Scrolling through my Instagram today, I came across the charismatic Hamburg based photographer / director Ben Bernschneider who I once had the pleasure of meeting many years ago. I occasionally check in on what projects he is working on and well, he brought 2 interesting topics to mind this morning while I was looking a new through his blog and viewing exerts from a series called “Tales of an American Summer„. Although I do not advocate needlessly killing birds, today Mr. Bernschneider will be figuratively killing two birds with one stone.
The first topic that came to mind was that of the analogue “look” which Ben has clearly mastered. Now as any modern photographers and hobbyists shooting digital will know, this topic has been discussed, analysed, debated, and in addition to some camera manufacturers developing in-camera tone curves that mimic the analogue tone curve, there are an innumerable amount of plugins, apps and tutorials to help one achieve this nostalgic look from yesteryear. After a thorough investigation into the way that Ben works, I will now divulge his secret, yet simple technique (sorry Ben!).
He (apart from using his skills as a photographer) uses an analogue camera and shoots on film. Now hopefully you have detected my playful tone regarding this subject, but as someone who came from a purely analogue education who now shoots digital, I myself gotten lost occasionally in the pursuit of recreating that satisfying look. And having recently put film in the old Mamiya again that itch got scratched beautifully. I encourage anyone to do it. If you do not own an analogue camera, you can buy a beautiful fully functional old-timer for the same amount of money you spent on beer last weekend. Treat yourself and your creativity and do it, you won’t regret it.
The second “bird” is the topic of, well… „the topic“. The topic or theme of a series / artwork / exhibition, whatever your means of expression. Being a very diverse species, or so I believe, we (humans) have vastly different tastes and opinions and this naturally leads to excitingly varied ideas for topics. Which subsequently leads to a great deal of pressure for a creative person to come up with “the Idea”. The stupendous OMG idea that will make everyone gasp and rocket you to artistic and intellectual halls of Zeus. I have seen this problem literally stop people from picking up their camera / paintbrush / pen. True story. Ben’s playfully cheeky series reminded me of the simplicity of an idea and executing it well. Tales of an American Summer did not create world peace, nor did it deepen my understanding of love, pain and the cosmos. But it made me smile, feel warmly nostalgic and for a moment not take life, or myself, so seriously.
Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself to a film camera here 😉