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!
Today on the blog we are featuring Urizen Freaza. Urizen, born in Tenerife, Spain in 1982, has been living in Berlin, Germany since 2010. We have been seeing Urizens work in the Flickr pool and were excited when he reached out for the feature. His work with emulsion lifts is quite beautiful.
“I once saw a documentary about Quantum Physics. It said the Universe is quantified in packages of indissoluble units, small bricks that conform our Reality. It said that not only matter, but also time is quantified. I believe, if we perceive our reality as a function of time, and if this one only exists as a succession of moments, then our reality is made out of instants. And instantaneity is the only truth.”
Please take a moment to check out His social media links and show him some love.
How did you get into instant photography?
In 2005, I was spending one afternoon trying to find an excuse not to study for my exams. I went to downtown Valencia, where I lived, and found a small second-hand camera shop named Foto Angel. I got a Polaroid 635 CL for 10€. My family never had a polaroid. I had no clue where to find film for it. When I eventually got some, I was flabbergasted by the photos. They were not good at all, but they were magic. Little objects that rendered reality into something I could hold in my hand. The softness of the colors filtered what I saw in front of my eyes right there into miniature paintings.
Then I discovered polanoid.net and got really inspired by the works shown there. This showed me how powerful the medium could be. On one hand, the polaroid was evidence. A piece of proof that none would doubt, real. At the same time you could manipulate it (in the tactile sense of the world) in a thousand ways. This dichotomy, this contradiction was powerful and fun to work with.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
The SX-70 Sonar Autofocus.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
A golden SX-70, just to feel like a Bond villain.
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
Right now I’m in love with Fuji FP-100C. From Impossible, I love the new B&W 600, I love its pure black and pure white. It’s tricky to work with it, but I love it.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
I mostly work with instant film, if not I use 35mm film, but my main work is always on instant. The shooting is slower and more hands on, and scanning is a pain, but I got used to it, and it’s the only thing that feels real. I’m not a film snob, it’s just a tool. It’s only that it happens to be my favorite tool.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
To say an image consists of many layers sounds obvious, but I do believe instant photography has one extra layer, which is the physical one. Polaroids (as general term) are objects that you can hold. As a photographer once said, when you see a polaroid you know the photographer, and most likely everyone appearing on it, touched it. They passed it around and looked at it and reacted to it as part of the process. It’s a fetish in the animistic sense of the word.
The power of instant photography lies for me in the delivery of a final object where all layers are crushed together. By layers I mean aspects like the subject, the emotional state and associations of the photographer which lead him/her to choose that particular composition, the light hitting on its sensitive surface, the chemical layers crystalizing and reacting to it to conform the image, the viewer, his/her emotional state and past experiences… All these things are crushed together into one entity, that is so true, and so real that you’re actually holding it.
The challenge is to interfere in as many layers as possible, to hand-craft an image that reaches the viewer as a full perception, deeper than any image actually should.
Any personal projects we should know about?
I’m working on a series of double portraits using emulsion lift, you can see them here.
A portrait is by definition superficial, a two dimensional representation of a person. In order to show the person, one layer doesn’t suffice. ‘Doubles’ is an attempt to show more through the juxtaposition and association of two or more emulsion layers. For the ‘hidden’ picture in the background only UV light was used. This light found in the part of the spectrum invisible to the eye, was meant as a tool to look behind, to see what was hidden. For this exposure the subjects were asked to look neutral or think about something intimate. For the color picture, they were asked to act ‘natural’ or smile, as they would for a normal snapshot. Both exposures are in fact somehow posed, there is no candid capture. But through the contrast or the association of both, a doubt is incepted in the viewer. The truth must be somewhere in between those. Or maybe further away.
What other photographers do you look up too?
From the classics, I love Garry Winogrand’s, Elliott Erwitt’s and Roger Ballen’s work. From fellow instant photographers, there are many I admire: Carmen De Vos, Zora Strangefields, Brian Henry, Bastian Kalious, Ina Echternach, Shlomo Ben Jussuf, Dee Elegia, there are many more…
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
I would recommend not to start with one of the 90s Polaroid cameras like many do. I have seen people get disappointed due to the wrong camera. I would recommend to get a SX70 as soon as you can (if you can) and also to try peel-apart film. But all that is only my opinion, it doesn’t work the same for everyone
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
It’s a cliché, but from everywhere. One must read, watch movies, take walks, I don’t know… and find something to say. And if that something is interesting to someone else than you, the better.