Disposables: Roll No. 001

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January 2019 flew by fast. I decided to take things easy and explore a little bit. You might’ve seen on either my Instagram or my previous posts that I’ve been shooting with a disposable reloaded with film. I fell in love with this for two reasons: 1) it strips me of any control except for how the shot is perceived and 2) it was incredibly cheap (actually Downtown Camera hooked me up with a free camera from Lomography) and small that I can toss it in my jacket pocket and without any fuss. My current camera for editorial or client work is a mirrorless Sony a7ii. In comparison to that, this disposable is very much like a flip phone to a smartphone. With no manual controls or screen, the disposable forces you focus solely on composing and capturing.

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January was quite eventful. Due to the cold, I decided to take a break from creative shoots, editorials and client work to spend time for myself and to meet friends I hadn’t seen in a while. And each time I’d take my disposable with me and capture candids and scenery. I’ve finally received the majority of my scans back and I’m now getting around to sharing some of my favourite shots from January. I’ve decided to do a blog post for each roll. Here’s some favs from Roll 001.

All photos were shot using a Lomography Simple Use Camera using Kodak Tri-X 400 Black & White Film.

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Keira.

Last summer I had the opportunity to be one of 5 photographers in the 2nd Mint Room challenge. Simply put, this was an event where 5 photographers worked with 1 model in various challenges. It was interesting in that you got to see how other photographers worked and thought differently about a particular shot, even though we were all working with the same model in the same space with the same constraints. One of the challenges was that we were only were able to take 5 photographs. No redos. Once a photograph was taken, it was treated like it was on film. This forced us to think carefully about each shot and how we composed the scene and lit our model. It was here that I met Keira, a talented model who is fond of donuts and has a knack for car karaoke and scalloped shorts. She had a magnetic personality and we quickly became good friends. This January she came to visit so I could fix her cracked phone. We were waiting on a part to arrive from Amazon Prime and I had the idea of cooking up something to eat in the meantime.

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I wanted to cook up something quick and had one of my favourite dishes in mind: Pasta Aglio e Olio. This dish is greater than the sum of it’s parts and only requires 6 ingredients (most of which can already be found in a kitchen).

Aglio e Olio

Olive Oil
Garlic
Red Chilli Flakes
Lemon
Parsley
Pasta

We had everything except for two ingredients so we ventured to a nearby No Frills. There we got parsley and found lemon on sale for 5 cents off among other things.

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After making our way back to my apartment, I fired up the stove and cooked this dish. I’m often asked what my favourite thing to cook is and I’ll usually respond with this pasta. Sure there are many other fantastic dishes but what I love most about this dish is how something unbelievably and absolutely delectable can come from something so simple (more on this in the next section). The key is to balance the flavours out allowing each thing to not be overpowered by the other but to compliment each other. If you’re looking for something quick, make this dish instead of reaching for Mr. Noodles (save the instant ramen for when a zombie apocalypse hits).

Keira and I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out while waiting for the damn phone screen to arrive. Unsurprisingly, the phone screen arrived minutes after Keira had left. But I was glad we got to keep each other company for a little while.

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Twayne.

I never thought I’d ever be at a country music festival. But last summer I was hired to be on the media coverage team for Boots and Hearts. That’s where I met Twayne, an avid street photographer and talented videographer. Early January, Twayne had asked me if I would be interested in being a part of a new project he was working on. He was looking to explore the photojournalistic side of things and wanted to create a series of interviews with Toronto based creatives. I was down! He came over the day after Keira had visited me and we decided to start with a solid breakfast and then we sat down and he interviewed me for his project.

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Twayne asked me some pretty interesting questions like who I was, how I got started and what I thought my signature look was with my work. I won’t spoil anything here. Check out his video to find out what my responses were and stay tuned to his instagram @twayner_ for more from his series (Twayne, if you’re reading this, I’m dying to find out who you interviewed next!). After that we decided to head downtown and take photos. I still had plenty of shots left on my camera and I wanted to get some street shots in.

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The disposable was a joy to use in the city. This camera is so simple that it didn’t feel like I had one there. It was a tool that pretty much slipped back, got out of the way and allowed me to really be immersed in the scene that I was in. I knew what limitations I had to work with (aperture around f8, shutter at 1/125th a second, film iso at 400), but I didn’t have to fuss around with exposure or focus. My only concern was framing the shot and whether to use flash or not. It got me thinking about simplicity.

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The day before, I managed to create a dish from very simple ingredients. It wasn’t about each individual component, but more so how they came together and each flavour helped build something that was greater than the sum of its parts. I suddenly realized why I loved using this camera so much. Alone, the pre-determined settings on the somewhat toy-ish camera and the urban scenery weren’t terribly spectacular. There are better cameras and better areas in the city to shoot than King Street West. But it wasn’t about what lens you were using or finding the most beautiful place in the city. It was about my vision and how I captured that particular scene. This was something I knew previously but it was refreshing to go back to the basics and really understand what that meant.

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Twayne and I continued to venture around downtown. We got talking about ideas and possible projects in mind. We both we interested in doing something along the lines of videography and creating a short story, but that will have to be for another time. Looking back at these shots, I’m astounded to see what happens when I let go of control and bring it down to the basics of photography. After all, photography is about what you saw and what you felt.

That’s the end of my favourite shots from Roll 001. I’m a little behind on these blog posts as I’m experimenting with the layout and how these images are presented to tell a story. But I’m hoping it won’t be another month until I do the next post (I’ve already collected quite a few rolls… yikes). Thanks for reading and I hope you love the images as much as I do!

Much love,
-zeik