It was love at first sight for Jacqueline Badeaux. After her first class of Black and White photography and Darkroom developing, she was hooked. Her photographs come from a surreal world, where time stands still, and space is a subjective notion. Although she usually shoots people and portraits, she's starting to venture into landscape photography. Armed with a Holga, and without advancing the lever completely, she created magical sceneries unique to her imagination.
"I've been going out for a hike and shooting alone. Just looking at one rock in the ocean for a long time, trying to find how many ways I can photograph it, make it more interesting."
We talked to Jacqueline about her love for pinhole photography, and the process behind her mystical pictures.
How did you get into photography, especially analogue photography?
I got my start in film with a course about black and white photography in high school. I loved the process of shooting, developing, and printing myself. While in college, I took any photography class that I could, and when there weren't any more classes to take I realized I didn't really feel that way about anything else. So I dropped out and I set up a darkroom in my bathroom when I could, and when I don't have space to print, I appreciate the process of developing color or black and white at home.
Why do you still shoot analogue?
I love every single aspect of shooting film; how people, land, or feeling can be captured on a small piece of film by just exposing it to the light coming off of it. It possesses its own history and special aura. My practice has developed into embracing imperfections on the film as being part of expressing myself and employing techniques that are simple and not original to me- but also not recommended by the manufacturer. I like the unpredictability involved in experimenting with film soups or any other film destroy techniques. I am happy when I develop my film and there is something 'wrong' with it. It feels like the image is more unique when it's marked by flaws because I feel a part of each step. I think that controlling outcomes is impossible, so to embrace change and imperfection is a big part of it for me.
What do you like to shoot the most?
I love to photograph people that I know or am interested in knowing. I want to show them their beauty, or show them another part of themselves. I like to show motion. I love pinhole portraits. Recently I've started to shoot more nature. I've been going out for a hike and shooting alone. Just looking at one rock in the ocean for a long time, trying to find how many ways I can photograph it, make it more interesting.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Looking at movies and paintings inspires me to shoot film and experiment with the medium. I attempt to build a bridge from photography to cinema/painting. I like to look at the negative as a tiny painting. I can experiment with color and texture in various ways (filters, overlays/double exposures, flash gels, film soup, bleach, or scratching).
Can you tell me about this series? How did you come up with the theme of this moody landscape series?
I've always shot on 35mm, and recently I shot a complete roll of portraits, rewound the film and shot it again at a different location at night. The frames didn't quite line up but I liked how it looked as a panoramic series. Then I moved to 120mm so I could get quality more easily from a bigger negative and to print large, even if it's just taken with a plastic camera. I wanted these photos of nature to be expansive and strange. To feel like you're watching a movie and the camera is slowly panning to the right to reveal something else.
Can you explain the process behind these images?
These photos show my slow process moving from 35mm to 120mm and exploring new possibilities. I used a Holga120CFN and just didn't advance to the next frame fully to connect one photo to the next. I wanted to feel like you could see the step going from one frame to the next, maybe like you could be a part of it. The following photos are done in the same way but with a more panoramic, single frame illusion in mind. The last few were shot with a pinhole wide HOLGA-120WPC. Some are double exposures/ incomplete advancing with that camera. I developed these negatives at home, so the colors/exposures were off and I was happy with the effect.
It seems that you have a particular connection with those endless landscapes and horizons. How come?
My dream is to print these panoramas large and people can look at them and feel like they are stepping into a new world. My photos shot on 35mm and just posted online seem so small and one dimensional, that I wanted to create something ready to be more physical and transcendent. I wanted to get it all on the negative, to turn four exposures into one cohesive image.
Why did you shoot with a pinhole camera? It’s a very slow and meticulous process, what attracts you about it?
I like the ritual of bringing a tripod and camera to a place I feel connected to and want to share with others. With a plastic camera, the tripod doesn't have to be heavy, so that's nice. I want to avoid taking a postcard type photograph saying I was here. Pinholes can show movement and the photo can feel like it's more alive. It also forces you to spend more time in one place.
For this picture, it looks like you have a double exposure going on, where the image is upside down as well? Can you explain the process behind this?
Yes! It's really chaos. I would take a photo, advance a bit, flip the camera upside down and expose again. For this picture, my favorite, I was on the beach with a friend and wanted to include her and I, the birds, rocks, ocean and transfer it all into this other surreal world with its own natural magic. I really like how the Holgas are just a black box you can't see out of or into, and you have to trust that it's recording what you feel.
Do you have any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
I'm working on getting together images for a book to be published by Duck Sale Press. The images are all from San Luis Valley in Colorado. I feel very connected to this place. It's surrounded by mountains and these beautiful storm cloud formations stop in for a few hours and leave. I've been reading books about different unusual phenomena of the area. My father's ashes were scattered in the Sand Dunes there. I've taken different styles of photos from various trips to the area. I'm very excited for them to be together in a book, maybe with a story or drawings, but mainly I want it to be a requiem for my dad. It will be called SLV.