‘35mm Film Is A Wonderful Constraint’: Meet Photographer Joe Raffman


Written by Fin Murphy
02 Tuesday 02nd August 2016

We discuss bad weather and snapping characters with the Brighton shooter, alongside a few of his intimate portraits...

Hey Joe. How’re you finding 2016 so far?

Good. Well, the weather has been largely horrendous which has put a damper on the number of interesting people out to play, but other than than that - good.

Over time, how do you think your photography style - if at all - has changed?

I'd say it's changed quite a lot. At first I was inspired by Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson - so classic, candid street photography, reportage style. After a while, I realised what I really love, and what I'm best at - is street portraits, which I now shoot exclusively.

Do you ever feel constrained by your style, format etc? How do you challenge yourself?

Yes, very, but in a good way. I shoot portraits exclusively on 35mm film, which I feel is a wonderful constraint. Forces you to make every shot count, and try as hard as you can to make each shot as perfect as possible. I also have a self imposed constraint of 1 shot per person, which I suppose is how I challenge myself.

Street photography is a pretty busy field currently, what do you think you bring to the table with it?

The fact that I specialise in close up street portraits, and strive to create a classic, timeless look with my shots - eschewing digital cameras altogether.

Is there a particular place you like to shoot, or where you think you’ll get good shots?

Brighton. I've found it to be a surprisingly good place for street portraits, especially in the summer. There's almost always an interesting and varied array of people, and the fact that it's small helps - it's condensed and you can cover ground extremely fast.

What projects have you got lined up in the foreseeable? Anyone you’d like to shout out?

Well, the book I'm working on is going to be called Faces, and it's simply going to be 100 faces that I like. I'm also working on a game shot on B&W film, called Crow. I'll give a shout out to Robert Frank for compelling me to pick up a camera in the first place. Thanks for getting in touch.

Thanks Joe. Click over here for many more of Raffman's shots

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