did you face working with the camera?
This was my first go-around with this style of a viewfinder. I'm familiar with through the lens focusing (and modern EVF's). So, you can imagine my shock when I took my first photo and noticed my framing was totally off, lol. But this didn't take long to adjust to and now I know to aim a little to the side for proper framing.
A challenge that I knew I would have to figure out with the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass was photographing subjects in really bright sunlight, after all, we're working with ISO 800 Instax Film. So, I added a GOBE 43mm Variable ND Filter to my kit to accompany the camera. I keep it on the "minimum" setting or crank it up to notch 2 on really bright days and this helps to get ideal exposures.
What advice would you give to photographers who want to challenge themselves like you did?
Honestly, just have fun with your photography. If you're having fun and trying new things (like I did with this Instant Photography series) you're going to learn new things, break out of your box and develop new styles/techniques that are going to push you forward.