I am Florentijn Boddendijk and this is why I shoot film
Instant obsessive or instantly obsessed? I’ve had a hard time pigeon holing today’s interviewee and after much thought, I’ve decided that honour should be left to you, dear readers. I’ll tell you this however, you’re in for a helluva ride.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Florentijn Boddendijk.
Hi Florentijn, what are these pictures, then?
FB: On the top is a picture of an entire night’s car trip from Nice to la Colle-sur-Loup. The one on the bottom is a long exposure of new years eve 2015 with the moon trail fireworks and flying lanterns.
Both were taken taken with my supersense pinhole camera and are a part of an ongoing series called “highways and skyways”, with long-exposed instant pictures of either travels along our planet or the moon above the planet.
Ok, so who are you? (the short version, please)
FB: I’m Florentijn Boddendijk a composer from Holland living in the Hague with my family (wife two boys aged 14 and 16), working with Remco de Jong on both music for theatre productions and disco vinyl such as Elitechnique.
In fact, our new 7″ single on our Disques Panoramique label is out in January 2017.
For my job I get to travel a lot and work in beautiful theaters in Holland, Belgium and Germany with great actors, directors and crews giving me lots of opportunities to shoot film, in fact since 2013 I’ve been documenting the Theatre pieces we’ve worked on in photo albums and shared them with my colleagues. The polaroid cameras I use are great “Icebreakers”, people love to pose for them and doors open that would normally stay shut.
We are currently working in Milan for a coproduction between Mare Culture Urbana and the Dutch Theatregroup Wunderbaum which premiers on January 12 2017 at La Cascina Via Giuseppe Gabetti 15 (info via maremilano.org)
The aka Florintintin came into existence when I made a album of extreme jazz remixes called lapbop in 2004 (it’s on discogs.com) and I kept it for solo music,dj and photo activities.
When did you start shooting film and what drives you to keep shooting?
FB: I first saw Impossible film for polaroid cameras in a fashion store in Amsterdam in the spring of 2013. I was fascinated by the possibility of shooting instant film again, but put off by the ridiculously high price.
I spent a week Googling about this film and looking all over the house for my old spectra camera that should have been somewhere and when I found it, I couldn’t resist going to the local camera store (for the first time in years), to buy a pack of B&W.
I shot these three pictures from this first pack. One of my wife with her laptop (looking as if it was shot in the 1920s), one of my youngest son looking exactly like me in the 70s and one of my oldest son. These dreamy results got me hooked on this medium ever since.
Who or what influenced your photography when you first started out and who continues to influence you today?
FB: The pola internet community was a big help when I started out and needed tips and tricks about cameras and techniques, etc.
The page of favourite pictures on Flickr by realitysosubtle, with all the different techniques about time vs photography is an ongoing source of inspiration,
Ruben’s advice at the Impossible Factory Store (where you’ll probably meet joeppolaroidphotography, too).
The people at Impossible and especially Impossible Magazine for the sunken techniques of Louis Little and Jacob Spriggs.
My favourite famous photographers are Darren Almond, Saul Leiter, Michael Wesely, Jurgen Nefzger, Sohei Nishino, Chuck Close and especially Gerhard Richter for combining photography and painting techniques.
Are you a mixed medium photographer? What drives your choice to use film or digital from one day to the next?
FB: I only use instant film, but I do mix the deliberate act of photographing with the random process of submerging my failed pictures in a cocktail of fluids to get unexpected results, these are “sunken polaroids”.
What’s your next challenge…your next step? How do you see yourself improving your technique? What aspect of your photography would you like to try and master in the next 12 months?
FB: I’m pretty ambitious. I would love to exhibit, and I’m developing a format to sell prints. On a gear level I’ll have to find a way to keep my super fragile supersense pinhole cameras alive, and I’m always looking out for rare cameras with new possibilities.
Technically, I’d like to go further in experimenting with cubist instant photography instant solarigraphy and instant infra-red pictures.
With the Impossible film in general and the sunken technique in particular, you get so much “artistic atmosphere” for free that I’m aiming to get a personal signature from these.
Do you have a subject mater or style you always find yourself being drawn to? Why?
FB: Moonlit nights and twilight skies are a recurring subject matter and the surrealism that comes from long and multi-exposures is something I’ m always drawn to/looking for.
The challenge to get surrealist results in the straightforward medium of instant photography, where everything has to take place in or around the camera without the possibilities of a darkroom or photoshop is inspiring.
You have 2 minutes to prepare for an unknown assignment. You can take one camera, one lens, two films and you have no idea what you’ll be shooting. What to you take with you and why?
FB: The Polaroid SLR 680 is my most versatile camera, a Mint fish eye lens because I can also use it as a telelens (just turn it around), or as an extreme macro lens (if I take out the front lens). For film, I would take a pack of SX70 Impossible film in case I need to be outside and it’s very sunny, and a pack of 600 film white border.
You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location for the rest of your life. What do you take, were do you go and why?
FB: I would take Impossible Spectra color film with my converted microcam and Spectra Pro to the harbour in Scheveningen. There I can find most of my favourite subjects: lighthouses, the beach, sunsets, the moon , cityscapes, industry, fireworks.
You can never use film again. What’s your last roll of film, where and how will you expose it and why?
FB: I would like to save that film for photographing my future grandchildren, so it should be a film that stays stable for quite some time. I generally don’t publish pictures of people on the web, but I’m using my Polaroid cameras to record family events, the theatre pieces we work on and friends visitors etc.
One of the side effects of shooting with actual film again is the the re-entry of photo albums in our house, and I’m looking forward to sticking pics of new family members in the family album.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about film photography today and how would you set it straight?
FB: The biggest misconception about Impossible film is that still quite a lot of people want to shake the developing pictures. it. Don’t shake them unless you want to break them.
In your opinion, what’s the future of film photography?
FB: Now that the big companies/mass market have left film photography the people still using film are those who love the film, who love their beautiful old or new or special cameras and the ones I encounter are generous in sharing tips and tricks, inventive and encouraging and cooperative.
Not a bad bunch of people to be a part of.
~ Florentijn Boddendijk
Pinhole and instant. Two forms of photography I still find myself troubled with. On the one hand I’m amazed at what photographers like Florentijn can achieve and on the other, I find myself damned to even get something close to what I feel is acceptable.
“It’ll come with practice and effort.”
Those words ring through my skull when I stand over my negatives, prints and sheets but I’ve long accepted that I’ll likely never achieve the kinds of results I see from Florentijn and the talented people he cited as his inspiration.
I’m ok with that and am happy to view the results of others in awe until the itch becomes unbearable and I find myself reaching for my land camera or pinhole and head out to try again.
Thanks to Florentijn for the lovely words and pictures. You can find the man himself over on Twitter and Instagram. Click through and give him a follow. His sunken Polaroid pictures are especially beautiful and well worth a second, third or fourth look.
We’ll be back again next week with someone only a little north of Florentijn. In the meantime, wrap up warm and make sure you’ve sent off your Secret Santa 2106 gift. If you’ve already received yours, don’t open it until Christmas Day!
Thanks for reading and remember, keep shooting, folks!
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