Lockdown Sessions Jahan Saber Posted On 10th June 2020 To Magazine & Lockdown Sessions
Is it really 10 weeks since we started this series? It feels so much shorter than that. If you have an Instagram account we are sure that you will recognise our 10th interviewee Jahan Saber, if not by his name then by his tag @doyoudevelop.
Jahan was nominated to take part by Dan Rubin in week 6 and we're so glad that was happy to get involved.
SECTION 1 - THE BEGINNING
SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE IMAGE / PRINT SHOT ON ILFORD FILM AND TELL US WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU?
There are so many, so here’s a recent favourite. It’s just something about this time that has made me think about things even more differently than I usually would. Mundane moments and feelings suddenly have so much more significance. I think mother nature has sent us to our rooms to think about what we did wrong and it’s been more than a learning experience. Going out on a bike has been my way of clearing my head and just allowing my mind to flow freely. Something that I couldn’t do before, at least not to this extent.
JUST IN CASE ANYONE DOESN’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO CAN YOU GIVE US THE OVERVIEW?
I’m a film photographer and artist that exclusively works with film. I used to work as a photographer in a very commercial line of work, but recently gave that up, sold all my digital cameras and am now completely devoted to the analogue process. A few years ago, I created a brand called “DEVELOP” that focuses on raising awareness on the importance of analogue processes in life, not only photography. I’m also a member of the AllFormat Collective, which is diverse group of artists from around the world that are bound by their love of film. Recently I started teaching analogue photography on Skillshare, too! Everything from camera basics, to exposing correctly to developing and darkroom work.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED SHOOTING FILM?
I grew up in the time when film was still the norm. Photography in general is fleeting. Only having a limited number of shots. That’s what I was used to. When digital took over I was a late teenager and wasn’t really paying attention to all the things happening in the back of my head. I didn’t think about going deeper with photography in that way. When I started working as a photographer I quickly realised that this was a dead end for me. I couldn’t go that extra step anymore like I would with other things in life. Film was the renaissance for me. It gave me clarity and the mental peace to really pursue something in a more honest way.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PHOTOGRAPHIC INSPIRATION / INFLUENCE TO DATE?
There has been one person that has been very influential to my understanding of photography and its application: Alec Soth. His overall approach to photography is something that really helped me come to terms with what I wanted to achieve and all the thought processes involved. I think how he combines poetry and photography and creates these parallels between the two really resonates with me.
Then again, I like to see things more like we are all on a path and along this road we meet lots of people that show us different things. So, I wouldn’t think it fair to just pinpoint it to one specific person! Some names that have recently inspired me are: Guido Guidi, Dorothea Lange, Federico Clavarino, Luigi Ghirri, Trent Parke, Fouad Elkoury, Michael E. Northrup and Josef Koudelka.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ADVICE OR TIP YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Probably to stop taking photos. I constantly apply this. Often when I’m out shooting or doing something project based I’ll ask myself “is this really worth it” and often I just don’t take the frame. Usually I’m quite happy about it. I think everyone is too trigger happy and that results in you having more quantity than quality work. Or whenever I’m in a creative rut, I just stop thinking about taking photos. I do something completely unrelated.
SECTION 2 – IN LOCKDOWN
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY RELATED PROJECTS ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO WHILE IN LOCKDOWN? / DO YOU HAVE ANY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS / IDEAS / PROJECTS FOR PEOPLE TO TRY?
I think one of the first questions I asked myself was “should I be taking photos?” I’m not really a documentary photographer, but there were a few things that I knew I would like to have in my archive. So, there was a bit of documenting the empty city streets. But I quickly shifted onto the mundane things that I discovered at home and kind of plunged into that world. I think there’s so much aesthetic and intrigue to the ordinary things in life, we often just miss out on them because we’re busy doing something else.
WHAT KEY PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD GIVE OTHERS TO SEE THEM THROUGH / STAYING MOTIVATED WITH THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE LOCKDOWN?
