1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
I am a Toronto-based film photography artist born in Belgrade, Serbia. I have always been interested in the arts and the way that they heal individuals and bring joy to people’s lives. I am an avid explorer, information gatherer and I never say no to a good salsa dancing club!
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
I picked up my first 35mm film camera in late 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. I had found my late grandfather’s Kodak Retina and Agfa Paramat at that time and began experimenting as my way to have a creative outlet during these times. The moment I began capturing photos, I knew that I needed to pursue this to see the world through the lens of my grandfather who I never knew. While I feel that I am still in the early stages of my film photography career, I got here through sheer passion, drive and inspiration from others. I have had my work featured in the Scarborough Arts Big Art Book as well as Gallery 1265′s online exhibition. This community is one that I hope to be a part of for a while and I am only just getting started.
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
At the moment, I am obsessed with my Olympus OM-1 because it is a full frame SLR and there is something so satisfying about its shutter button. I also really love my Canon AE-1 (as do a lot of people) because of how intuitive it is and it’s manual features. My current go-to film is the fujifilm superia 400, although I am in the process of hopefully getting some expired film and playing around with other trendy film brands (i.e; Portra, Ektar etc).
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
I enjoy shooting people the most because I love to photograph the way that bodies move through space. I recently did a bodies in light and shadow shoot with my DSLR and wrote a blog post about it which can be found here. I enjoy exploring how light changes in a space when something is moving through it and I love my photographs to evoke feelings that are captured through movement. This pandemic has made it tough to photograph people but I look forward to getting back into it soon.
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I am always inspired by Instagram and the way that other film photographs do their work. I like to dissect other photographs and think about how and where the light is coming in to better take photos in the future. When looking at other people’s work, I also love to consider what is missing in the frame or why they selected certain angles or elements. Learning from my peers is my favourite way to educate myself.
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
All the time. I think especially in this past year I was at a low point. I had been applying to many jobs and was receiving countless rejections. My confidence was low and I was doubting myself almost on a daily basis. Film photography helped in giving me freedom to do what I wanted without judgement. Additionally, leaving my home in Canada and visiting a different country to change pace and space really helped me to regain my confidence and excitement about life.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
I will have to give two answers for this. The first is the moment when your photos finally get developed and you see exactly what you were working on come to fruition. That delayed gratification is so rewarding because no matter what the photos actually turned out like, you feel proud of what you worked on. The second is the networks I have built and the community of wonderful photographers and storytellers that have already taught me so much.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
My favourite photograph to date is one that I chose to be on a product of mine (the Volkswagen beetle labelled “Das Illuminated”). This photograph is my favourite because firstly, the turquoise green colour of the car is my preferred colour of choice anyday, but more than that, the old school beetle came out of nowhere while I was exploring Innisfil, Ontario and I was immediately struck by it as something that needed to be photographed. I specifically chose this angle, which turned out better than anticipated, and I was so thrilled with the exposure of the shot that I had taken because the camera I used was a 1958 Kodak Retina. The vintage feel to the photo, with the focus on the VW symbol and the old but still polished body, makes you really think about when this photograph was taken, additionally playing with the idea of time.
9.What gives you inspiration?
Other photographers and just other human beings in general. Sometimes, I will see the way that someone walks or talks or just acts in a space and immediately I am inspired. Its random spurts of inspiration that other humans bring that keeps me going and motivated. Moving around and seeing new places keeps me inspired as well. I just recently came back from Madrid and over there I was constantly bombarded with inspiration from the culture, the food, the people. It’s good to change things up and just get away sometimes to reconnect with your creative side.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
My photographs are a representation of a time and a moment that I knew I had to capture. Every single photograph is an illumination of that time and hence the brand name Time Illuminated. There is something special and worth looking at in every photo and I want viewers to see the beauty in it all; the photos, the time, their life.
You can follow Tamara on instagram @timeilluminated and visit her website timeilluminated.com