Shedding Light Where It's Darkest with Double Negative Photography2 8 Share Tweet
The beauty of film lies in its ability to shed light upon the darkest of matters in a way that is raw, intentional, and explorative at the same time. When Jason and Amanda, of Double Negative Photography, switched over from digital to film, they immediately realized it was the perfect medium to communicate their dreams. Inspired by the darkness of cemeteries and forests, the fantasies of spirits and ghosts, and their personal upbringings, the duo aims to explore all of their intricacies in their projects.
One of the films that propelled their film journey is LomoChrome Purple. In this series, Jason and Amanda provide a glimpse of their dreams. We are transported to a color-shifted cemetery, left to ponder themes of life and loss.
Hello Jason and Amanda, welcome to the Lomography Magazine. May you introduce yourselves?
We are an award winning fine art photography team with a primary focus on traditional film techniques, most notably medium format. We enjoy travel, thunderstorms, poetry, fairies, ghosts, and spend most of our time in cemeteries and deep in the forest, communing with kindred spirits. Our art displays what our dreams project, simultaneously melancholy and peacefully surreal. We came from extremely troubled upbringings, surrounded by hopelessness, addiction, abuse and death for most of our lives. Due to this, we create art with the intention of taking grim subject matter and putting both light and serenity where there is darkness.
Our works are currently on display at Praxis Gallery, Alex Ferrone Gallery, and we are winners of the MS Art Commission’s FY23 grant for our study of color changing Lomography film. We are also winners of Tokyo, Moscow, and International Foto Awards. And recently named the Bronze winner of the World's Top Ten Fine Art Photographers competition by One Eyeland.
When and how did your film photography journeys begin?
Our film photography started at the very beginning of 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit. We had previously been doing photography with digital cameras on and off for the past 15 years. However, digital always felt lackluster and our photos felt like they were missing something. It wasn’t until we purchased our Yashica Mat 124-g and got our first roll of film developed that we realized what we were missing.
Film has a quality that digital can never reproduce or mimic. It pushed us as artists because, instead of having an almost unlimited amount of photos we could take with digital, we found ourselves with 12 shots per roll and a significant cost attached to the process. We now had to work with a limitation, and it forced us to think outside the box. One of the photos from our very first roll was published in Photo Vogue, so we took this as a sign that we were on the right track. We have never looked back.
What is it like working together as photographers? How does creativity bounce between you two?
We have a very interesting camaraderie between us. We have been together for nearly 18 years and married for over 15 years. Jason is the photographer and Amanda is the model and creative director. We have a yin and yang symbolism in our photography that helps us balance the feminine and masculine side of our art.
We are both into the same nerdy things, we have a general appreciation for the macabre, and we both can laugh at dry, witty comedy like Monty Python. We share so many interests that, after so many years together, bouncing creativity between us feels seamless and fluid. And since we like to visit cemeteries scattered around remote areas in Mississippi, we usually have hours to bounce ideas back and forth on the drive to our destinations. We usually have Kate Bush playing in the background to further fuel our artistic fire.
You mentioned you won an artist grant—congratulations! Can you tell us more about it?
Thank you! Yes, we recently applied to the Mississippi Arts Commission’s FY23 individual artist grant. Any artist who won this grant could spend up to $500 on consumable materials like paint, or in our case, film. Since we had been experimenting with Lomography film, we noted in our application to the grant that we would specifically be buying Lomography film to use in upcoming projects for 2023.
What drew you to Lomography?
Sadly, we started our film journey way too late to experience the joy of Kodachrome. It’s actually one of our favorite Paul Simon songs.
After years of using Ilford HP5 and Kodak Portra, we started to investigate other types of 120 film that we could experiment with. When we came across Lomography film, we were very excited to try something new and colorful.
Most of the examples we saw with LomoChrome film were street photography, so we were uncertain as to how this would translate to our lurid and ghostly way of taking photos. You can imagine our excitement when our first roll of LomoChrome Purple yielded some of the shots you see now. We were hooked and it completely invigorated our love for film all over again.
This beautiful series was taken with our LomoChrome Purple film. Is there a story behind it?
All of our film series seem to settle around death and the macabre. We started our journey at the start of the COVID pandemic, when there seemed to be nothing but worry and fear. During this exact time, Amanda’s mother was in a coma in the ICU with less than a 2% chance for survival, and we had recently become homeless after a betrayal (that we won’t go into here) left us destitute. This was an incredibly difficult time for us and forced us (along with our daughter) to move in with family until we could get our feet on the ground. During this time when we could no longer be around anyone for fear of spreading or catching the virus, our natural respite was visiting cemeteries. Here, in these remote areas of the south, we had no worry of bumping into anyone lest they be the restless spirits of the departed.
Our lives were restless and turbulent at this time, so seeking refuge away from the living was necessary. We have been on this journey of the “undead” ever since, and almost all of our photos play upon this theme. Our goal in utilizing LomoChrome Purple is to examine these surreal and oftentimes otherworldly colors, set against a starkly contrasting macabre background. This visual irony is meant to portray what our dreams project, simultaneously melancholy and peacefully surreal. Be it nightmare or fantasy, we take grim subject matter and put both light and color over darkness. Nightmares become daydreams. Death becomes a peaceful dream. And if life is but a dream, better to dread the waking than this sublime illusion.
What were your initial reactions to the film?
In much the same way we feel our lives have changed since we switched to film, we feel our photography has changed since switching to Lomography. It invoked such a dreamy atmosphere that makes our photos sing louder than conventional color and B&W rolls. We believed in Lomography so much we based our entire grant around obtaining more rolls. It seems our future is encapsulated within Lomography, and we cannot thank them enough for giving film lovers a different perspective to view the world.
Are there any features of the film you want to highlight?
The greens that come through on the LomoChrome Purple are outstanding and create a Mardi Gras-esque effect that fits in perfectly with our dark, yet playful southern vibe.
What are you planning next for your creative endeavors?
The ultimate evolution of our photography cannot be realized until we can get to the UK. All of our plans currently center around visiting different castles, cemeteries, and standing stone sites scattered around the Scottish countryside. Our grandest dream is to eventually apply for an Artist Visa in the UK so we can live and study in the land of ghosts and fairies. What we have to work with in Mississippi is paltry compared to the majesty of this ancient landscape, and it is a tribute to what you can actually create with what you have to work with. For instance, if we can create these types of photos in rural places in Mississippi, what more could we create with the backdrop of medieval locations?
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks so much to the team at Lomography for helping us with a bulk discount that will help stretch our grant dollars and make the continuation of our Lomography project possible!
Thank you Jason and Amanda for sharing your story with us. Find more of their work on Instagram, Facebook, Vogue, and their website (coming soon).
written by kaylalew on 2023-03-22 #gear #people #purple #lomochrome-purple #double-negative-photography