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We recently got a chance to connect with local photographer Bradley Balsters to talk about what it’s like being a young creator here in Springfield and the direction of his work – not much preface is needed more than that so keep scrolling for the interview!
[sgf] We appreciate you taking the time to chat with us about your work, Bradley. Are you originally from Springfield or are you a transplant?
[bb] I’ve lived here my whole life and I grew up on the southeast side of town.
[sgf] We’re personally big fans of your photography style, is this your preferred medium? Have you had others in the past and if so how did you land on the current one?
[bb] I started out shooting just on my phone, and that’s how I really got into photography. Originally, I only did random landscape-type photos, but after I got my first DSLR I started taking portraits of my friend Joe (@jamercurio), who is a talented designer and stylist, and discovered that portraiture — and specifically fashion-oriented portraiture — was what I really wanted to do. I shoot the majority of my work on a Canon 6D , but I’m also trying to shoot more medium format and 35mm film, and my tools of choice for those formats are a Mamiya RB67 Pro-S and a Canon Elan IIE. The analog format is a direction that I really want to move towards more and more as time goes on.
[sgf] What do you think one of the best things about being a creative here in Springfield is?
[bb] The best thing about the creative community here is that, for the most part, the more experienced people are very welcoming to the younger people like me that want to learn from the best.
[sgf] Well that is certainly encouraging to hear! On the other side of that, what would you say poses more of a challenge?
[bb] I would say the most limiting factor is just that the pool of those talented people is much smaller than it would be in a larger city.
Above are just some of the rad shots that can be found on Bradley’s Instagram
[sgf] We love your newer fashion oriented style but remember years back when you were first posting your photography and it’s been awesome seeing how its evolved! You mentioned your friend @jamercurio
– are there any other local creatives who have helped, either directly or indirectly, inspire you to find this new style or niche?
[bb] Yes! So at the beginning of last summer, I shot behind-the-scenes photos for Joe’s senior fashion film, which was made by Locke & Stache, a great local video production company. I met my good friends Isaiah (@isaiahsatterfield) and Kaylinn (@kaylinnclotfelter) on that set and working with them has upped my game so much. They’re both very good up-and-coming filmmakers and also happen to be great models. Being around all of these talented people has helped me develop as an artist and build up my confidence in my abilities.
[sgf] It’s awesome hearing stories like that about local creators collaborating and establishing real connections that further their passions! It looks like you recently just wrapped up a project with them that has a very particular art direction called LTE – can you tell us more about it?
[bb] LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a fashion film directed by Kaylinn Clotfelter and it features Katie Kirkpatrick (@yyawns) and Kennedy Childers (@diduucry) and original music by Cole Simmons (@coalsimmons he’s also one of the best photographers in the 417). Isaiah and Andrew Trice (@drewtrice) also helped create it. The video is basically an abstract narrative about an alien girl and it showcases Katie and Kennedy’s vintage clothing projects/businesses (@niteliteproject and @dogwoodcuratedvintage respectively). Katie and Kennedy both styled themselves and created some very unique looks that make the project pop. My role on the project was to shoot behind-the-scenes and editorial-style photos solely on film — I didn’t even bring my digital camera on set. Kaylinn has a great eye for what she does and I love working with her.
[sgf] You mentioned working more in film, how has that affected your overall inspiration and work flow? It’s very much a route photographers have been going back to nowadays, perhaps a nod to a purist nature of the old days of photography, what’s your take on it?
[bb] The analog process really slows down the photo-taking process and forces you to think about what you’re doing and concentrate on getting the shot right the first time. Shooting on film really is a pure process — it’s a chemical reaction rather than 1’s and 0’s, and that’s hard to come by these days. Even in my digital work I try to maintain that spirit by not doing anything too crazy with the editing process and using soft, natural colors. I think that shooting film just makes you an overall better photographer, even if you just do it for fun. It’s oddly freeing to be able to take pictures without having a screen to look at.
[sgf] Speaking of workflow and equipment, what’s an essential tool in your kit you can’t go without?
[bb] My Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens hardly ever leaves my camera. It’s hard to see myself ever using another lens because the focal length allows me to easily take full-body photos as well as close-up portraits without the distortion of a wide-angle. Sigma is a great brand for anyone looking for a professional-quality lens at a lower price point.
[sgf] It sounds like you’ve kept yourself busy! What are you currently working on?
[bb] Right now, I’m just focusing on getting a good start to my last semester of college and I also work about 30 hours a week, so photoshoots have come to a slight halt, but I’m hoping to start doing some more in a few weeks. 2019 should be a great year for me; I’m excited to finish up my degree and have more time/availability to do what I love.
We want to again thank Bradley for chatting with us about his passions and work! We urge anyone interested in photography to give him a follow on Instagram and check out his online portfolio!
Is there a 417 area local you want us to sit down with? Let us know by shooting us a DM on Instagram or sending us an email!
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