“The Art Comes First” – An Interview with Film Photographer Steph Verschuren

Steph Verschuren has amassed a huge following across his Instagram and TikTok accounts thanks to his eye-catching visuals and distinctive style that seemingly pushes boundaries in every one of his shoots.

The Ontario-based photographer joins us today to share his best advice to budding photographers, why he shoots analogue over digital, and why he is taking his visions into his own hands for his latest project "The Pitch".

Photo by Steph Verschuren

Hi Steph, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work?

My name is Steph, I’m a photographer and creator from Canada. I love shooting things that mirror my energy.

Photos by Steph Verschuren

How did you get started in shooting analogue photography?

I had a buddy tell me, “You’re gunna get bored of shooting digital." Then it was like the next day I was bored of it. I got tired of replicating film’s aesthetic in Lightroom and dealing with 1000+ images from photoshoots. I wanted to switch it up and gain a better ratio of good to bad photos taken on a given day.

Photos by Steph Verschuren

Why shoot analogue in the digital age?

You can make the argument that it makes you a better photographer. One of my favourite cameras, the Pentax MX is fully mechanical so you need a solid understanding of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, its light meter, etc. to be able to use it. It's an unforgiving camera and doesn’t give you the contingency a raw file has in post production—if an image is overexposed, it's overexposed and I don’t have as much capacity to fix that error. The camera has undoubtedly made me better at shooting.

Photo by Steph Verschuren

Have you tried any Lomography film stocks before?

Just the Color Negative 800 120 film! I did a test shoot with it shooting my friend Jimi and I’m a fan—I love the edge codes.

Photo by Steph Verschuren on Lomo 800 120 film

Do you have an all time favorite photo taken on film?

No, I don't have an all time favorite photo. This one here is from the first film photoshoot I ever did back in 2016. It was with my friend Ruqqaya and was just a test shoot, but I’ve always loved this portrait of her.

Photo by Steph Verschuren

We're living in a time when a lot of photographers have to be active on social media to be seen. How do you balance your large following and what people online want to see versus your own personal artistic visions?

I take an artistic approach to my marketing, it makes it more fun for me and everyone else. Because of the over saturation on social media and the repeat trends I think marketing puts a bad taste in artists mouths. I feel this way at least. But social media is just new era of door-to-door sales and if you want your business to grow you need to sell it.

I know people online want to learn things, and knowledge is a gift—if I can feed those interests while sharing my art in an artistic way it's a win-win.

I also want to mention that social media is not the only way to get yourself out there. I personally like it because it brings me closer to creative monetary independence versus relying on brands and corporations to hire me to make photos for them.

Photo by Steph Verschuren

Can you walk us through how you conceptualize your shoots?

Every shoot is different, when I’m creating something I’m passionate about the ideas come super quick and very clear which leads to the most difficult task: figuring out the best way to convey those ideas to the people you are working with.

Once I vet my team with decks and phone calls and after many hours obsessing over what I’m trying to accomplish in my head I’m ready to shoot. I try to leave room for myself on site to experiment and have fun with whatever I’m doing and trust that I only have so much control.

Photo by Steph Verschuren

Do you have any advice for budding photographers that might be reading this?

Aspiring photographers—don’t market yourself before you develop a style and craft. The art comes first, the business follows.

Photo by Steph Verschuren

Do you have any upcoming projects or shoots that you are working on and can share with our community?

I’m currently working on a personal project called "The Pitch". It’s a documentary series and photoshoot on merging Tricking (a niche movement discipline) with a luxury sports brand photoshoot.

This is a project I’ve tried many times in the past to collaborate with a sports brand on with no success. "The Pitch" is about me taking matters into my own hands and making the vision myself.

If you're interested in keeping up with Steph and his work, make sure to check out his Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube Channel.

written by eloffreno on 2024-04-29 #people #videos #medium-format #35mm #inspiration #120-is-forever #saving-120 #a-future-for-120

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