This week MSM inc speaks to Zaeem Burq as part of our interview series.
Please introduce yourself. what is “your style” of photography? I’m a mathematician by training and trade; I’ve been taking photos for fun for over 15 years. I’d love to claim that I have a particular style, but I don’t think I do. Recently, I have been shooting trying to shoot deliberately rather than opportunistically. I think about a theme or a project, then try to make a series of 10 or 15 photos on that theme. I like the idea of using more than one photograph to say something.
Also, recently, I’ve been shooting some nudes and a lot of posed, semi-formal portraits of friends and strangers.
how long have you been shooting film? 15 years. I don’t own a digital camera.
do you prefer colour or black & white? do you have a favourite film, camera or printing technique? I mostly shoot black & white film because I can process it at home. I do like colour photography and hope to do more of it soon.
Favourite films: Kodak T-Max 100, 400. Only because they are cheaper than Ilford and I know how to use them. The trick is to pick a film, any film, work out how it behaves, then adjust exposure and development to get the results you like. You can do this with virtually any film.
Favourite cameras: Cameras are just tools. Whichever camera suits the project at hand best is my favourite at the time. Recently, my Hasselblad and my old wooden 4×5 and 8×10 large format cameras are getting used most. I have more expensive cameras that are languishing in the back of the cupboard.
Printing Technique: I make my own black & white silver-gelatin prints in the darkroom. Toned with Sulphides or Selenium. Yum! There’s nothing like a good silver print.
show us one of your favourite shots and tell us a bit about it, how did you take it and is there a story behind it?
I photographed a friend with a 178mm f/2.5 Kodak Aero-Ektar lens. It’s an unusual lens originally used in the ’50′s for aerial reconnaissance; very hard to use on ordinary cameras, but when it works, its great. This shot was a rare success.
show us a favourite shot from the MSM pool. what do you enjoy in other peoples’ photos? I find it impossible to point to a favourite photograph. I’d much rather nominate a favourite set or series of shots. When seen together as a set or a series, the photos say a lot more about the subject and the photographer him/herself than the individual photos viewed separately would.
I love Hamish Innes-Brown’s crazy experiments: 86 tram, Chris Zissiadis’ Urban Light set: urban light, Barb Fischer’s typologies of ordinary things and places: seats and Audunn Nielsonn’s street portraits: I will miss you, but who are you? (2008)
how much money have you spent on film so far this year? I don’t want to count.
give us a question to ask the next person for this series: I don’t care about favourite film or camera. What’s your favourite subject to shoot?
Thanks so much Zaeem! You can find Zaeem Burq on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/zab/.