Focusing on Simple Moments

An interview with David Aureden, Director of Client Strategy, who in the age of digital photography remains quietly, thoughtfully, loyal to film:

"Red Square, May 1998"

What started you on photography?

I had just moved to Moscow, after living in Germany and Portugal for three years, and realized I hadn’t recorded any memories from my time there, or any of the really interesting things I’d seen. Moscow was so stunning that I had to find a way to record what I was seeing and experiencing. I was living three blocks from Red Square and the Kremlin.

Your first camera?

It was a Russian medium format camera, a Kiev 60 (which was a Soviet knock-off of the Pentax 6x7). Inexpensive versus any other medium format camera, and quite good.

"Burglar Alarm," Town Hall, Marcellus, N.Y., April 2011

What cameras do you use now?

Two Leica Rangefinders – an M2 and an M3 – and a Nikon F3.

What film?

For Black & White: Ilford 400, Ilford Pan-F and, occasionally, Fuji Neopan 100.

"Jump," Keg Harbor, Skaneateles Lake, July 2012

Why do you like photography?

So much of life is precious, wonderful and beautiful, but I miss almost all of those moments moving through the day, the week, the month, the year. Photography pulls me away from me and into life, and helps me focus on the simple moments that need to be honored, supported and remembered.

"Winter Walk," Skaneateles Conservation Area, March 2012

Why do you stick with film?

I was visiting an old country estate outside of Moscow, some place that Turgenev may have visited, and, later, Bulgakov, and I was walking through an overgrown field towards a crumbling church the owner had built for his family sometime in the 1800s (there was probably an overgrown apple orchard somewhere as well). I wanted to take a picture that was a window anyone could walk through into that field, when they saw it. (No, the photograph didn’t live up to the vision.) 

To get to that level of texture and depth with digital photography takes more than I have time to master in post-production, and would cost way more than I can afford.  And getting there in post production seems antithetical to capturing the reality. With film photography, there is also the anticipation of “did they work?”  Digital is so immediate.  Which is often important, and satisfying, but doesn’t seem very lasting.

Do you strive for anything in particular with your photography?

Focus, simplicity, life.

"Bluff and Pillar," East Chop, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, October 2011