Focusing on the perfect moment to press the shutter button, the tonality, the graininess of the images … Who still photographed as a photographer on film, has good reasons for the elaborate way to take photos. Despite of taking their images analog many photographers print digital in inkjet technology on Hahnemühle papers. As fine art prints on genuine artist paper they guarantee higher longivity than darkroom prints, a wider color gamut and countless displayable nuances in black and gray. Brian Ho is a wedding photographer from Singapore and photographs still on film. His handmade prints and albums are perfectly crafted. We invite him for an interview.
When did you discover your passion for film photography?
When I caught a glimpse of legendary French photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson’s black and white works. Sometime later, I had the opportunity to study works of photographers like Robert Capa, Elliot Erwitt and Robert Doisneau. Coincidentally, they are all postwar photojournalists.
How did you come to the world of wedding photography?
It was definitely something that happened by chance. I didn’t plan to be a photographer, let alone one that specialises in wedding. Something that started out as a hobby turned into a very serious passion and from a very serious passion it became an obsession. No looking back from then on.
For some strange reasons, film photography came very natural to me. I didn’t quite like digital photography as I find it “too safe” and “too predictable”. I like the element of risk and surprise (even the nasty ones) in photography. The sense of adventure and a good dose of unpredictability excites me.
This is a very difficult question to answer as I can’t really pinpoint a specific project. I guess you’re asking which would be my most iconic shot. I guess it would be one taken of Charissa, a wedding client of mine, at a residential street of Arrondissement 4e in central Paris sometime in Aug 2008. For some very strange reason, a lot of people seem to be able to associate themselves with this particular shot. Perhaps the fact that it was taken in a nondescript street lends a sense of universality to this shot. It could very well have been taken anywhere. But in general, the very fact that I take most of my photos in analogue film itself is a rarity and a form of novelty in this day and age where digital photography is the only thing that most people know.
Who inspires you most?
Everyday people really and how they get about their lives.
How would you describe your personal photography style?
I tend to think of the photographs I take like a series of photos in a motion picture film. A lot of my works are inspired by cinema works and one of the most important element of cinematography is the element of storytelling. I like to think that my photographs can convey that message in a very real, raw and unpretentious manner.
What is most challenging about wedding photography?
I’ve always strived to make every wedding different from others I’ve taken. I like to believe that every wedding should be different because the chemistry between different groups of people are different. But that is easier said than done especially week in week out weddings is all you see. Keeping a fresh perspective has always been a constant challenge and as creative individual, that fresh perspective is important.
I belong to the old school of thought that photos are best appreciated in printed form. It gives you a sense of depth that is somehow different than viewing it off a printed computer screen. The element of touch and feel is missing from a computer screen.
Which is your favorite Hahnemühle paper and why?
That has to be the German Etching. The texture gives the photos a sense of three dimensionality. The colour vibrancy is almost paintinglike. It’s a staple choice for me for both my colour and black and white works. My three other favourites are the Monet Canvas, Photo Rag® and Photo Rag® Satin.
I would like to direct and make a feature film. That has always been my dream.
I’m itching for more experimental projects, something similar that I’ve done my Petzval Experiment (Lomography). I want something very different, something that helps me to see photography and the art of image making in a very different perspective. I am also working on an experimental bookbinding project with Hahnemühle papers. I´m just creating prototypes with Hahnemühle paper such as Photo Rag® that is not coated on both sides.
Thanks for the interview. More of Brian´s work as photographer, album maker and book binder can be found here: http://blog.thegaleria.com/