I am Scott Barman and this is why I shoot film – NSFW
Before you scroll on, please be aware that today’s interview is decidedly Not Safe For Work.
Just in case you need some space, the interview starts below.
Scroll down when you’re ready.
We’re sitting down with Scott D Barman, a photographer who focuses on the human form and what he terms as “minimal interference portraiture”.
Scott’s got an interesting look about his work and has had his work exhibited both on-line and offline. To top it all off, he recently got married, so a huge congratulations is in order!
Over to you, Scott.
Hi Scott, what’s this picture, then?
SB: While traveling the East Coast (US), I met with Lilly and set up an impromptu photoshoot. Using the midday sun, her kitchen wall, and a fistful of film we created one of my most celebrated portraits to date.
I captured Lilly on my 35mm Olympus OM-2 using Lomography CN 400 film. The portrait displays a raw, natural beauty through enlarged film grain and heightened vibrancy. The soft focus embodies innocence and a delicate aesthetic across a striking, dramatic pose.
OK, so who are you? (The short version, please)
SB: I am an artist who is all about collaboration and minimal interference, analog photography. My shoots are part skill and part random; as nothing is posed, planned, or asserted. Aside from photography, I print professionally and drool over tangible media.
My wife and I are also currently developing a series of books titled 100. Each volume revolves around a different theme and features emerging and seasoned talent from around the globe.
The current volume features nude/analog photography and is set for release in early 2017.
When did you start shooting film and what about now? What drives you to keep shooting?
SB: God, I’ve been shooting film forever. Almost my entire life, in fact. When I was eight I stole a Polaroid 600 camera from a neighborhood yard sale and the rest is history.
Film has feeling associated with it; there is life in the grain. Digital photography is too perfect, too waxy, too easy. Even if you know exactly what you’re doing, your roll of film can turn out completely unique from the next. But that feeling you get when the lack of instant gratification and the forced patience pays off!
There’s nothing like it. You achieved that perfect frame through skill, talent, and the Analog God’s blessing.
What’s the next challenge…your next step? How do you see improving your technique, or what aspect of your photography would you like to try and master in the next 12 months?
SB: My portraits are, and have always been, taken with no distractions whatsoever. There is no background and there are no props. I want to focus on the individual, rather than building a scene around them.
But why? Why not include their surroundings? Do they not contribute to the individual? Moving forward I want to take a step back, and then another, and create portraits of not only flesh but life.
Other than photography, there are many things within the art world that want to achieve. I want to continue pushing tangible media. I want to learn more about publishing processes.
I want to create more guerilla art. I want to continue raising awareness about the dangers of social media’s creative censorship.
Any favourite subject matter?
SB: I am drawn to people and cannot imagine photographing anything other than the human form. I have tried still life, nature, and pretty much anything else you can imagine but it has brought on little to no joy.
I feel most achieved when I am able to capture the true essence of a person.
You can never use film again. What’s your last roll and why?
SB: As strange as it may sound, being that this film is so new and inexpensive, I’d shoot 35mm Lomography 400. The grain is incredibly beautiful and can produce an almost painterly effect. The film has a saturation pop that isn’t overbearing and it’s density control is fantastic.
Not to mention, last roll? Yeah, I’m going for 36 exposures.
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?
SB: I’m not a gearhead so most of the time I have no idea what models my cameras or lenses are. Coming from an engineering family, I can take my equipment apart and put it back together. I know all the quirks my cameras have and how to work them like nobody’s business. But ask me what I’m using? Beats me.
With two minutes to prep for an assignment, I would grab my Bronica 6×6. Years ago, I stumbled upon a dumpster full of film cameras. A portrait company was switching to digital was throwing out their analog equipment.
I saved the Bronica from certain peril and it is my favorite, most reliable camera to date. Load it with some expired Kodak C41 or a roll of Lomography 400 CN and I’m good to go.
You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location. Where do you go?
SB: My shoots happen in usual locations but the space is manipulated to look more grand than it actually is.
Most of the time I’m using kitchen walls and hallway areas no larger than your wingspan. If I could shoot anywhere it would be wherever you are.
What do you think is people’s greatest misconception about film photography and how would you set it straight?
SB: People think that shooting analog is much more expensive than digital, but that is not true at all. Yes, digital costs are often lumped together as a large purchase where-as film is a case-by-case expense.
Throw a computer and monitor, calibration units, digital storage, tablets, editing software and more together and your left with a hefty fee. Then factor in digital equipment replacement being three to five years.
Photographing with film actually saves you money in the long run.
In your opinion, what’s the future of film photography?
SB: As larger companies continue to cut their analog production, I foresee more indie shops popping up.
Companies like Impossible, Cinestill, and New55 will inspire others to create new film types. Though favorites like the Fuji’s FP-100C are gone, someone out there will figure out the formula.
Creatives are just that: creative. We find ways to fix problems and make situations better. So who knows what kind of experimental films will become the norm in the future. All I know is I’m dying to try them out.
~ Scott D Barman
A big thanks to Scott for a great perspective on what he does. I’ll put my hand up and say right off the bat that I’m not usually a fan of nude photography. There, I said it.
To me – as with all OP ED on these pages – Images in this domain typically suffer from over sexualisation and seem more like adverts for lingerie, accessories and personal trainers, than celebration of what I’d consider a true human form – it’s one of the reasons why most of the nude/semi-nude photography you’ll see here on EMULSIVE is self-portrait in nature.
One of the reasons I decided to take a break from the norm with Scott was because of his approach and the honesty of the images. They’re light, bright and utterly real. There’s not a single sign of airbrushing or luxury goods and the models look completely at ease with what’s going on. They’re accepting him into their space, not the other way around.
Great work, Scott and thank you for sharing.
You can see more of Scott’s work over on his website (OBVIOUSLY NSFW) and Instagram. It’s also well work getting in touch with Scott about the annual book series he’s creating with his wife, Megan. To recap, 100 featuring 100 artists from around the globe, every volume (released annually), revolves around a different theme. Volume One consists of nude/analog photography and is currently accepting submissions. You can submit by sending an email.
Thanks for reading and as ever, there’s only one more week to wait for the next EMULSIVE interview.
In the meantime, keep shooting, folks!
Contribute to EMULSIVE
EMULSIVE NEEDS YOU. The driving force behind EMULSIVE is knowledge transfer, specifically engendering more of it in the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas.
Help drive an open, collaborative community – all you need do is drop us a line and we’ll work something out.