Yesterday we talked about The Secret Order of the Slice project of American photographer Chris Gampat. Today I invite you to discover his new project entitled La Noir Image, a magazine dedicated to the best of black and white photography. This new magazine explores and documents the monochrome lifestyle, offering to discover the work of talented photographers, but also interviews, tutorials and videos. The La Noir Image magazine will be released as a dedicated iPad and Android app, providing a rich interactive experience. This nice project is currently being funded on Kickstarter, and I also had the chance to interview Chris Gampat, professional photographer, editor in chief and creator of La Noir Image magazine:
– How did you start with photography?
Honestly, I first got into photography as an enthusiast back in high school. Do you remember years ago how Motorola has those flip phones with like a 2MP camera? That’s how I honestly started. My mom was very much against learning any sort of technology so we had an old film Olympus camera around but it always malfunctioned. But my camera phone was on me all the time and I found that it had exposure compensation and some cool filters like polarization so I just shot with it and stayed content. Back then, everyone laughed at what a phone could do.
– What is your favorite equipment?
I tell everyone these days that I shoot mostly film. For personal work, that’s true. For commercial work I typically go digital. These days my favorite setup is a Mamiya RB67 with a 120mm lens. I often switch between Ilford Delta 400 and Kodak Portra 400 for my film. But to be honest, I’m getting kind of sick of Portra. I can’t wait until I can actually buy the CineStill 120 film. Their stuff is made of magic.
– What photographers inspired you the most?
This is a really tough question. I used to work at Magnum, so many of those folks are a given. Honestly though I’d like to think that I’ve mostly carved my own path out. I used to read American Photo, PDN, Resource magazine and a few others and get inspired by a lot of the photographers that they featured. But when it comes to my own portraits and product images that I often feature, I’m pretty much a guy that has carved out his own path, oddly enough as it is for me to say that.
– We talked about your The Secret Order of the Slice project, how was born the idea?
It came about when I was hanging out with my friends at my apartment. We were watching Adventure Time really late at night and we decided to order pizza. We were getting very hungry so when it finally came, we opened the box and a friend of mine started vocalizing those angelic sounds that you hear all the time on television shows. So I thought to myself, why not put a flash in there and give off something like the light of god coming from the box? I went about refining the idea for over a year before shooting a single photo.
– Where does this fascination for black and white photography come from?
My love of black and white has happened more and more over the years as I’ve learned that it isn’t really a crutch as many photographers think. Instead, sometimes colors are just drab and you may as well just get rid of it all to begin with. Additionally, I’m legally blind now and so seeing things in shapes the way that black and white photography renders just makes sense.
– As a photographer, do you often work personally with black and white?
Yup! All my digital cameras have a special finely tuned black and white film-like rendering. But on top of that I work with Ilford Delta 400, Ilford XP2, and Kodak Tri-x. I tried to get into Agfa APX 400, but I really couldn’t do it. Maybe I’ll give it another shot sooner or later. I think that black and white helps a photographer really show a person where to focus in an image when used correctly with effective lighting and composition.
– You are launching La Noir Image, what is your approach for curating the featured photographers?
A lot of folks apply via the fact that I run The Phoblographer, so they knew about the publication and how I want to grow it. Additionally, I look around the web and I work with curators at galleries, social media platforms, and social networks for photographers. Plus I get email pitches all the time from other artistic organizations. I find loads of photographers by socializing with the people in various Facebook groups too.
– In the future, are you thinking of extending the La Noir Image concept to books or exhibitions?
If all goes well, we should be doing an exhibition later this year. Books I haven’t thought about but a special annual print edition is something I’ve thought about and been approach about. But most of all, I really want people to curl up with their iPad, iPhone or Android device and really let us inspire and excite them about Photography. I think that we need to start using specific nomenclature with “Photography” and “photography” where the former is all about art and not about self-serving stuff that people post to Instagram and Snapchat to show all their friends how cool they are. It’s a problem with the industry and the moment and we need to look at it all in a different way. The prototype magazine has some of the interviews and looks, the website has more of the types of content that I want to put out, and the final version will be an interactive app that can do things that a standard PDF can’t do.
– Why the name La Noir Image?
Well, it’s going to be an English magazine and many English speakers don’t speak French. So when you go about trying to tell people about your magazine, you have to think about the easiest thing to spell while being effective. La Noir Image is the best rendering of the phrase when it comes to quicker spread.