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Downtown Camera Community

Artists Of Downtown Camera: Alexandria Jahr

Could you introduce yourself and tell us what your background is in photography?

Hi! My name's Alexandria.  While it's only been in the last year that I've truly begun dedicating time to my art, I fell in love with film about 3 years ago, when I noticed my dad still had my grandfather's Voigtlander Perkeo II.  I picked up a few rolls of film and he showed me how to use it.  From that moment on I was hooked!

I don't have any formal training in photography (or any artistic medium).  I've learned a lot from my dad, and through trial and error, but I would be especially remiss not to credit the film community for being so open & generous in sharing information, resources, and support.  This has encouraged me to keep pushing myself and developing my skills. I'm planning on getting a home darkroom set up soon to start making prints!

What is your camera set up?

Until recently I've taken a pretty minimalistic approach to my gear.  My first 2 years shooting film were exclusively medium format, shot on my Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16.  Using a fully manual camera really helped me learn a lot about the technical aspects of photography.  Being limited to 12 frames on a roll made me more mindful & deliberate with my shots, and having a fixed lens (75mm, f4.5) forced me to adapt and learn the limitations of the focal length.

Eventually I wanted to give myself the freedom to explore creatively, so I branched into 35mm with my Canon AE-1.  I absolutely love shooting with this camera, and I've started finding my own unique style which has been fun!

I've also added a Bronica ETRS to my collection, which I'll be dedicating to my upcoming project.  There's definitely a vintage trend with my gear - even down to my light meter, a Zeiss Ikophot.

As for film stocks, TMax 400 & Cinestill 800T are my current favourites.

What is your favorite subject matter?

For me, film photography is about the process far more than the end result (which is part of the reason why I don't edit my photos). It's about slowing down and being deliberate & present.  I love the manual process, the delayed gratification, and all the flaws & surprises that come along with this medium.

I think this mindset is a big reason why I don't have a favourite subject matter - just the belief that there is so much beauty in the everyday, in the mundane.  Sometimes that means capturing colours, or lines that catch my eye, other times it's an attempt to hold on to a fleeting emotion.  And every once in a while I work up the courage to ask a stranger to take their portrait, and I get to experience this beautiful moment of human connection.  It's cheesy, I know, but it makes me so happy.

Are you currently working on or planning any photography or art projects?

I'm currently working on my first photography project.  It will be a series of portraits, in a sense, of people's hands - exploring the stories they tell and the assumptions we make about appearances.  Please reach out if you're interested in participating!

Is there anything or anyone's work you'd like to suggest to our community?

If you liked my work, please check out some of the many talented artists who inspire me: @_jp.exe, @lookup_hannah, @noiseonfilm, @cinedar, @bestoftheroll, @rosie__ray, @analogjohn, @hawnfawn, @henrytheninth, & @analog.nev.

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