1. Can you please introduce yourself, tell us where you’re from, and how long you’ve shot on film?I’m that schmuck who rarely leaves home without a camera. That guy who makes others uneasy with the way I look at them. More often than not I’m thinking how best to frame the person in front of me while politely nodding as they go on and on about this and that. I am rather antisocial. Actually, I dislike people. Specifically idiots. It’s a losing battle, I know. I’ve been shooting film since I was a kid in the 70’s. It’s my way of “interacting” with others. In this part of Canada-the French speaking part- photographers are often referred to as “Kid Kodak” by local Yahoos. You really want to piss me off? Call me “Kid Kodak”. And then see if my lens doesn’t find its way to your teeth. Repeatedly. I always use a UV filter. Now you know why. I walk around with a modified strap where I hold my heavy old SLR’s swinging off my right wrist. The old Pentax leather straps are best for this. They don’t break on impact.
2. Why do you like to shoot on film?
I like the idea of completing a photo in multiple stages. I shoot manual, so there’s the whole composition, apperture, speed, iso deal. Then either followed by driving down a couple of hours to my favorite lab in Montreal (@studioargentique) for my colour rolls. Or spending an afternoon in my basement developing and printing B&W. The non-immediacy of analogue photography is meditative. I need that down-shifting. See above to know why.
3. What’s your favorite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
Mechanical cameras get top billing in this house. Zombie appocalypse? No worries, I have a bunch of gear that shoots without batteries. This brings me to the important matter of learning to shoot without the “bennefit” of a light meter. Like any skill, shooting this way can be learned and perfected. Why do this? Borrow my Leica II (as if) and you will know the pleasures of perfect mechanical engineering. Every cog, spring and nameless thigy on it is a crown jewel. BUT, it does not have a light meter. So what, you’re never gonna shoot it because of that? Pfffff! I am not a Leica snob. I am not a camera snob. I have no Shelf-Queens. I shoot all my cameras regularly, from the high-end Appolo Nikon F to the Pentax K1000 and everything in between with as much pleasure as if they were my only sooter. Shit, I load coffee cans with photo sensitive paper, and pinhole the fucker. Voila instant camera. And afterwards, makes a great bong too. That said my faves are: Pentax H line. Nikon F and F3. Canon F1n makes me wet. The Zenit 3M with its Industar is a wonky bit of schizzo fun. Bassically I like a 35mm cameras from 1932 to 1979. And M42 lenses make my pipi happy.
4. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
It’s a shot called “Upskirt”. I was downtown Montreal on Christmas eve once. Normally this is a snowy and obvioulsy disgusting time of year. Suicide rates go up. Anyway, this particular Christmas eve was 18 degrees celsius! 18!!! Wandering around back alleys as I do, I found an open gate. Curiosity (always) gets the best of me and in I go. It was dingy, smelly, dark and water was everywhere. There was a rusted out old ladder that led up to a series of rooftops. After climbing it I came upon this scene. With me I had a Fed 2 loaded with Ektar 100. Remember my thing about shooting without a light meter? This is an example of that. Fuck your light meter!
5. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
Every time I fire that goddam shutter there better be a good reason. In front of my lens can be either beauty, symmetry, conflict, ugliness, repulsion, appeal, fear or stregth. Whatever, but SOMETHING. You know? Otherwise, the fuck’s the point?
You can follow Eric on instagram @eric.bergeron