Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 2013

Mat Marrash

"There is no right or wrong way to shoot, so long as you're having fun."


This week we talk to Large Format photographer Mat Marrash from Finley, Ohio. We found Mat among the crew of the Film Photography Project along with Michael Raso. Mat is an advocate for film photography in general, but especially Large Format Photography. Mat holds walk workshops, darkroom sessions and one on one lessons on large format photography. We think thats pretty rad! We asked Mat a few questions about film photography, here they are!

Q: How long haveyou considered yourself a photographer?
A: I pickedup my first camera with serious intent in 2008, so I'd say about five years.

Q: What was yourfirst film camera
A: AHasselblad 500C. One roll of film through that was all it took to get hooked!

Q: What did youlike and/or like about this camera?
A: I likedhow the symmetrical aspect ratio of the square changed composition, not tomention "the look" achieved from a larger piece of film and fastlenses. I also liked the mechanical simplicity of the camera, operatingcompletely free of a battery was quite liberating. Most of all, the camera issmall enough to avoid obtrusion, keeping potential subjects at ease (at leastuntil they hear the mirror "slap").

Q: Do you have afavorite brand of film?
A: Simplyput, no. I have go-to films for different "looks", but I try to stickto a film once I like it, for consistency's sake. I'm a big, BIG fan of KodakPortra 400. It's one of the best modern emulsions made, and the exposure oflatitude of this film is just silly. In B&W, HP5+ is really starting togrow on me (especially in 8x10).

Q: What are yourtop 3 locations that you’ve shot at?
A: Allthree of them are located in Japan, a place I visited on three separateoccassions in my first two years of photography. Top locations include:Itskushima/Miyajima, the Kasugayama Primeval Forest in Nara, Nara, and theEihei-ji Temple in Fukui, Fukui. Plans are underway to revist Japan with mylarge format setup, as it's the place that got me interested in photography tobegin with!

Q: Do you have anytips for people that mainly shoot digital and haven’t yet tried film?
A: There isno right or wrong way to shoot, so long as you're having fun. But if you everfeel like you're shooting too much and progressing too little, give film a try;it may surprise you!

Q: What got youinto shooting large format?
A: Istumbled upon an 8x10 camera sitting in my college professor's office, andasked him what that giant camera was and if I could shoot it. He replied"If you can get some film, I'll show you how."
Needless tosay, I had 8x10 B&W film overnighted to my door and was diving into largeformat a business day later. Had I ever seen a 4x5 between the Hasselblad andthat 8x10, I probably would have stuck to that. But once you see that big,beautiful ground glass, there's no going back! From my first days of shootingthe 8x10, I've made at least 1-2 exposures per week, and have gotten comfortablewith my gear to the point at which all motions are effortless. Knowing gearinside and out is one of the biggest hurdles new shooters need to overcome, butonce done makes the whole experience (not to mention the photos) better.

Q: What would yousay to someone that is skeptical about shooting large format?
A: It's notfor everybody, especially if you're drawn to high action and quick burst rates.Large format forces you to make decisions that a modern, automated camera mayhave been making for you: focusing, metering, composition, focal length, etc.In addition, the time required to setup each shot adds an element ofconcentration photographers with smaller cameras typically don't allowthemselves. Give it a try and see if you like it. The older you go with some ofthe photographic processes, the less they're like modern photography, and themore they're like other traditional art forms.

Q:  Who would you consider an inspiration ofyours?
A: In theworld of black and white, I'm inspired by works from: Edward Curtis, WalkerEvans, Edward Weston, George Tice, and a lesser known fellow, Art Sinsabaugh (a12x20 shooter!). For color photography, the list is long, so I’ll simplify itby saying many contemporary large format shooters.

Q: What are theadvantages of shooting film and why should more people try it?
A: Whilethe grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, film: has way moreexposure latitude, is archive safe, keeps up with changing digital formats, hasamazingly high resolution in medium format and up, forces photographers to slowdown and think about their shots, and cameras can be had incredibly cheapcompared to newer digital bodies. 

Here is a list of the equipment Mat uses on the regular...
Medium Format
Hasselblad 500C + 80mm f/2.8
FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair (toy camera)

Instant Photography
Polaroid Automatic Land Camera 420

Large Format
Sinar P2 8x10 + whole mess of 8x10 film holders
Schneider Super Angulon 121mm f/8
Fujinon W 210mm f/5.6
Fujnar 300mm f/4 process lens (no shutter for wet plate)
Schneider Symmar-S 360mm f/6.8

We took the liberty of picking our top ten images by Mr. Marrash, here they are!

We asked our friend Michael Raso, who is also a friend of Mat, to write a small blurb about Mr. Marrash and here it is!

"I met Mat Marrash in October of 2010 at the PDN Photo Expo in New York City. Mat was a listener of The Film Photography Podcast (FPP), which I produce and host. 

You would never know know that Mat was new to shooting film. He started shooting film just a few years ago. Within 12 months his knowledge of the medium was grater than some who have been shooting 40 years (like me)! His knowledge, enthusiasm and charm landed him a co-host spot on the FPP - a spot which he maintains til this day!

A great eye, knowledge of the technical and big heart - Mat is tops!"

- Michael Raso, producer / photographer Film Photography Podcast

Also, photos of Mat by Michael Raso


Give Mat some love on his site


Buy the Blue Diana Mini by Lomography



Thanks again for reading, and as always, keep shooting




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