I’ve kept up with Alison Caseys work for a couple of years now and noticed her jump in to film. With some time and a few trial and errors she has found a sweet spot with her work and is discovering a narrative that is expanding her visual palette. Here are a few questions I was able to ask her for this feature about her photography and her perspective.
What film camera and film type are your currently using?
Body: Nikon F2 from the early 80s. Film: Tri-X 400, Portra 400, Ilford 3200 Delta, Ektar 100 (I push almost everything I shoot)
Did you start with digital and move to film? If so why?
I started with film, back in public high school when they still had print labs on most LAUSD campuses. My father was an amateur photographer and I was permitted access to his at home darkroom. I continued to shoot film when I moved to Santa Cruz for college; then I put down my camera for almost 5 years. When I started shooting again I decided to invest in a DSLR. After shooting that exclusively for a year, I started shooting 35mm again.
So to answer the original question, I moved back to film because of its depth and grain.
Digital is flat most of the time… skin tones are often off… For speed, accuracy and clarity I use the digital body, but aesthetically film wins.
Do you have any film projects you are currently working on?
Yes. Been working to reproduce my favorite digital long exposures using film, among other pursuits.
What’s so different about your film work as opposed to your highly recognizable digital work?
Wow. “Highly recognizable”. That is flattering!! I hate to say this, but the recognizable quality of which you speak is – I believe – somewhat “unreal”. You’re talking about the long exposures right? I call them candy pics because the sky always looks like sucked on bits of jolly rancher.
I suppose the difference is in my attitude – I stand more firmly behind what I consider a truer representation of the world. Also, for me, it’s harder to produce a great film image so if I do come out with something I like it elicits a greater sense of pride.
With Insta-fame running rampant these days, do you think it hurts a photographers work?
No one hurts your work except you.
Really it comes down to whether or not you as an artist let the abundance or lack of “insta fame” dictate your own self concept / self worth. And if you tailor your work to meet the whims of social media, then your lack of ethics is a way bigger core problem than a social media app.
In my personal experience, networking through instagram has been largely positive. I’ve gotten a lot of support from the graffiti community in regards to my action shots and that means a lot to me. But ultimately, I don’t believe that a social media app has the capacity to hurt or help someone’s work if they have personal integrity.
Any film photographers that currently inspire you or your work?
Not any famous ones. Just my friends. I admittedly am not as versed in the contemporary photography world as I probably should be.
I’ve noticed on your Instagram feed you’ve been shooting allot of nudes, how did direction come about?
Yes good observation. I’ve been shooting nudes for exactly a year next month with ever increasing frequency. I’ve always appreciated traditional photography and grew up looking at nudes in my dads photography books. (Helmut, Ritts, etc). I wanted to start shooting more portraits because I feel that as my work has progressed, long exposures of the city show a technical knowledge but there’s no human element. I wanted to challenge myself to get outside of my comfort zone. (Directing a human model is quite a skill, and one which I have yet to master).
That being said, I dislike most fashion photography and feel that, in general, unless you’re shooting an environmental portrait, clothing tends to distract from your human subject. So to build my portraiture I’ve been going the nude route. I think it’s the next natural step in the photographic journey for me.
We want to thank Alison for taking the time to share some of her work with Snapshot Galleria. You can find more of Alison’s work via Instagram under @ac_in_ca.