"I just fell in love with film, on the same journey where I fell in love with photography."
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Zeno, 22 years old from Belgium. I’ve lived in 4 countries in my young lifecycle (Belgium, Greece, England, France.) Right now I’m studying Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium with a specialisation in photography. My education however is very much built upon the development as the artist rather than technical education. I am also a writer, poetry to be exact. Currently busy with finishing my first book.
When and how did the film journey begin for you?
Growing up I never had much money or a creative environment to develop my creative urges. But at a young age I started to write down my feelings to cope with things, which later, at around the age of 16 developed into poetry. My poetry is a direct translation of my feelings at the moment whether that be love, sadness or even political issues.
The problem with a thought or a feeling is that you can never hold it in your mind as freshly as you come across it, so I used disposable camera’s you’d buy for €11 and photographed the moments where I saw something that prickled me to write about to refreshen the memory at a later date. I developed that into photography that can stand on it’s own and out of budget it was easier to get into it with a camera that only cost €50 rather than €1000. I guess you can say that out of unavailability of the fancy stuff I fell in love with my second hand old Canon I bought.
What drives you to keep shooting film?
I just fell in love with film, on the same journey where I fell in love with photography. I love being visually stimulated by it and by now I can easily tell what’s shot in film or digital. I realise that the cheaper long term would be digital but where’s the fun in that? I love that when I shoot a model I only take one roll of film. The picture I’m going to use is in those 36 shots. I don’t need hundreds of photos in hope to get a good image.
I love that it challenges me to be a better photographer. Every photo counts. I also hate the process of editing pictures and the technicalities that over complicate the essence of what photography is for me, so my pictures are always unedited.
What do you focus on when shooting film and what inspires you?
I work around people, even if don’t meet up with someone I’ll always have a pocket camera with me and photograph people in a more street photography way. What I’d like to believe is that what separates me is my attention to detail in colour, location and the model. Before even starting the session I know what colour of clothes my model wears, what her hair is like and what the background will be like.
I put contrasting colours up against each other and get the best out of the Kodak Portra. I like making series of photos. Take one picture, notice something, get closer and closer. Could be a wrinkle in the shirt, ring on a finger or plant in the background. As long as it prickles me, makes me feel a certain way.
What cameras and films do you use most and why?
I bought my Canon AV-1 50mm from eBay. It does the job well, can’t complain. For film I tend to go towards Kodak Portra for the flesh tones and colour portra brings out so well and fujicolor c200 for when I’m avoiding that warm tone to create more distance in the picture.
If you had one last chance to shoot film, where would you go? Who would you take with you? What would you shoot? Why?
I’d bring my girlfriend to the place where I grew up. Mytilene, Greece by the beach and a lovely old greek house. I’d show the elegance and beauty of both the location and my girlfriend and show the world. Make the world fall in love with her and the location because ultimately they're just the most beautiful things.
Where do you develop & scan your film?
I have the ability to develop and scan my film at my school! We have our own darkroom and great scanners. I only do black and white there though, for my colour I tend to go to a photo lab nearby the school.