‘My dad built a darkroom for himself when I was 12 years old and that was it for me. He taught me how to make a print and I was hooked. I remember he was into sandwinching 2 negatives to try and make an interesting or humorous final image. Eventually I just Kinda took over the darkroom and I’ve never left….. I would just wonder around with my (was my dad’s) Pentax Spotamatic and TriX….. and that’s basically what I still do. I’ve been able to make a living doing commerical photography, for which I’m grateful, because I don’t know what else I would want to do. But it’s my personal B/W film photography that really means something to me. As I got older I discovered Kertesz, Callahan, Bresson, Winogrand, Friedlander, among many others and I just knew I wanted to try to make images in that tradtion, something that can last or mean something to someone. Whether I’m successful or not, I enjoy trying. A lot of what I shoot is a reflection of how I’m feeling at a certain time, I put a lot of myself into my images, whether I relate in some way to a certain person I come across or whatever it is I’m seeing. I’m not a big experimenter….. some TriX or Fuji Neopan 400, D76 and an old Omega enlarger and I’m a happy guy. My favourite quote is from Andre Kertesz about sums it up for me….. “I do what I feel, that’s all, I am an ordinary photographer working for his own pleasure. That’s all I’ve ever done”‘
The reason why we choose Paul Shelasky’s ‘Skate Rink’ image is because it was a ‘decisive moment’, capturing a cleverly composed and well thought-out photograph, that replicated, in his own way, Bresson’s most famous quote.
Thank you and congratulations again to Paul Shelasky for entering his great photographs and for becoming August’s featured photographer. Don’t forget to take a look at the interview:
1.Why film photography over digital?
This could be a long answer but I shoot digital for a living 9-5 so I enjoy using film for my personal work. I don’t own a digital camera at home…..it’s nothing against digital, but I sit in front of a computer too much as it is. For me it’s not about one being better than other. The darkroom and shooting film just feels natural to me so why change? I just enjoy having to wait to see my photos, having to cool my chemcials in the summer with an ice cube because the tap water is too warm. Or even the fustration when a roll of film doesn’t go easily on the stainless steel reel. It’s about the process….. as well as the grain, the stratches, the imperfections, the smell of the darkroom when I first walk in, e.c.t. Also, some of my favourite photographers……. Harry Callahan, Andre Kertesz, e.c.t, while I wouldn’t put myself in that class, I do feel like I’m carrying on a tradition and that’s important to me.
2. Where is your favourite place to shoot?
Where I live…….. Providence, Rhode Island. Between Boston and New York, I love big cities…. and while this is a smaller city I never get bored shooting here. I’m usually found downtown wondering around streets and alleys, but there are so many different neighbourhoods to explore here when I want a change of scenery.
3. What is your favourite camera to use and why?
One that works makes me happy…… right now it is a Yashica Electro Gs or Bessa R, both rangefinders cameras. Also, I use a Konica FS-1 SLR when the mood strikes. I’m on a pretty tight budget so these work for me. If something goes wrong with the Yashica I can buy another for $40 plus I just like the glass and the look and feel these give me and thats most important.
If you would like to get in contact with Paul Shelasky or to see more of his work, click on his name below: