Nathan Dunphy discovered film photography completely by chance and it didn't come naturally to him at first. However, after a bit of practice and some determination he managed to find his creative voice through documenting his singer friend Joesef with the Diana Mini camera. We talked to Nathan about his journey into film and the joys of seeing his work progress and flourish over time.
Hi Nathan Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, I’m 25 years old and I work as a music manager in my hometown and best city in the world, Glasgow, Scotland. A sturdy city with sturdy people. My life pretty much consists of music and photography, and although I always intended for them to be separate, they crossed wires pretty quickly.
What got you into shooting film?
It was my very erratic decision to travel to Europe for a month with my girlfriend in 2017 paired with a late night YouTube hole on 35 mm Film camera tutorials. I was instantly intrigued so I ordered a Diana Mini and a huge bag of expired film from eBay. Off I went round some stunning countries with this tiny little plastic camera, just shooting things I thought looked good. I managed to figure out what the ‘bulb’ setting was and how to do ‘double exposures’ and that was me obsessed with the endless possibilities.
I did take photography as a subject in my last year of school in 2015 but it was solely to skive. They gave us a digital Canon and told us to ‘pick something that can be a series’. I just took pictures of my dinners and passed with flying colours. So maybe I had an eye for it back then but I never considered it as a thing I would be so interested in the future. I actually ultimately left said Canon camera in a back of a taxi one night after taking it to a house party. The school wasn’t best pleased and I never touched a camera again until two years later.
Tell us about these photos?
I guess these photos are pretty special to me as they actually depict my journey into film photography perfectly. The shots showcased from my Europe travels were so exciting and unique to me that I sent them to my pals ranting and raving about this plastic camera. One of those people was a music artist I also manage, Joesef. He thought my pics were cool and asked if I would take some pics of him. It was a disaster. I still have those photos and we look back and laugh at them, hard and often. Maybe they will be released one day for the viewing pleasure of the public.
Anyway, he gave me a second chance after another photographer pulled out and we walked round the East End of Glasgow and took pictures that ended up being multiple single artworks, tour posters and press pics. Some of them were published in Vogue which was wild. The shots felt so iconic to us and myself that it just further catapulted me into the film photography world and I started taking it a bit more seriously from there.
What do you like about the Diana Mini and Fisheye camera so much?
The sheer hilarity of bringing it out but getting something you simply can’t get from any other cameras out there.
Any tips and tricks for using these cameras?
Always use the flash for the Fisheye and always get close as hell. With the Diana Mini my only advice would be don’t shoot with serious intention. It’s a fun sized camera, have fun with it.
Where do you see film photography going in the next five years?
In five years I reckon Lomography will buy Kodak and put an end to this expensive film madness. Ilford will collab with the new super giant Lomo and release a film that can switch between colour and black and white. Not a bad prediction I’d say.
To see more of Nathan's photography follow him on Instagram @peeohvee.