We are back on the blog with another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a weekly feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work.
This week, the spotlight is on London based photographer Meredith Wilson. We have been inspired by Meredith’s work on Flickr for some time now, and finally we have her on the blog. I always look forward to the images she produces, sometimes very simple ideas, that just hold your attention. To see more of Meredith’s work, please visit the following links.
• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.
I grew up on the outskirts of Sydney but my travels eventually led me to London where I now live. Sydney is still home however and I head back there whenever I can. I work in finance for a television production company and photography, in particular Instant Photography, is my creative escape.
How did you get into instant photography?
A friend introduced me to it back in 2010. I’d been intrigued by some shots he’d taken and after getting some advice I picked up a cheap 600 camera on eBay and a couple of packs of Impossible Silver Shade film. It was a steep learning curve with a lot of frustration to start with. As I began to get to know my cameras, the film and other instant photographers though that little spark of interest gradually became a real passion for the medium. I can’t imagine a time now where I won’t shoot instant.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
I tend to alternate between my Sonar SX70 and my SLR 680. Both are wonderful cameras in terms of build and how they feel to use.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
I’d love the opportunity to shoot 8×10 one day. The images I’ve seen so far are breathtaking. I did back the Kickstarter for New55 so I feel as though I’m half way there 🙂
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
My favourite Impossible colour film was the 12/11 batch for the SX70. The tones (especially the blues) were to die for. Images took on an almost painterly quality. I’m currently enjoying the new B&W films. The tones are beautiful though I’m still finding a little sepia creeping in so I’d recommend scanning them in shortly after taking them. Impossible have made huge headway here and I’m sure the improvements will continue. That said I recently shot a pack of PX100 from 2010 and the soft, dreamy tones worked beautifully with the subject. There is a part of me that hopes some of the quirkiness of the earlier films will be retained.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
To be honest instant film has pretty much overtaken my photography. I also have an InstantLab and am starting to look at ways I can extend my creativity. I use my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app quite a bit so it’s been fun experimenting with those shots and the Lab.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
Light and simplicity. I’m drawn to both. It’s might sound odd but it’s taken me a long time to realise this. There’s a feeling of stillness and calm I get when I’m shooting and somehow I think a little of it has started creeping into my shots. I don’t know it feels a bit stupid to say that without sounding like a complete pillock 🙂
Any personal projects we should know about?
I currently have work from 2 projects being exhibited alongside the work of Ashley R Good, elegia and Ben innocent and Celina Wyss at The Jam Factory in Oxford. The show runs until 27 July and is titled Chemistry: New Instant Photography. All the images were shot on Impossible film and I’m hugely honoured and proud to have been asked to contribute.
Going forward I have a couple of ideas niggling away in my head but it’s too early to say if they’ll come to anything. Plus I have a habit of being half way through a project before I realise it’s become a project 🙂
What other photographers do you look up too?
Andre Kertesz has long been a favourite of mine. His lifelong project, On Reading, is a constant inspiration and reminds me to never stop looking for that next shot. I find Tarkovsky’s Polaroids mesmerising and Uta Barth’s use of shadow and light is sublime. Her work has been the inspiration for one of my series currently showing in our exhibition.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
I know I’m not the first person to say this but patience, patience and more patience. And a lot of practice 🙂 It takes time to get to grips with these cameras and with the film. You’re forced to slow down, to look at what you’re shooting and that’s when you really start noticing stuff. Also it’s liberating because there are so few things to adjust. I don’t spend ages fiddling with them before I can use them or worrying about what the histogram says.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
All sorts of things inspire me. It could be something I’ve seen, read or daydreamed about. If I’m stumped then taking part in a challenge set by one of the Flickr groups I’m part of can be a fun way of getting the creative process started again. Impossible Moment in Time, run by the wonderful Toby Hancock, sets a different challenge for Impossible Instant Photographers on the last Saturday of each month. I’m always amazed at how differently we each interpret the themes. If you’re looking for something on the quirky side then Utata’s Iron Photographer challenges are great fun and while not specifically aimed at instant photography I’ve found them really useful for making me look at things from a different perspective. I love going to new places as well because you never know what camera fodder you might find.