I think the key is not to put too much pressure on yourself. I think that’s certainly something that I’ve struggled with. Especially with Instagram being around, you often think you need to go out and create content the entire time, which is a real buzzkill. Ideally everyone needs to take this time to really reflect on the choices they’ve made and how they envision their future. So, take it easy, relax. Make the best of it.
WHERE IS THE FIRST PLACE THAT YOU WILL BE SHOOTING ONCE THIS IS OVER AND WHAT KIT WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
I’d love to travel back to Italy and shoot at the seaside. FP4+ and my M6, perhaps with the older 50mm Summicron, the DR version. That’s my ideal combination for the sea. There’s something about the film that just works so well with the light in Italy.
THIS PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN MANY PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REASSESS GOALS AND AMBITIONS. WHEN THE WORLD RETURNS TO NORMAL WHAT ARE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC GOALS GOING FORWARD? (CAN BE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL).
I certainly want to raise more awareness about our global state of being and that going back to film has helped me see the world differently. I mean, this sounds like a real cliché but it’s true, for me at least. I like to take things slow now. Shooting film enables that and one can kind of pick up on things that might seem trivial. I certainly hope that the world doesn’t go back to “normal” – as that’s what brought us here in the first place. I’m outdoors a lot, and often seek the connection with nature. Sometimes I even look for mystical things, regardless of your beliefs, I think there’s some sort of interconnectivity that one can pick up, especially through art. So maybe I’ll try and work on a project based on that.
ON A NON-PHOTOGRAPHY QUESTION - THIS IS A BIT MORE DEEP AND MEANINGFUL BUT POST CORONAVIRUS, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE WORLD TO DO DIFFERENTLY (WHAT LESSONS COULD WE ALL TAKE FROM THIS)?
I think it’s time we changed our attitudes towards so many things.
There are smaller, maybe more mundane and trivial things we need to change. We need to stop eating out all the time, and to realise we can email and not fly across the globe for meetings. We can learn to cook and need to learn to take our time with our nutrition. Just being at home all this time and getting creative with cooking has abolished my desire to eat out.
We need to rethink our demand structures. I think much comes down to acknowledging what we already have, and that we should be grateful for it. I started meditating. I went for long walks. I stopped spending countless hours in front of the computer. I spent so much less money.
We need to reflect on our lifestyles as individuals. And then, we need to reflect on our lifestyles as a society.
The climate is changing and we need to start having real conversations to tackle issues like the overproduction in animal agriculture. We need to start implementing more laws that fight racism, homophobia, xenophobia and protect the climate. We need to shift our focus on being an anti-racist society, that funds peace orientated projects. Defund military organisations. We need to invest into eco-friendly types of transportation, like high speed trains that run on renewable energy. We need to realise that this planet is a blessing to live on and that all of us are connected to each other. Each species and every ethnicity of the human race. Only through a combined individual and global effort can we change our society.
SECTION 3 - SHOUT OUTS
WE ALL NEED A BIT OF INSPIRATION AND LOVE SO THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO TELL THE COMMUNITY ABOUT YOURS. FROM THE FILM PHOTOGRAPHERS WHOSE WORK INSPIRES YOU, TO THE LABS YOU TRUST WITH YOUR FILM. YOUR ‘GO TO’ FILM PHOTOGRAPHY STOCKISTS, YOUR FAVOURITE COMMUNITY DARKROOMS OR JUST ANYONE IN THE COMMUNITY WHO YOU FEEL DESERVES A SPECIAL MENTION.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR 3 FAVOURITE FILM PHOTOGRAPHERS CURRENTLY ACTIVE ON IG OR TWITTER AND BRIEFLY TELL US WHY OTHERS SHOULD FOLLOW THEM?
Bethany Hardy @photohardy – up and coming photographer who you should follow closely. Her work is very pure and honest and it was one of the few profiles that really made me linger and take in the posts.
James Moreton @go_jmo – someone I connect with just by looking at their work. Before we met I knew exactly what kind of person he was just by his photography. It’s an incredible profile of his character and very inspiring to my own process.
Steven Cutts @stevencutts – Steven and I met a few years back in Milan at workshop hosted by Bryan Schutmaat. It’s been amazing to see his work grow over the years and his dedication to the medium. He’s based in Australia and seeing his work has made me want to visit more than I did before.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHY YOUTUBE CHANNELS (APART FROM THE @ILFORDPHOTO ONE)?
