Your work is entirely in black and white film. Why choose film over digital?
Black and white film is something that I will always find more romantic than digital. The physicality of the experience; the loading and winding and seeing the negative, creates a bond that is far superior to digital. And the waiting period where you don’t know exactly what the photo will look like creates a sense of longing, which for me forms a deeper involvement with photography.
Shooting film over digital wasn’t a decision nearly as much as it was natural development in a relationship with the medium.
I do sometimes throw a roll of color in my cameras and try to forget about just to build a slowly accumulating color portfolio. I do have one personal project that I recently decided to shoot in color.
Tell us about your post-production process.
I’m in no rush to see my film, I like the way images manifest in my imagination and I like the anticipation of comparing my mind’s picture to the final image. After my film is developed I do a light archive of the images by scanning them. When it comes time for editing, and to sit down with a body of work, I like to make small prints that I can move around easily. There is something to be said about the physicality of moving around prints to help narrate whatever story you want to tell.
You’re a born and bred New Yorker. How has that affected your photography and shooting style, if at all?
I would definitely say that growing up here has influenced my approach as a photographer. Living here you’re constantly surrounded by hundreds of people as soon as you leave your house. Naturally I figured out how to swim in a sea of people incidentally affecting the way I weave in and out of crowds. My initial approach was rooted more in a street based and classic decisive moment aesthetic. I hunted down my subjects and scenes in a way that made timing the focus of my photographs. In that respect, shooting street the way I did was second nature. It was very exhilarating in the beginning, running around and searching for action but after some time that became tiresome. Because it was all about being quick witted, the idea of the hunt soon became something that I lost interest in. I wanted the content and subjects of my photographs to shine through more, rather than just be all about timing. Most of the work that you see in Acoustic Movements is shot in the street but I find them to be more intimate in the sense that some of them capture the vulnerability of individuals. I like to think of my work as more abstract reportage.
There’s a lot of contrast in your images, and they’re gritty and raw. How did you develop your style?
Stylistically I am influenced by the 1970’s Japanese contemporaries. Photographers such as Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe. I am also inspired by the works of Anders Petersen, William Klein, Josef Koudelka and many more. I feel that also stlyistically the high-contrast in the images help reveal what I consider the true essence the content of the images.
Explain your exploration and use of long exposures.
Through working with long exposures, I want to give a compressed emotional record of the subject’s existence within an event. I am photographing the transgression of people in a space, as well as the processional movements that we cannot see within an instant photograph. By capturing the culmination of movement in confined spaces: faces devolving, gestures constantly shifting, bodies dematerializing and the subjects’ essence transforming; my work alludes to the idea of phantasmagoria, a shifting series of illusions, or deceptive appearances, as in a dream or as created by the imagination.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a body of work called “Abductions.” This is a new series that I am in the process of completing. For me this body is more of an abstract diary written in black & white.
Devin Yalkin is a American photographer, is a black & white reportage photographer who received his BFA in Photography at the School of Visual Arts, NY. As a first generation Turkish-Armenian-American, Yalkin’s images display the parallels he has captured shooting between New York City and various cities of his heritage in Turkey, primarily in Istanbul.
This is such a nice collection of images….even before I read it the Moriyama influence was evident to me….not that that is a negative. Not at all….I can still see the photographers voice shining through.