Neil received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Photography from East Carolina University. He works in the commercial photography and design industries, as well as, owns and operates Lone Leaf Gallery & Custom Framing with his wife, Meredith. He has won several awards in both national and regional exhibitions, and continues to show his work throughout the country. Neil was also awarded a North Carolina Regional Project Artist Grant in 2012. He currently lives in Washington, NC with his wife and daughter.
How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?
I was introduced to the Holga camera while enrolled in the BFA Photography program at East Carolina University. A few of the graduate students were using them, and I knew immediately that it was the tool I needed to take my work in a new direction. I've stuck with it ever since then. So, I'm coming up on 9 years now.
What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?
I've always enjoyed that the Holga hints at what you're capturing, but it's never an exact representation, like digital is. The images can feel more like a fleeting memory. So, it allows the viewer to put themselves in the photograph too. Another reason I love shooting with the Holga is limitation. It can be a difficult camera to use at times, with unexpected results. But, I sort of love that. It forces me to work with what is there, instead of shooting hundreds of frames and trying to narrow those down.
Please tell me a bit about your series in which you use a Holga
My current series is called, 'We've Met Once Before'. Since I longer have access to a darkroom, I bought a polaroid back for my Holga. So, I'm capturing every image on positive film and then scanning those in. From there, I simply enlarge the file. 'Glimpse' is an example of a true capture. If I want the image to go further than the initial capture, I then combine pieces from my other Holga images, and paint with the imagery using Photoshop. 'Undercurrent' is a good example of this. The idea behind the series is to explore the beauty and mystery of my surroundings. Each image feels like an obscure memory created in the mind of the viewer themselves.
What are some of your biggest challenges shooting with a Holga and do you have any tips for over coming them?
There's definitely an added expense to shooting with a Holga. Film is not cheap, and the cost can quickly add up during a photo excursion. So, buy all your Holga film in bulk. And, as I mentioned, the Holga can have a mind of it's own. It can give you unexpected result in low light situations. I like to photograph with it just as I did with film. If it's a gray, low contrast day, then grab your camera and go shoot.
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone just starting out with a Holga?
Move in closer to your subject. I've found some beautiful moments this way. And the Holga leaves you with so much added mystery with those shots. And to photograph in many different lighting conditions to better learn your camera. Exposure time can make all the difference with Holgas.
What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?
None right now. I have two Holgas, and that's all I need.
Favourite photo film(s)?
Fujifilm has always been a favorite.
What inspires you?
Water. I'm just drawn to it, and incorporate it often in my work. Also, when a place is quiet, I'm usually inspired to photograph there. When I disappear into those places, I feel like I make my best work. My wife, Meredith, inspires me. She's also a photographer, artist, and a great critiquer.
|We've Met Once Before|
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