Jason Kummerfeldt's youtube channel needs no introduction, but if you happen to live under a rock in the analog world, head over to Grainydays to catch up on all the analog knowledge you missed out on! Fresh out of college, he got into photography five years ago. After hopping on the 9-to-5 train, he wanted to find a way to keep his passion for photography and short film, and after his friend, Caleb introduced him to film photography, his Youtube channel was born. Disposable cameras, 35 mm, medium format, he's reviewed it all. And after years of being teased by the idea of a large format, he finally took the leap and got his dream 8x10 camera. We talked to him about the excitement, patience, and research that went into getting his camera, installing it, and using for the first time,
Hey Jason! Welcome to Lomography. First off, can you tell us what you like to shoot?
I think it’s hard for anyone to define their style or exactly what it is they enjoy shooting, much less someone like me who’s head kind of hurts when I think too much. I would like to imagine my work is a mix of documentary, landscape, and painterly. I enjoy shooting candid shots of my only 2 friends, shooting architecture, and shooting distinct landscapes. However, the real thrill for me is traveling to new places, that are ordinary to some, and shooting them in a way that makes the viewer of the photo want to immerse themself in that scene.
How did you get started with large format photography?
My interest in dabbling with the dark arts of Large Format began a couple of years ago after I told my friend Caleb I would never in a million years shoot large format because it
seems too cumbersome. He probably rolled his eyes at me because, in the past, I had said similar things, like how I didn’t enjoy shooting black and white film, but now I love it
and can’t get enough. So Caleb probably wasn’t surprised when I broke the news to him I was getting into 8x10. Smash cut to last year and I started to put the pieces together on how I could actually start shooting this mythical beast of a format. I ordered a camera, lens, and a few other things, but it took me about a year to finally get every part together that I needed to actually shoot Large Format, and of course, to seize the opportunity I made a video about it.
What pushed you to start large format, like that “aha” moment?
I think I had grown too comfortable in my workflow with 35mm and medium format film so I yearned for something more. That, and I binge-watched so many Ben Horne videos. The real “a-ha!” moment came when I first got my negatives back and there was actually a picture on it. Somehow I managed to not completely mess it up, I got so damn
What camera do you shoot with?
I shoot with a Gibellini ACN810.
How is it different to shoot with large format vs medium format?
There are so many more pieces that go into Large Format, and thus so many more ways to totally mess it up. For Large Format, I think, the biggest hurdle to overcome is to
understand how lenses work. There is a lot more lens work involved, whether it’s shifting the perspective, understanding how the lens circle works, or just simply making sense of the focal lengths. That, as well as it costs an arm and your firstborn child to shoot Large Format.
What are the challenges you face when shooting large format? And what are the advantages?
The biggest challenge I’ve been finding, and I should say that I’m relatively new to the Large Format game, is not getting too ahead of myself and figuring out the composition
before anything. It’s happened a few times where I’ve set up that heavy monstrosity of a tripod/camera only to realize the picture I was about to take was not something I wanted at all. I do the same thing with handheld cameras too, I’ll often hold them up to my eye and see if I can work out what I’m looking for, often to no avail. I just need to start working on a better and more trusting compositional eye. That, and wind.
Any beginner’s mistakes you want to share with us?
The second time I actually shot 8x10 I was rushing a little bit because the light was fading and my dog, who was the subject of the photo, was antsy. It’s never a good idea to rush a detail-oriented process like this because there are so many steps that something is bound to get overlooked. So I missed focus slightly. SLIGHTLY.
What advise would you give to someone trying out large format for the first time?
But seriously, go slow, do your research, and be precise. I spent more time than I’m willing to admit researching cameras, lenses, and tripods until I found a combination I was damn near sure would work for me. Make sure you understand the whole setup and how to load your film correctly as well, that’s definitely been a hurdle to overcome for me as my dark bag is a little small, and it’s become a whole other thing to load film in. Additionally, make sure you understand what you’re looking for in composition when you take a photo. Large Format really gets down to the nitty-gritty and forces you to answer questions about your framing and subjects you would have never thought twice about.