It’s the beginning of a new week, and that means it’s time for a new Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a weekly feature, where we showcase artist and photographers whose work has caught our eye. If you would like to be featured, or know of someone we should check out, please let us know. We are always looking for fresh faces.
This week, the spotlight is on Montreal photographer Michelle Karpman. Michelle caught our eye through Instagram. I (Justin) happened to stumble upon her through her liking some of our posts. I was instantly drawn to her work. I was able to see another side of her work too, when I found the model that she works with on Instagram. Soon I connected with Michelle on tumblr as well, and I realized that there was no way we couldn’t have her on Snap It See It. So take the time to look at her work, and give her a follow. You wont be disappointed!
A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do?
I’m from Montreal, Quebec, and I’m a full time student. I’m hoping to stay in school for as long as possible so as to avoid getting a real job, being responsible, growing up – all the fun things real adults do. Next year I will (hopefully!) be starting my masters in English Literature (so obviously there will be no employment for a long time). I fill all my non-school time with photoshoots with my best friend/model Aviva Artzy; that girl who’s in every picture. We run Amamak together (amamakphoto.tumblr.com) and spend most of our time futzing around shooting, organizing, and planning future photo adventures.
How did you get into instant photography?
A lot of the people I had been following at the time were taking really beautiful Polaroids and I wanted to get in on the fun. This was about five years ago, and I’d already been shooting with Aviva for a while, but only medium format film. I decided to buy an SLR680, stock up on a ton of Polaroid film, and give it a go. I’m down to my last 10 packs or so and I am looking forward to shooting them this summer!
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
I used to be set on my SLR680, but now that I mainly shoot Impossible films I prefer the SX-70. Something about the SX-70 and Impossible tones makes for magic in a way that the 600 film can’t yet seem to pull off.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
This is actually a very difficult question! Every time I learn of a new instant camera I have a terrible – and expensive – habit of buying it. So I own most of the instant cameras that have interested me over the years. I am open to suggestions though! Feel free to feed my addiction.
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
I’m a huge fan of PX70
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
Every shoot includes at least two instant cameras – the SX-70 and SLR680, and sometimes the 600SE if I’m not trying to travel light. I shoot about a pack a shoot, because it’s amazing seeing something develop (if slowly) during the shoot itself and also because I’ve learned that leaving the film in the camera can make it go all wonky. As if we needed another excuse to shoot more! This year Aviva and I have shot more instant shots than ever before, and have recently put out a little book of our favourite Polaroids.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
I aim for something naturey, sun-filled, and comfortable. Aviva and I luckily share an artistic vision defined by pink sunsets and a, “I’m a faerie sprite who is just casually exploring this forest” feeling. With my instant work especially, I try to get as much sun and glow as possible. I think there’s something so magical about the way instant films take sunlight and, when you’re lucky, sun flare.
Any personal projects we should know about?
We’re just gearing up for an onslaught of spring shoots! After months of cold and snow we’re excited to finally venture into the outdoors. We’re also trying to figure out a way to put out some less expensive print stuff – like a zine, or a smaller, locally-made book. There’s nothing like seeing your work in print!
What other photographers do you look up to?
Oh a bunch of people – Jared Chambers, Jon Duenas, Josh Soskin, Matt Fry, and a million more I can’t think of. I’ve also recently become a fan of some wedding photographers, mainly Jeremiah & Rachel photography. If you never thought you’d like wedding photography but are a fan of fine art film photography, you should check these guys out.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
Buy a lot of film and don’t be scared to use it! I know Impossible film is crazy expensive, but if you can somehow save up a bunch of money and then not think about how much each picture is costing you, you’ll have way more fun and also get much better at this whole instant photo thing! Also shoot on overcast days or in the shade – figuring out how to not overexpose photos in the sun is headachy.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
I like looking at pretty things, so I spend about 90% of my time online looking through Tumblr and Flickr and Instagram. If I didn’t take pictures I’m pretty sure I’d do the exact same thing. Every once in awhile I’ll see a particular photo that will make me want to do something similar, but more often than not all the pictures I look through just help to remind me why I do what I do.