An interview with Dexter Lander, winner of the 2012 Fujifilm Student Awards
Published on 7. 8. 2012 at 9:29 am
Thank you. This photograph was part of a series of images I took on a trip to the Balkans last summer. I’d set out with the intention of having a selection of images I could collate into a small book. With no idea of a theme or starting point what immediately struck me were the colours I was seeing, particularly in the architecture.
When did you first encounter this building?
I found this building a good 20 minutes outside of the old town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The further you travel away from the famous old town the more you notice the damage that was done. The old town and old bridge of Mostar, a popular tourist attraction in Bosnia, has been restored after the war to its original glory. Yet further out, structurally little has changed since the war 20 years ago. I was blown away by the idea of having no choice but to build a new structure underneath an existing one.
Why would you define this environment as ‘Extreme’?
The beautiful natural landscape of Bosnia clashes perfectly with the mix of architectural styles and culture, the recent atrocities are always present and not easily forgotten, yet the Bosnian people’s relaxed and social nature and the promise of the new give the environment a real sense of excitement. On the evening of the day I took that photograph I travelled to a small Bosnian Hip Hop festival in Mostar. That was extreme!
Your image was shot using Fujifilm Superia 200. What is it about shooting film that you enjoy the most?
I guess the patience that comes with it creates a sense of excitement for me. With the photos I took last summer I didn’t see any of them for the five weeks I was away, I had no idea what I had until I got back to the UK. I think it’s also that simplicity of light onto chemical that excites me. I read an interview with David Sims where he said shooting on film is photography, shooting with a digital camera is printing. I think that is completely true. When you get it right with film, when everything comes together, that is a photograph. I love using digital as well but for me it is usually more about an effect or an aesthetic than the photograph itself.
Your prize includes a professionally produced portfolio and 12 months mentoring from the team at Metroprint, the long-standing London pro-lab. What are you hoping to take from the experience?
Everything I can. I’ve wanted to learn about colour film processing and printing for a long time now, but I’m also very interested in their insight into ways to improve the quality and presentation of my work.
Please tell us about any upcoming projects that you may have that include shooting with film?
I’m working alongside musicians creating visuals for them and looking to get my work printed in some publications, but I’m quite enjoying not having specific projects at the moment. I’m just taking my camera and my Blackberry out and documenting things that interest me, playing with colour, compositions and close-ups. At the moment that has led to an interest in the details of cars; headlights, door handles, bonnets. It’s amazing to see how the design of these machines morphs when they are taken out of context. It’s a nice way to work.