the-35mm DMs: Vineeth Jason

It’s been some time since I last posted a story about Instagram film photographers, and I apologise for the delay. This is, however, worth the wait.

My next ‘DM interview’ over insta was with Vineeth Jason, a 22 year-old post-grad student from Bangalore, whose experimental work ranges from multiple exposure street photography, to deeply oversaturated feasts of colour and everything in-between. 

We spoke about creativity, shooting playlists and inspiration…

Hi Vineeth, let’s start with the basics; Who are you? Where are you from? And when did you realise film photography was your passion?

My name is Vineeth Jason and I’m a postgraduate student from Bangalore, India.

I was on a hiking trip with my family and I took a load of pictures of birds and scenery. When I developed them and showed my friends, they said they were pretty good. This made me want to shoot more and more. I started doing a lot of nature photography and I was hooked!

Since then my style of photography has changed to portraiture and then to street photography with a keen interest in experimentalism. I use expired film, alternate processing techniques and double exposures. I’m sure there’s a lot of other techniques I’m yet to discover though!

Do you think photography is more Art than Science or more Science than Art?

Like most things I enjoy in life (like cooking and driving) photography is a firm relationship between both art and science. Photography would not be photography with the art aspect or the scientific aspect. It’s like that with many creative pursuits.

What impact do you think other creative pursuits have on your photography? (e.g. listening to music whilst you shoot?)

I feel that I’m more detached from the subject I’m shooting when I’m listening to music. This is very helpful when I’m doing street photography as it helps prevent your flow from being interrupted, but it detracts from your vibe when you’re shooting portraiture. Maybe if you had music on, out loud, the model may be calmer and less anxious about the shoot?

I listen to a lot of old school electronica and metal when I want to shoot something experimental, just to put me in a creative headspace.

Do you think the kind of music you listen to affects the process and outcome?

Definitely. For shooting film especially. I listen to music when shooting and during developing, I find that music really puts me in the right mindset to either shoot a certain way or to develop a certain way. I have seperate playlists for developing colour film and black and white. 

I have a lot of 80’s and 90’s stuff in my black and white playlist and more pop and top 40 stuff in my colour playlist.

Do you have a photographer that has inspired you or had an impact on your creative style?

There’s no one photographer that I consider to be my one true source of inspiration. it’s more seeing different aspects from different photographers and building a style of your own.

Although, for my experimental work, I was inspired mostly by Hodaka Yamamoto. (@hodachrome on Instagram) His work is truly awesome. 

Which of your own photographs are you most proud of/most advanced your style? 

I find it hard to pick favourites from anything, so it’s especially hard to choose from your own photos!

I’d have to choose a couple of portraits that I shot on medium format because I used to be scared of shooting portraits and this shoot really helped me get over that fear. 

I shot them in the UK countryside a few years back, on my trusty Bronica ETRS, with a 75mm f/2.8 lens on Portra 160.

What advice would you give to someone anxious to shoot their first portraits?

That’s a difficult one. It definitely helps if the subject is known to you and also if they have prior modelling experience. Just talking to the model and asking them how they feel will reduce the tension and awkwardness of the situation.

Another thing I’ve found helpful is to let the model pose themselves for the first couple of shots. They probably know their most flattering angles better than you. You get a feel for it after a few shots and then you can start directing them. 

You don’t have to get the perfect shot on your first shoot. In fact, you should never think a picture you’ve taken is perfect. As soon as you think you’ve taken the perfect picture, you’ve stopped learning and you won’t get any better, so always look for a way to improve on your last shoot.

I think the most important thing is to always be polite, respectful and friendly with your model/s.

 You can find Vineeth on Instagram at @jason.vineeth , you can also find him on Lomography, where he was Newcomer of the Week

Remember to follow on Instagram too!

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