19 Aug Featured: Tao Farren-Hefer
Tao Farren-Hefer does film photography, using a 40-year old 35mm camera. He was given a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic 35mm film camera, and his close friend Kent Andreasen convinced him to fix the camera and start taking pictures. Now he’s hooked, and takes at least one picture daily.
Tao sees himself as “a photographer obsessed with how the mechanics of genuine photography and light works”. His philosophy is to steer away from technology, and he manually sets the camera, since he feels this best shows the discipline and skills of a photographer.
“The act of taking the photograph is the most beautiful part of this film process”, says Tao. He experiments with different film brands and ASAs, and he plans the composition and subject perfectly before clicking away. He does not rely on post production to create different effects in his photographs either, as he feels “this is counter-productive to the film experience”.
With film photography, “once you have taken a shot there is no way of viewing it, forcing you to rely on your own intuition and knowledge”, says Tao. He has made the process of photography even harder by not using batteries in his camera’s on-board exposure meter, training his eyes to achieving the correct exposure for each shot.
“35mm film isn’t as hard to come by as most people might think, but there is obviously a price involved”, says Tao. He shops around for his film. When Tao’s film roll is full, he has it developed. He finds this specific process of film photography indescribably exciting and nerve wrecking, an experience that digital photography lacks. Tao wants to set up his own traditional darkroom soon, so he can develop his own pictures and follow the images through the entire process, organically.
At the moment Tao is directing, shooting and editing a short film for the international surf company, Starboard. This is a dream job for him, since he’s a surfer too. Rumour has it he is also working on a thought-provoking concept for a local band’s new single, but he’s very secretive about this project.
“As long as film is available, I will never stop shooting on it”.