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Name: Guy Dondlinger
Location: Berlin, Germany
Website: Guy Dondlinger Home
1. How would you describe your photographic style?
I have two main subjects, and the style varies with the subject. When I shoot people, it’s very much ‘from the hip’ (sometimes literally so). I like street photography, so I tend to take the photos fast and by instinct. I also photograph buildings and urban landscapes – there, I take more time to shoot, but again it’s more by instinct than by careful consideration.
2. What inspires you in your work?
People, mostly – their moods, their quirks, their expressions… . I like being in a busy place in a city, just watching people – especially if it’s a place where people take their time, enjoy the sun or the sights or generally have a good time. It’s in situations like these that I’ve taken what I consider my best photographs. I enjoy this even more in Asian countries where people don’t mind when you take their photo – as opposed to Europe, where you have to be more careful when photographing people in the street.
3. Where is or would be your dream photography location/shoot?
It’s a bit of a cliché, but: New York. I’ve been there a few times, but never with a Holga, and I feel that I need to remedy that. Else, Japan is also high on the list. And I would like to return to India and see (and photograph) more places there (I’ve only been to Southern India so far). As far as colours go, it’s hard to get more fascinating ones than in India; and the same goes for the people.
4. How long have you been using a Holga camera?
5. What do you like about using a Holga camera?
Susan Sontag wrote in ‘On Photography’ that photography attempts to replicate reality (but doesn’t manage to do so). What I like about Holga photography is that it doesn’t even try to replicate reality. When you shoot with a Holga or a toy camera, you know you’re gonna get a dream-like, unreal (and often, quite surprising) version of the world, which I like.
6. What films do you prefer using and why?
For colour, Fujicolor Reala, preferably ISA 160, for the quality of the colours – strong but not exaggerated (although my absolute favorite colour film was a batch of the discontinued, original Agfa Optima 100 films which I managed to get on the internet). For black & white, Ilford Delta 400.
7. What are your thoughts on the way Photography is progressing? (HDR, digital, web)
One of the most interesting developments for me in recent years has been photography on smart phones like the iPhone, for the reason that it’s no longer just about taking photos: on the same device, the photographer can use various apps to improve and/or modify the image in many ways, post it to blogs and publish the link on social sites like Twitter and Facebook; all within a matter of minutes. So photography has become very ‘immediate’: photographers can exchange their work with the world, more or less as and when they create it – in a sense, it’s the digital version of what a polaroid camera did or does in the analogue world. I think that this development – the possibility to interface with the internet – will very likely be extended to professional or semi-pro cameras in the near future.
I find this development fascinating, but what it also means is that the world is gonna get swamped with even more images. And this development probably marginalizes analogue photography even more as analogue is as far removed from that immediacy as can be. It’s gonna be yet another challenge for analogue photography – to find its own place in the world of up-to-the-minute blogs and tweets.
8. What kind of work/projects do you have lined up for the next 12 months?
Nothing concrete, but I’m definitely going to do more projects with the Holga 120WPC, the wide-angle pinhole camera. Other than that, my projects are mostly linked to my travels, but I’ve got nothing lined up so far.
9. Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
When you take a picture, people will always tell why the photo is great, or why it isn’t – especially on the internet. At the end of the day, you have to judge yourself if a photo is good or not, and judge by your own criteria. If those criteria are not everyone else’s, so be it.
Thanks to Guy Dondlinger for spending time with us to talk about his work. Wish would like to wish him all the success in his future work!
***AS A SPECIAL PRIZE *** – Guy will be giving away a 1m square print of ‘The Orange Girl’ (seen in this article) which will be given away as a Prize for one lucky reader! Once this interview article has been tweeted about 50 times we will choose a random person from those 50. So don’t forget to click the Tweet button next to the top of this page.
The HolgaDirect Team
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