Digital can’t compare8/9/2016
“Excuse me, sir. Do you mind if I take your picture?”
If you asked filmmaker Kristian Day three years ago if he’d be taking photos of strangers smoking on their front porches on a street behind a row of Ingersoll Avenue businesses, he would have said no. He doesn’t identify himself as a photographer.
“It’s something I’m experimenting with,” Day said. “I don’t advertise myself as a photographer, I try not to. I don’t look for jobs. The only time I do photography is when it’s something I want to do or when someone requests me to do it. It’s never been something I wanted to to do.”
Day’s collection started out like any other — accidentally.
“When I would buy lenses (for filming), I would get the body camera with it,” Day said, “and I was like, ‘I don’t really care about this camera body.’ So, I would just set it on a shelf. Then I had all these camera bodies, and I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. So, I thought, ‘I can just buy some film and play around with it.”
Day’s first photography experience came from working on a film set a few years ago. He was sending out media kits for a film to local papers, and the photographer he hired wanted to charge each paper for photos they printed. That wasn’t something Day wanted to do, so he took behind-the-scenes photos himself.
Day took photos with a cheap camera body, one that’s “not even close to what professional photographers would use.” He purchased an adapter to attach the vintage lenses, and that’s where his passion for photography came to life.
Day’s collection consists of 32 cameras and 29 lenses, ranging from the late 1930s to the early 1990s. He finds the majority of his cameras and lenses on eBay, at garage sales, thrift stores and antique shops. Day uses cameras including a Kodak Reflex II, Range Finder and an Argus C3. His favorite lenses to work with are the Super Takumar F2.0 M42 mount and the Helios 44-2, 58 mm Soviet lens. He also has a mCam adapter to attach the lenses to his iPhone — a more authentic take similar to Instagram filters.
Day doesn’t consider himself a professional photographer, and he just takes photos of what he thinks look “cool.”
“I started taking photos and I didn’t really know what or how to do it,” Day said. “I just started shooting black and white photos.”
The fall into film photography has been a bit of a whirlwind for Day, especially considering film photography isn’t as dependable as digital, but it’s something that always works out in the end.
“One time, I shot a few photos on a camera and it was too cold and the shutter jammed up, and only one photo made it,” Day said. “And that one photo was really good.”
To date, Day finds himself gaining photography jobs by word of mouth and starting up projects that he finds intriguing. He may only be playing around in the photography industry, but his filmmaking experience lends itself to creating the perfect shot.
“I wish I could tell you more, that I could say I’ve been doing this for 15 years, but it’s all fairly new,” he said. “It’s really just been a huge experiment.”■