2016 January 20 or 1.20 marked 120 LOVE DAY's first Open Photo Competition. The rule was simple: shoot a roll of 120 film, submit the contact sheet and one image from that one roll. The person that took second place in the competition was Erik Gould from Rhode Island, USA.
Who loves 6x9? Erik does. That's why he has a massive FUJI and that 6x9 hoodie.
Q1. In seven sentences or less, who are you?
I live in Rhode Island USA with my wife and my young daughter. I have a day job, I’m the museum photographer for Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, where I have worked for about 17 years. Even before I worked at the museum I have tried to keep myself around art and artists. I continue to do work for artists and nonprofit groups and I’ve been involved with a number of galleries over the years. I have a special fondness for a great organization for youth in Providence: New Urban Arts. As a photographer I consider myself a reformed large format guy, but now that I’m freed from professional constraints I shoot lots of formats. I show when I can.
Q2. What medium-format cameras do you own? What did you use to shoot your winning photo?
I own many cameras, probably too many to list them all here. My main medium format cameras are a pair of Fuji 6x9s, one GSW690III and one GW690III. I also have a modified Graflex XLSW with a 47mm Super Angulon and a Horseman 6x9 back. I have a number of roll film backs that I use on large format cameras. The winning photo was shot with one of these, a Graflex 6x9 roll film holder on a Graflex RB Series C. The Series C is a 3x4 format camera which makes sheet film difficult, so I often use a roll film back on it.
Q3. Can you describe the moment when you took that photo? Where were you? Was it carefully planned or completely random?
This picture came out of an ongoing project. I’ve been exploring a section river in Providence RI that contains a number elements I like, there are layers of human activity, history and wildness. I’ve been coming to the area often, taking pictures, recording sound and making notes. This image wasn’t planned, I like to explore an area and respond intuitively as I go. The Graflex is an SLR and I like to shoot it hand held. The light that afternoon was quite beautiful as it filtered through the vegetation.
Q4. What are some of your photos that you’re proud of?
I don’t know if proud is the right word but I have personal feelings of satisfaction with these images. The first, the panorama, has meaning for me as it represented a transition in how I was working with a place and how I would describe space. I was also pleased that I did it before the area was altered by new development, reminding me once again that it’s best to act when you have an idea, don’t hesitate. It was shot with a 2x3 baby Crown Graphic on 120 Verichrome Pan film. I had forgotten until recently that I had also shot it in color, on 120 transparency film that I cross processed in C-41. A nice advantage of having more than one roll film back on hand.
This picture comes out of a series I made in the Mohawk river valley in New York, close to where I grew up. It came at the end of a week of shooting there, I had been struggling with finding an image that approached the way heavy freight trains so regularly shattered the quiet. It was such a regular punctuation they just became a part of the background. I knew I had to find a way to show that. This picture seemed to capture the feeling that I had there.
Q5. Why do you think medium-format photography is so attractive today?
I think for the reasons it has always been appealing. Medium format sits in a sweet spot for image quality and flexibility in shooting. 120 film is more affordable compared to sheet film with the added benefit that there is so much quality gear on the market at good prices. Today it also offers many aesthetic differences from DSLR and mirrorless digital images. There’s no doubt many of the cameras are just plain beautiful to look at and to use, and that makes it fun.
Q6. What photo services do you offer and what kind of assignments would be most attractive for you?
I am a professional photographer, I am the museum photographer for an art museum. I photograph art and art installations for artists. I also enjoy shooting architecture and historic structures.
Q7. What can we expect from you in the future? In other words, give us a hint about your future photo projects?
I expect more of the same! I’ll be finishing the project along the river and putting that up in some form, book+audio I believe. This year I’m eager to do some more portraits with the Graflex cameras, hopefully you will see some of that going up.
Good stuff, Erik. Thanks again for taking part in 120 LOVE DAY. We expect to see more big things from you and your big camera and big negatives in the future! 6x9!
Erik on the web. www.erikgouldprojects.com