There are many terms used to describe the work of Chis Dan. But let’s be honest, there are just two words to characterize Chis’s photography. Cinematic and intimate. The Bucharest-based photographer mostly shoots on film, so we asked him about his voyage though the analogue. About his creative process, from camera to the darkroom, on the interview below.
How did you find film photography to be right for you?
Personally, I find film photography a natural medium to work with because of few reasons. One of them would be that for me, film cameras are accessible; since they’re basically in every flea market and you can find them in condition too for a bargain. Since photography runs in my family and being passionate for collecting film cameras, shooting with them for years and years, you begin to learn how your image will come out on the negative.
How would you define your personal style?
It’s hard to define my style since I’m constantly trying to improve my technique, learn from art history and experiment different concepts. Most of my work reflect personal observations and moods. For now my longest and iconic series for me is the “Red” series. It’s the excitement of the color red that I like because it’s as eye-catching as a car crash when and wherever you see it.
What is about film and darkroom that you adore?
I adore film because of the colors are a bit more true to the reality than the common digital sensors and much more organic, even if I shoot expired films, i just love it. About the darkroom on the other hand, I rarely visit it since I shoot color mostly and I don’t have the resources for the moment to develop manual or automatic c-41 negatives or e-6 slide films, but when I do, I develop black and white films and it’s approximately mystic and rewarding sensation, touching with your own hands your own work.
Whenever you go out, do you already have a theme in mind to shoot? Or do you just start shooting when the inspiration comes to you?
I don’t have a definitive answer to this question, sometimes I’m just snapping pictures because I’m probably testing a new camera like a trigger-happy shooter but at the same time I stop every time and think of the theme I’m shooting, sometimes I have periods of time when I don’t shoot anything but subjects that make sense with a theme or concept that I decided at home.
You can only have one lens for the rest of your life, what is it?
That’ll be a multi-coated 50mm lens.
What do you think is the misconception about photography today and what would you do to change it?
The biggest misconception about photography nowadays in my opinion would be that everyone can be a photographer, metaphorically speaking, since they have a camera and that you only have to press a button. In some ways it is technically true, because everyone has a camera attached to their phone and literally everyone takes a photo with it approximately every single day, but not everybody can exhibit their pictures taken on their phone or analyze properly a picture without proper knowledge. I can’t change this since everyone has the right to do it, it’s a democratic medium after all.
What’s your next challenge?
I guess the single true challenge for an artist, including me, is time and what an artist needs to do in their own way to remain timeless through their art.
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All images: (c) Chis Dan