FILM PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEW | JESPER YU

1. Hi Jesper! Great to see you being part of the FSC community. Care to share more about yourself.

Hi Kevin! I’m very excited to be part of this (FSC) wonderful community. I’m soon to be 26 years old male. I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, but was raised in southern Taiwan. At the age of 12 I came back to Sweden and have been living in Stockholm since then. Currently, I work as a team leader at Scania’s R&D center.

2. You are considered young for a film user. How did you come to know about film and what draws you to them?

As I was born in 1988, I actually witnessed the historical moment when digital photography surpassed the traditional film-based photography in terms of accessibility and the magical instant review ability which only instant films could provide. But back then (early 2000), I was still too young to react and understand. Many years later, I picked up my first ILC (interchangeable lens camera), the Panasonic GF-1, which I had great fun with. One year later, I got a chance to use a Canon A-1, and after my first roll, I was totally hooked. I loved how the handling slows me down, giving me enough time to compose, analyze and think everything through. The medium (film) provided enough limitations (non-variable ISO, no choices between color/BW once decided, limited shots per roll etc.) to  make the gears inside my brain to spin. I started to pay attention to the dials and levers, figure out the relations between them.

3. I see that you have a good mixture of color and black and white photos. If you ever have to choose one, which would it be and why?

I’m a color negative guy. But since the purchase of a medium format slide film projector, it has been more and more slide, especially the Fujichrome Provia. I guess I’m just paranoid for not getting to see what the shot will look like in colors, since converting to B/W is much easier than the other way around.

4. You are very well-traveled. Is there one country you would love to photograph again? Or any country that you would love to visit? Why?

Among the places I’ve been to, I’d say Tibet. Such a beautiful place with amazing landscapes. Among the others it would be Iceland, constant changing nature, very little exploited landscapes.

5. Your style of photography has a tinge of voyeurism, snapping at unsuspecting people. Have you gotten yourself into a confrontational situation by the people you shoot?

I always try not to get noticed, it could be that I don’t want to interrupt whatever I was shooting by documenting from a third person’s perspective or it could also be I’m afraid of being confronted if I’d get caught. There have been a few unintentionally and intentionally (street portraits or giving people compliments after taking the shots) involvements with my subjects. Whenever people notice me taking pictures of them, I’ll just give them a nod. I have yet to experience violent confrontations luckily.

6. Care to share 1-2 images that are your absolute favourite and discuss why?

Picture one, the famous bamboo path in Arashi-yama, Kyoto, Japan. I like how the light creates the sense of depth in this shot. The mystic atmospheric with a touch of stillness and holiness.

Arashi-yama bamboo path

Picture two, Peek. This is one of those shots where you can point out tons of mistakes in terms of photography techniques, but still stands out. I love the simplicity of this shot. With very limited elements to tell a story, nothing pretentious.

Peek-a-boo

7. If you can only have 1 camera, 1 lens and 1 film, what would they be?

Ha! This one is easy. It has been decided long ago. My trustworthy Hasselblad 2003fcw with 80mm F2.8, coupled with Kodak Ektar. My success rate (personal speaking) with this combination is somewhere above 90%!

8. Do you have any upcoming project in mind? Is it OK to divulge a little?

I don’t work well with projects, since I’m don’t shoot professionally. My self-discipline is the only employer I got and yeah my self-discipline… But I got plans on making more travel photography, such as road trip through the entire Iceland, US west coast, New Zealand and many more. But these “dreams” are not so well-planned and thought through to be called as projects yet.

9. Lastly, any advise for people still on the fence about coming into film photography?

It is now or never! The journey of traditional film photography can be difficult sometimes, but because of this it is also very awarding.


Singapore-based film lover, Kevin Lim, interviewed Jesper for this post. See more of Kevin's work on his website, on Tumblr or on the Film Shooters Collective 

Kevin Lim

Singapore

Someone who's crazy about cameras. Someone who loves photography but wouldn't call himself a photographer. Someone who's lazy to do PhotoShop. Someone who loves the smell and physicality of film. That's why he loves films.