Noa Deane By Jon Frank
Noa Deane, by Jon Frank Grajagan, Indonesia Jon Frank is what you’d call a master of the photography game. He’s been shooting since 1993, and not that time on the mat is everything, but when you couple experience with a creative eye and a perpetual reach for excellence, you create fine art. Frank […]
by Jon Frank
Jon Frank is what you’d call a master of the photography game. He’s been shooting since 1993, and not that time on the mat is everything, but when you couple experience with a creative eye and a perpetual reach for excellence, you create fine art.
Frank says his relationship with film is “intrinsically linked with my relationship to photography. There is nothing that separates them. If film was discontinued I would have no choice but to completely rethink my entire philosophy of why I am a photographer and what it means to me as an artist. I would have to quit photography and take up water-colours or else go back to the bad old days of making my own film in the garage out of Airplane Brand jelly crystals, 8-track audio tape and a bucket.”
This was a film-only trip, made in relative isolation, without telephones or laptops or even digital point-and-shoots. But Frank is real quick to point out that he ain’t anti-digital. “The digital revolution has been incredible for convenience, ease-of-use and practicality. For a sports shooter it is a god-send. Digital photography has made the working lives of most professional photographers more productive with less effort. The digital photographer can produce almost limitless amounts of ultra-high resolution images and can skip the processing and scanning stages which results in controlled delivery of their finished files, without degradation, to the printers. The darkroom was not a fun place to work even though it is romanticised as such. I did, however once kiss a girl whose name I can’t remember in the darkroom at my old high school. She probably thought I was someone else.”
It was Frank’s idea to shoot at Grajagan for the simplest of reasons: it’s hard. “It’s an epic wave but it’s notoriously difficult to photograph,” says Frank. “When I told (Bali-based photographer) Jason Childs I wanted to borrow some of his film gear ’cause mine wasn’t working, he went, ‘You’re kidding! You’re going to… G-Land? You know it’s the worst wave in Indonesia to take photos.’ And I was, like, ‘I know. But it’s why I want to go there.’ I like challenging.”
Does he like being isolated, as in East Java, rather than in the relentless spool of surfers and photographers in, say, Hawaii?
“I lived alone for six years and would have entire conversations with myself that were well informed and often surprising. So no, I don’t really like isolation anymore” says Frank.
And how would he describe his relationship with film? “There are three reasons why I will always shoot film: The visual beauty of silver halide emulsion is unparalleled. Depth, dimensionality and luminosity are unmatched when film is exposed, developed and printed skilfully.”
“Psychological and cognitive aspects of the picture-taking process are greatly enhanced when shooting with a film camera. The photographs you make when shooting film are entirely different to the ones you would have made using digital equipment.
“I am getting older and as such have been around long enough to be allowed to behave like a stubborn pain in the arse with impunity.”
And what does Frank believe is the principal advantage of film over digital?
“The last thing the world needs is more photographs. And the principal advantage of film over digital is you shoot less. The ratio of bad photographs to great ones increases exponentially in relation to the number of frames exposed.”
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