Name: Gunnar Larson
Location: New York, New York
Holga Cameras used: I have two Holga 120N. One is in white and the other is black with a Polaroid back.
1. How would you describe your photographic style?
I like to think that my photographic style is like having a dance party with Native American Chief, Spotted Elk and spiritual visionary, Hildegard of Bingen in the middle of a vast open prairie under the Milky Way filled sky while being DJ-ed by Deadmau5. My parents would be there making campfire coffee.
In living and traveling abroad I’ve realized that we live in a small world and so my people, places, contacts and ideas merge in very unique ways. I like to merge or marry space and time by allowing for the natural overlap, almost capturing a world that is located in the in-between. The past bleeds into the future and I think that each frame/shot in my camera should relate to the next. Everything is connected.
2. What inspires you in your work?
The love of fashion, history, antiques, obscure oddities and traveling. The native prairie, in which I grew up in, and the beat of NYC always inspires me. I love to pull inspiration from old paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries and films by Wes Anderson, Federico Fellini and Jim Jarmusch.
3. Where is or would be your dream photography location/shoot?
The old abandoned port at Grytviken, South Georgia Island is my dream photography location. This island off the coast of Antarctica used to be a whaling port. I have heard that much of the old port town remains as it was: items still in the general store and houses left with its belongings. This old port seems so haunting with its history yet so beautiful with raw untamed nature.
4. How long have you been using a Holga camera?
A great friend and amazing photographer, Flavia Sollner, introduced me to a Holga in 2005 while I was living in London. It was my fist medium format camera. I also loved its price for a poor East London
artist, like myself at the time.
5. What do you like about using a Holga camera?
When you use a Holga, the images come out different all the time. The more wear-and-tear on the camera results in more unique and beautiful shots. My two Holga cameras have been everywhere and are beaten up. I also have modified my Holga allowing other variables to play into the shots. Shooting with my Holga is always fun because everyone asks about my crazy set up with the white camera and a funny looking flash. It makes for a fun interaction with the subject. I also love to shoot and then not be able to look at the image. I love waiting for the film to develop.
6. What films do you prefer using and why?
I prefer Kodak 160 VC (Vivid Color). I love the color this film produces.
7. What are your thoughts on the way Photography is progressing? (HDR, digital, web)
Digital photography is amazing. It is changing photography and allowing so many people to experience the medium. It is great for shooting commercial work and being able to adjust and alter the image to almost endless possibilities. I am not a big fan of HDR, least not today but maybe tomorrow. I do like using digital and it is great but it has a time and a place. If I could, I would have my own darkroom, process my own film and print large prints by hand.
8. What kind of work/projects do you have lined up for the next 12 months?
Shooting, shooting, shooting. I am really excited to keep producing and exploring. I will continue to shoot fashion and explore different narratives using my Holga. Outside of commercial work, I will be focusing on a couple personal projects this year.
The first project I am working on is my “700 Polaroids of Love,” which is a working title. It is a project of over 700 Polaroids documenting the relationship of me and my wife and our love for fashion. Some of the images are on my website but I am working on compiling them for an exhibition and book.
The other project is collaborating with Justin Hooge, an amazing bookmaker, on making several hand printed books. The project is called “Death of a Warrior” which was shot on film with a Hasselblad. It is about a school building in Southwest Minnesota that was demolished due to the school district closing. The images were taken just two days before the demolition.
9. Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
Some of the best photography advice ever given to me was from a tour guide while I was on the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. I was photographing like crazy, not really thinking about the shots but trying to capture it all. He told me, “You really should just stop and take it all in. Forget about taking a photo. You are here right now, so you should look and experience what is around you.” I put down the
camera and took it all in and experienced what was around me. An image is telling a story, and in order to tell a good story you need to experience the story before it can be told. The camera is a powerful tool, respect it and use it with wisdom. Let the story be told through you and the camera as a team.
A Big Thanks to Gunnar Larson for taking time to talk about his work. We wish him all the success for his future projects!
The HolgaDirect Team
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