| Vaffanculo Magaizne (VM): What drew you to photography?
Christopher F. Beitz (CFB): What drew me to it the most was being on the microblogging platform Tumblr, seeing [what] other photographers were doing and I thought I could try it too. I just like capturing different things that I see and preserving them within a photograph; it never gets old for me!
VM: Whose work has influenced you?
CFB: I seem to gravitate toward a lot of different genres of photography because each to have something unique and interesting to them. More recently the work of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston have influenced me a lot, especially now [that] I started printing often in the darkroom using traditional techniques as opposed to editing [images] digitally. [Also] Jerry Ulesmann's work with surrealism [and] more modern artists, [for example], Nydia Lillian and Michael Chase, both whom produce stunning work showcasing aspects of design and texture.
VM: While most photographers tend to use digital, what draws you to shoot in film?
CFB: I shoot film for many reasons, but the most important one, is that [there is] something about it that you can't get [with] digital. Making prints by hand in the darkroom is [a] whole different [process] than with a computer. It's oftentimes more difficult because you can only shoot so many on a single roll, so you have to concentrate more on composition, lighting, everything, because the negative is the only source of the image you can make; with digital you can manipulate all sorts of things, some of which you can't do with film, and to the point where you can make a bad capture look good.
VM: Working with film must really be a worthwhile challenge, similarly to experimenting with double exposure?
CFB: I started out doing double exposures in photoshop but [I got] bored with it; it's too easy to mix different photos together and change things. Instead of editing two photos together, I create the actual picture in-camera. It's more thought-out, more fun to work it out and the payoff feels even better. For me, if making the photo is difficult, challenging, and it comes out perfect, then it means more to me than a digital photo that's been edited.
| VM: Interesting that you mentioned Ulesmann, Chase, and Lillian's work earlier because part of your photography reflects that dream-like to surreal and abstract, textured imagery. Are there other places where you draw your inspiration from?
CFB: [Behance also has] a great community of artists of all kinds and it's almost hard not to be inspired. I usually go to these places, not for conceptual ideas, but for seeing what makes for something visually interesting and pleasing to the eye, which is what I am working on to perfect at the moment. It takes a certain amount of time to understand things like color and composition, so that's what I'm really concerned with for now.
VM: From what you have seen, what qualities make an image visually appealing and interesting?
CFB: I find a lot of different kinds of photos visually interesting. Some [based] on subject matters, other ones in terms of how it was shot, color, composition, etc. I think the most important qualities that make an image visually interesting are the ones that strike you first, [the ones you] can still recall. Most of these kinds of photos are landscape or street photography. A good taken landscape is almost always appealing to everyone because it portrays a beautiful area of the world and makes us want to know more of where it is; maybe even to set out on a trip to the place. Street photography is great to look at, it gives you a glimpse into society and the time, often making you wonder what the person has gone through, does everyday; that sort of thing.
VM: What themes/ideas/concepts interest you?
CFB: Currently I've been thrilled with the idea of creating small series of images that work together to tell a story; one photo alone can be wonderful but put a few together and you just think about it more. I won't say what I'm working on right now, though, because I like to keep it a surprise! I do sketch new ideas out on a daily basis and have 3 sketchbooks filled with drawings for new projects. A lot of them are complicated so I want to be as good as I can at photography first before I get to them. Just wait a few more years; I will have plenty new projects!
VM: Talking about series, what drew you start the television abstract series?
CFB: I was just watching television one day and thought it would be neat to shoot the screen. I seem to always have a knack for shooting randomly. [A] while ago my friend [and I] were getting ready to head to his house for dinner and I decided to bring a few lights, a fog machine and my camera to take a photo at his house, coming up with the idea as I went. A lot of my work is like that sometimes. It's nice not to have a plan every now and then; sometimes good photos come from just shooting without any preconceived ideas!