AnalogThings by Marco Krenn.
I was always a big fan of Kai and Lok from DigitalRev TV though. I always thought their show was like the “Top Gear” of photography. Just banter and fun photo stuff.
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE LAB SERVICE, IF YOU HAVE ONE, (NAME, LOCATION, WEBSITE)
Fotofachversand – Foto Riegler (www.fotofachversand.com) they are a small business that operates from Austria and they only ship to a few other countries in Europe but they are fantastic.
Fotoimpex is great too! They are based in Berlin and have a very big arsenal of goods. (www.fotoimpex
And last but not least, an honourable mention to a team that has helped me greatly with my photographic journey, especially when getting into FB printing: AG Photographic! www.ag-photographic.co.uk
Sorry, more than one! J
GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO YOUR FAVOURITE LAB SERVICE, IF YOU HAVE ONE, (NAME, LOCATION, WEBSITE)
Cyberlab (www.cyberlab.at), based in Vienna is my no.1 place for my 35mm C-41 films.
Foto Leutner (www.fotoleutner.at), based in Vienna for E-6 and my large format colour films. And special requests like Agfa Scala!
SECTION 4 - FAVOURITE KIT
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FILM CAMERA YOU OWN (OR HAVE OWNED/USED)? (SEND US A PICTURE OF IT IF YOU HAVE ONE).
My Leica M6 paired with my 50mm Summicron DR.
ASIDE FROM YOUR CAMERA, LENSES AND FILM WHAT ACCESSORIES MAKE IT INTO YOUR CAMERA BAG?
Pocket knife, notebook, pen/pencil, sometimes a book that I’m currently reading.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHY KIT YOU HAVE FOUND OR BEEN GIFTED?
I started shooting film properly when I picked up my great-grandfathers Leicaflex SL, which was gifted to me. That camera is fantastic. I used it for everything for a long time. It’s a tank. Very fast. Accurate. Sturdy. Built extremely well. It’s very loud though!
AS THIS IS AN ILFORD INTERVIEW IT WOULD BE REMISS OF US NOT TO ASK ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE ILFORD PRODUCTS. TELL US YOUR FAVOURITE ILFORD FILM, PAPER AND CHEMS AND WHY?
Hah, there’s so much. I print all my work on Multigrade RC paper, always glossy. I love the warmtone paper, too. My heart beats faster for FB paper though.
Film wise there’s HP5 and FP4, like mentioned earlier. But last year I stumbled across Pan 100 and Pan 400, which were amazing to use. They seemed almost like they had a very classic/vintage look, without a compromise in quality. I wouldn’t mind having a few of those as a bulk roll! Chemicals: Microphen. The things it does to pushed HP5 is just unreal. Beautiful grain.
WE’VE SEEN PICTURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF PEOPLE STOCKPILING ITEMS SUCH AS TOILET ROLLS, PASTA, HAND SANITISER ETC. IF YOU COULD STOCKPILE ONE ILFORD PRODUCT WHAT WOULD IT BE?
HP5 in bulk. As much as possible. I might have done that already ..
NOMINATE ONE OTHER PERSON YOU THINK SHOULD FILL IN THIS FORM AND WE WILL REACH OUT TO THEM
@shimarastin- Shima Rastin is an Iranian photographer. She’s done some very interesting work on Pan 400 of the Lockdown
About The Author
Jahan Saber was born in Vienna, 1990. His photographic journey began at a young age and then rekindled during his mid-twenties. Leaving a career in commercial photography he returned to the roots of the analogue process, working mainly out of his home darkroom. Jahan is the founder of the DEVELOP label that focuses on analogue processes and how their practice is essential to living a more mindful life. His work focuses around feelings and intuition and how they play a larger part in following a grounded path. He is currently enrolled at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna. Member of the AllFormat Collective.
All photos are (c) by Jahan Saber
My website: www.doyoudevelop.com
My skillshare classes on analog photography: https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/doyoudevelop