I am Andrew Hutchinson and this is why I shoot film
Today we’re sitting down with Arizona based history buff and urban art aficionado, Andrew Hutchinson. Andrew is a man seemingly obsessed with rich, saturated color and light…beautiful light. No surprise considering what he does for a living.
Anyway, enough of me. Over to you, Andrew.
Hi Andrew, what’s this picture, then?
This image is from the Calle 16 mural project on 16th street and Thomas (Phoenix, Arizona). It is one of the first images I took when I was getting back into photography 5 years ago. I think it pretty much sums up my style of shooting. If I have one anyway.
Ok, so who are you?
I was the kid that would stare at dust motes for hours. I am also a father, and am trying to keep my children curious about the world around them. I use photography to document my travels, capture moments in time, and keep my mind occupied and sharp.
I am an observer for the most part. I am a lighting designer for corporate, theatrical and dance productions, and also work as a production manager. I am obsessed with the details of the world around me…
When did you start shooting film?
I got my first camera ( a Kodak Brownie) in 1975, so since then. The Brownie was a gift from my great uncle Charles Clayton, who was a professional photographer. He had a studio in Baltimore in the 1920’s and did portrait work. He was also a member of several photography societies, and worked in Los Angeles in the 1930’s.
Ultimately, he ended up working at Martin Marrietta (Lockheed) as a staff photographer in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Brownie was one of his first cameras and he passed it on to me. It finally fell apart in 1994 but still have it in a box. Even in pieces, it is still beautiful.
What about now, why do you shoot film and what drives you to keep shooting?
I love film…it keeps you guessing…
I know lots of people talk about the warmth, or the clarity, but to me, it’s an emotional reaction. and I try to capture that emotion on the shot I am composing.
I have to keep shooting, It helps me make sense of the world around me. I see light and shadows all the time, and I have to capture it.
…It’s a bit of an obsession.
I can’t stop shooting. It is almost a compulsion. It keeps me centered and sane. It allows me to be creative at a moments notice.
For some people it’s drugs or alcohol, for me it’s film and cameras. I think it’s a much safer addiction to have, although just as expensive!
Any favourite subject matter?
Street art (murals especially), my kids, flowers, cemeteries and cemetery art…but really whatever catches my eye.
[EMULSIVE: before you say anything, we know this is a digital shot but look at what it’s of!]
A year ago I had a 6 month period where I was working really late for my job, and I was up most nights between 11:00pm and 6:00 am.
I had a whole series of late night city shots – sort of Edward Hopper-esque – hard work but a really fun time.
You can never use film again. What’s your last roll?
It would have to be Fuji FP 3000 B instant film.
FP3000B is my favorite film stock. I love the images I can get with it, I love the way it looks, I love the way it smells and since I like to shoot in natural light as much as possible, it’s very forgiving.
When I have it loaded into my land camera, I feel certain I can get any shot.
You have 2 minutes to prepare for an assignment. One camera, one lens, two films and no idea of the subject matter. What to you take with you and why?
My Zenit ET 35mm, Helios 44M-6 58mm f/2 lens Fuji RMS 100-1000 speed color film and Ilford FP4 125 film for black and white.
The Zenit is my go to, rock-solid-best-shooter. I know what it will do in every situation, and it is bullet-proof.
The lens is the standard lens for the camera and again, I know what it will do in every situation.
The films are my two favorite stocks. They work well with both pushing and pulling, and have a lovely velvety feel.
You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location. Where do you go?
No doubt about it: Istanbul.
History, particularly Byzantine history is a hobby of mine. They preserved so much culture and language and Istanbul has so much from so many cultures.
To me, it would be amazing to shoot, plus the coffee would be unreal!!
What do you think is people’s greatest misconception about film photography and how would you set it straight?
I think the biggest misconception is that it is hard to do. Cameras are hard, but film is pretty straightforward. You just need to pay attention to what you are doing…
I think that is actually why people think film is hard, you can’t be distracted when you are shooting, you have to be in the moment. So I would have them think of shooting film in terms of mindful meditation, and think about the shot before they click the shutter.
In your opinion, what’s the future of film photography?
I very much think it is hear to stay, sort of like records, they were supposed to go away as well, but they are still here. I think film will co exist with digital quite nicely. I think that it will be a bit more niche, but I am sure it will still be relevant.
And there we have it, thanks Andrew.
As someone who has been hoarding expired film from the 1930’s and 40’s, it was pretty interesting to stumble across Andrew’s Holga exposure. In fact, the fact he took the shot using a Holga demonstrated two things: the man is a risk-taker and patently insane (both wonderfully redeeming qualities in my book).
We’ll be back soon with another film photographer but in the meantime, keep shooting folks.
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