Artist Spotlight: Michael Behlen

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for an Artist Spotlight! If you are new to the blog, this is a  feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work. While we try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, I’ll be the first to admit we have been lacking in this department lately. Feedback from the community are the best way to make these spotlights happen, 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!

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Today we are featuring Michael Behlen. Michael reached out to us through Twitter a couple weeks ago and sent us some images from a few series he has been working on. Needless to say, we fell in love with his images and knew we needed to feature him on the blog. Don’t let all the nature scenes fool you, Michael has some pretty rad portraits on his feed, and hope fully we can see more of those in the future. Stay tuned, as we plan to feature more work from his various series in the future. For now, please be sure to click the links below and show him some social media love.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.

I am from Fresno, California. It is located in the Central Valley (Ag Capital of the world) of California. I work in banking, but spend my nights and weekend shooting instant film and starting or assisting on instant film projects. 

How did you get into instant photography?

Five years ago, after swearing off shooting digital cameras to get rid of unnecessary screen time, I experienced shooting my first pack of Impossible FIlm on a recently acquired SX-70 from ebay. The camera was old and to be honest, half working. But I felt like I finally found a way to express myself artistically without having to have result to a “workflow” on a computer. The instant gratification of getting lost in a real life “workflow” that resulted in a product here and now was and is energizing and magical. Beyond my first experience shooting Impossible’s film in 2010, I have continued to shoot IP film through all generations and also shoot a lot of other expired film.

What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

My favorite camera is a SLR680. 

What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

Well, I do really want to shoot on the new IP camera, but I would also really like to shoot with a Mint670. 

What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

 I have always shot Type 600 film from Impossible Film, even with a SX70. The faster shutter speeds really helped my shooting. 

How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

It’s all I shoot. I replaced camera sensors, usb cords, memory cards, and to an extent batteries. It is liberating. 

How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

I describe it as getting lost. I get lost in places I have been hundreds of times before. It’s all about being in the moment and enjoying your surroundings. For me this is local lakes, mountains, and state parks. Most often, Millerton Lake, California

Any personal projects we should know about?

I am currently working on a couple projects. Two are photographic series: Lost at the Lake – Pictures from Millerton Lake, California and The Music Scene – A Series of Polaroids from Local Shows. I am also working on launching PRYME Editions (www.prymeeditions.com) in July. It will be a online store and publisher of limited edition Polaroid books and zines. 

What other photographers do you look up too?

I really love Amanda Mason’s work, her dreamy images are always creative. I also shot my first pack of expired pack film thanks to Bastian Kalous, his images really inspired me to branch out of integral instant film and opened up a lot of creative options for my Polaroid work.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

I would say keep at it! At first it is super challenging and frustrating but you will soon learn your camera by sound and feel. You will understand it’s quirks and will also get to know what years of expired film are usually better than the others, though they are getting older as we speak. Another tip would become part of the community. For example, participate in Roid Week on flickr, submit to this website, or share on your own social media. Polaroiders love looking at Polaroids!

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

My inspiration comes from nature. I love exploring places that I have been tons of times and finding something new to the changing nature of my local lakes, especially since the drought. The constant change of water levels the last 5 years has given me new landscapes to shoot every year.

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your feature Michael, I can’t wait to see your collaboration with Amanda Mason.

  2. Thank you Cheyenne! I will send you a sneak peak!!!! (She is the real star)

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