[RECESS] is when we get to hear the stories of the good people behind the pop-up. It's our favourite time and we're happy to share the conversations with you.
Ahead of #AnalogueDog's opening this week on September 17 at our flagship storefront, we sat down with founders Bastien & Virginie from Vanalogue Photobooth to chat about their pop-up darkroom and the first ever pop-up dog photosalon.
#AnalogoueDog is a two day pop-up featuring a pop-up darkroom and dog photo salon, along with a retail storefront with local pet products. We first wrote about the original two-day pop-up here. Check out #AnalogueDog's Brand page to connect with them.
@thisopenspace: Hey guys, what inspired you to start Vanalogue Photobooth?
Bastien: We both have a background in Academia having taught full time at US universities for five years (Chicago, IL and Dayton, OH) before moving to Vancouver in 2011, so our darkroom pop-up tent and adapted Calotype process first came out as mini-workshops intended to reignite passion for the rich craft and history of analogue & film photography. Presenting big paper negatives to younger generations and teaching them the basics of darkroom work and contact-printing in a fun and accessible format was the initial intent. Although the focus has shifted towards the event industry today, we still run a few educational sessions of Vanalogue Photobooth every year, the last one was at the West Point Grey Academy last April.
There's been such a rush to digitize everything (in the world of photography), do you think people now value and appreciate old-school techniques such as yours?
Virginie: Absolutely! Analogue/film photography is actually making quite a comeback with companies like Lomography opening more stores in more countries, and previously closed photographic factories from Polaroid or Agfa reopening or transferring manufacturing equipment to new smaller plants and brands like Impossible Project or Adox. Eastern Europe (Germany, Croatia, Hungary) especially is seeing a resurgence of smaller manufacturers bringing new high quality films, papers and photochemistry to the world market. Black-and-white materials constitute the bulk of it, but analogue color too is there. So why this - albeit modest and slowly happening - rebirth of analogue photography? The continuous quality of information captured on film, especially on medium and large formats, delivers a unique aesthetic that often better serves and satisfies the higher end section of the market. On the lower end, amateurs just dig the raw, material and unpredictable nature of film. Then there's the analogue love factor: operating mechanical beasts and hearing loud clunks brings another experience of photography. The long established artistic practices of film photography also remain the true canon of talent, with photo graduates all around the world still proving themselves the old way before applying their hard-learned knowledge to digital endeavors.
How did the idea for Analogue Dog come about?
Virginie: Moving to Vancouver changes you. The lifestyle here is quite unique, the connection to nature is permanent, rain or shine (or snow). Vancouverites are amongst the most formidable animal lovers on this planet, and it shows in their relationship to pets. Dogs and cats here are just good natured, like their folks. It's one of the lesser known beauties of Vancouver that we thought should also be pictured, in this case even portrayed. Man and dog, one of the oldest and truest bound to exist, isn't that an incredibly appealing subject of photography in and of itself? It is to us, and we thought our Calotype process in its deep, stark and far-reaching historical look would be the perfect medium to start that dialogue.
What are you hoping to see come out of this pop up?
Bastien: Lots and lots of amazing portraits. Lots and lots of amazing shared moments. Lots and lots of (analogue) love for dogs & humankind. Explosions of likes on your socials when you share. Then to be back next month at thisopenspace and really make this one of their best regular event series.
There's definitely anticipation for the event within the dog-loving community. But what about the felines? Could an Analogue Cat be in the future?
Bastien: We LOVE kitties just as much as dogs (and most other animals, creatures and entities... except microbes). Seriously, yes, Cats have the same rights to analogue goodness than Dogs and we need to do something about that. A different medium might be needed than Calotype, we're currently brainstorming ideas to make it happen. #AnalogueDog too will help tell us how to go about it, so cat owners don't despair, you are on our mind too!