Kurk Kurk - The Slow Process of Film Photography | Kurk Kurk

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For a long time I had this believe in my head, that every picture I make has to meet certain expectations. I was constantly questioning if the composition was right, was there enough light, would I present this picture in a exhibition and so on. This way of thinking made me too cautious. I was scared to fail. Then I asked myself, how am I supposed to create something new when I don’t allow myself to fail?

Photo by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 88, film – Ilford Delta 3200.

I began to lose the sense of joy and curiosity in creativity, so I knew that I had to change my perception. About a year ago I decided to let go of these made-up expectations. I wanted to learn how to let myself enjoy the very act of photography without overanalysing it. So, that meant I had to start failing.

Then I asked myself, how am I supposed to create something new when I don’t allow myself to fail?

I must admit, It was quite hard at first, because I still had this voice in my head criticizing my every decision. But gradually I learned how to silence this voice and enjoy capturing beautiful things just for the pleasure of it.

Some of my failed attempts

Having said that, I did looked trough the pictures after I developed them and made a selection of what I want to show publicly. The difference was that I did not try to force myself to think of a title, a meaning or a reason why I was presenting that particular picture. I just focused on what felt right at that moment. Showing my works publicly has also helped me to gain more confidence in my artistic decisions and stand by them. I know that my pictures may not appeal to everyone and that is completely fine. I think it is essential to take your art out of the drawer, present it to others and see what happens. 

Photos by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 60, film – Ilford Delta 3200.

Sharing my art has also helped me to commit and be more consistent. If I was the only viewer of my works, then after a while they would not seem good enough to be shown. I would just keep them somewhere hidden until I made something “perfect”.

How does my creative routine look like? Whenever I feel like it, I grab my camera, put some film inside and go on to take a walk around the city or in the nature. As I am walking and enjoying the moment, I look around and start to notice some interesting compositions, patterns or people. I listen to my inner motivation. If I get a sudden urge to capture what I am seeing, I take out my camera and do it. After I press the shutter button, I go on without lingering or re-thinking if I captured the moment in a “right way”. Sometimes I do not get this inner urge to make a picture, even if the composition looks amazing. When this happens, I just stand there for a while and appreciate what I see with my eyes. Not all moments are meant to be captured by the camera.

Photos by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 88, film – Ilford Delta 3200.

Photos by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 88, film – Ilford Delta 3200.

I choose to shoot film, because it gives me necessary limits to enhance my creativity and to feel more relaxed. As you know, when you shoot with a film camera, there is no way to instantly preview what you have photographed. It is not possible to know fully what the outcome will be. This gives me a sense of relief, because it is way easier to let go and move on, to enjoy, when you cannot know the result right then and there. If I had a digital camera, I would surely take 5 or 10 pictures of the same composition just to “get it right”. With film camera I only make one shot and keep on walking. What is more, I only have 12 shots before my film runs out. This lets me appreciate what I photograph and spend extra few minutes to slowly emerge in the moment before I press the shutter button. This way I feel more connected with what I am shooting. I do not have a desire to re-do it after that one shot. It feels special. Even if the picture does not look that good or is ruined after developing it, I don’t feel too bad. It still brings back the feelings I felt during that moment when I made the photo. Film photography allows me to enjoy the slow process and the journey from noticing something and then making it physical.

Photos by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 88 and Kiev 60, film – Ilford Delta 3200.

Photo by Urtė Baranauskaitė. Camera – Kiev 60, film – Ilford Hp5 Plus.

If you want to see more photographs by Urtė Baranauskaitė, follow her on Instagram @urtebara.

To learn more about the activities of Kurk Kurk, read our blog articles. We also invite you to follow our page and like us on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time!

Urtė Baranauskaitė

Kurk Kurk workshop event's organizer and educator. Works with film photography, traditional graphic art and graphic design. Currently runs a graphic art blog and makes artworks using old photography techniques.


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