Sebastian Hilgetag: Moods and emotions

Sebastian Hilgetag: Moods and emotions
"Zenza Bronica ETRSI. I just love that enormous sound of the shutter. "

Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Berlin, Germany. I studied Communications Design at FH Potsdam and I’m currently working as both: photographer and strategic graphic designer.
Sebastian Hilgetag
Bronica ETRSI on Ilford Delta 3200 pro 02

When and how did the film journey begin for you?

When I was 6 my parents gave me a blue plastic film camera. I’m not even sure if it was any kind of brand. I snapped everything with it but now I don’t have it anymore or at least I don’t know where it is.
My obsession with film photography started after years of working digital. I wanted to challenge myself a bit more. The Grandpa of one of my best friends gave me his Praktica BX20 with a 50mm 1.8 and a 28mm 2.8 lens.
From there I started to do some analog shoots beside my digital work and also started to use it at my paid gigs.

Sebastian Hilgetag
Pentax ESII on Kodak Portra 800

What Could we always find in your gear bag?

I’m always taking a huge reflector to the shootings. No matter if I use a flash or not but the reflector is a basic item to work with for me.
I love the sparkle it creates in the eyes of my models and of course the more fashionable look I get from it.

Sebastian Hilgetag
Double Exposure Bronica ETRSI on Kodak Tri-X400

What camera makes you click?

It’s always different cameras that make me click. I started an addiction to film cameras two years ago and have a nice collection at the moment. My favorite medium format camera is probably the Zenza Bronica ETRSI. I just love that enormous sound of the shutter.

Besides that I’m currently looking at some 6x7 Cameras like the Pentax 6x7 on eBay. I think this will be my next shot. My favorite 35mm camera is definitely my Pentax Spotmatic ESII. I love the bright focusing screen and the lenses I bought it with: Pentax 55mm 1.8 and Soligor 28mm 2.8.

I also like to take this one with me when travelling since it’s easy, beautiful and light weight.

Sebastian Hilgetag
Pentax ESII on Tri-X400 (pushed)

Who are your models? How do you interact with them before shooting?

I’m working with agency models. I’m at the point in my photography where I demand a lot from my models. When shooting I want to create moods and emotions which I think is the hardest part in photography when you mastered the technical aspects of light and sharpness. That’s why I need models with experience on which I can rely and which understand beauty and elegance as much as other emotions and how to present them.

Sebastian Hilgetag
Bronica ETRSI on Kodak TMAX100

What inspires you most?

Music has been a constant inspiration in my life. It’s the same for my photography. I love to create and work with different kinds of emotions, themes and moods in my photography which I can find in the music I listen too. That’s why most of my editorials are named after tracks by my favorite bands like Architects, The Raveonettes and A Place to Bury Strangers.
There are also some photographers I adore for their beautiful work such as Ryan Muirhead, Brittany Markert and for her fashion work of course Lina Tesch.

Do you have any advice for film photographers out there?

Yes! If you want to keep film alive, go to the shops and buy films regularly. It would be a pity if Kodak finally closes down since the whole branch is already struggling.
On the other hand I would advise to shoot the themes that you really like. I think there are way to many photographers out there at the moment copying themselves over and over again. Also check out the old classics that have been in the game for more than 1 or 2 years: Anton Corbijn and Vincent Peters for example.

Do you think you will still be shooting film in 20 years?

Definitely! I think my addiction to this beautiful medium is just getting started and there are so many cameras to buy and to work with left in this world.
My latest purchase for example: a Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 355 which I didn’t use yet.

Sebastian Hilgetag
Bronica ETRSI on Kodak TMax 100
Sebastian Hilgetag
Sebastian Hilgetag
Sebastian Hilgetag
Pentax ESII on Kodak Portra 400
Sebastian Hilgetag
Bronica ETRSI on Ilford Delta 3200 pro 01
Sebastian Hilgetag
Yashica Mat124G on Ilford 3200

You can find Sebastian Hilgetag here: