We are back on the blog with another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with their instant film work. We try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, so if you would like to be featured or know of someone you would like to see on the blog, drop us a line. We love putting people in the spotlight!
This week, our spotlight is on Belgian photographer, Chris de Block. Chris, better known as Sleepy Jeane on Flickr, IG and Tumblr, caught our eye with her beautiful work in the Flickr pool. Each week, she continues to upload images with interesting subjects and some of the most amazing tones. We have featured her images in a few of our Featured Fridays and figured it was time to learn a little more about her. Please be sure to follow along with her and show some love to her work on her social media sites.
• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.
My name is Chris de Block. I live in Antwerp, together with my son and dog. For a daytime job, I work at the financial department of a Belgian fashion designer.
How did you get into instant photography?
I have always known about instant photography, ever since I was a child. My father used to chase me with his polaroid 3000 camera, which I now sometimes still use. I started photography about eight years ago, using a digital camera, but quickly switched to polaroid.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
I have a polaroid 180 camera, which I loved to use, until they discontinued the 669 film. I stopped using this camera since then. I have worked with the SX-70 camera, I used to have 3, but they all broke down. Now I only have the polaroid 3000 camera (which belonged to my father), and a spectra.
Since the Impossible Project came along with the instant lab, I work with that. I mostly make self-portraits. Using a camera with a self-timer results in a lot of unsuccessful images. I only have about twelve seconds before the shutter goes off.
I’m a perfectionist you know, but I love the imperfection of polaroid. On the other hand, I want the imperfection to be perfect, especially when framing is concerned. The instant lab is a great solution for that.
Occasionally I also work with Fuji instax mini or wide.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
I would love to work with an 8×10 camera someday, working out some special project or so…
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
I guess that would be the 600 film, both color and black and white.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
Instant photography is my regular workflow… ☺
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
I used to shoot analog as well, and I love that, but still prefer instant film. The big difference is that, when I used to shoot analog, I rarely took self-portraits. When I shoot with instant film, 90% of my work are self-portraits. I don’t really know why… It just happens.
Any personal projects we should know about?
I’m not working on any special projects at the moment. I just do “my thing”.
I am planning special project for the future though: I would love to go to Scandinavia someday, to make a large series of landscape photographs. Very different than what I’m doing now.
That is an example of one of the things I would love to do with an 8×10 camera.
What other photographers do you look up too?
There are a lot of photographers which I look up to. Off course, the world known photographers, which we all admire like for example Sally Mann, Cartier-Bresson, James Nachtwey, etc… People who dedicated their lives to photography.
With Francesca Woodman being my all-time favorite I guess.
And a lot of instant photographers which their work I admire as well: Sarah Seené, Penny Felts, Emilie Lefellic, Thomas Zamolo, Philippe Bourgoin, Bastian kalous, Stefanie Schneider, Amanda Mason and off course Carmen De Vos, just to name a few. There are a lot of amazing, instant photographers out there, all with their unique style.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
Be patient and keep on trying. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be addicted soon, so be prepared to spend quite some money… ☺
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
That is the most difficult question you could have asked me. It’s very difficult for me to answer that. I never seek it out, so I guess I wait until it finds me.
I guess most people are complex, once you start analyzing them. But I guess my complexity is just that little more complex. ☺
For example: I am terrified of dogs, but I have one myself. I love colors but I always wear black. I love people, but I prefer being alone. I always have fresh flowers in my house, but wait to photograph them until they are dead.
It’s the same with my self-portraits. Inside I am a bundle of joy, but in front of my camera, the mood completely changes. I have always been fascinated by psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy. I don’t know if that shows in my work. People always say, when they look at my work: mysterious…
Any way: I never plan any pictures, I just place my camera, and stand in front of my white or black wall, and let things happen.