All images by Dan Zvereff. Used with permission
We first read about Dan Zvereff on Japan Camera Hunter, we were captivated by his images and his use of Kodak Aerochrome. The famous infrared film was designed for military applications and what it did was turn all greens into a shade of purple. But that’s just the short explanation, and we’ve got a more detailed and in depth analysis here.
Aerochrome was at the heart of Dan’s project called Introspective, where he travelled around the world for three months on a quest of self-discovery. Along the way he shot various landscapes and scenes in the Arctic, Europe, and Africa.
We talked to Dan a bit about the project and his incredible images.
Phoblographer: What attracted you to using the Kodak Aerochrome film to begin with?
Dan: I was at the lab with a friend who had taken some photos of tea fields in Darjeeling, India using 35mm Aerochrome. Only 1 or 2 frames survived unfogged but looking at them on the lightbox was pure magic. I was already familiar with Richard Mosse’s outstanding documentation of the Congo so the combination of the two sort of sealed the deal. I contacted Dean Bennici shortly thereafter and discovered that he only had 100 rolls left. The fact a film that was so visually stunning that has a unique look because of the way it reacts to the chlorophyl in plants was on its last leg even furthered my conviction for using it in a project.
Phoblographer: The images we see look incredibly surreal and moody due to the way that Aerochrome renders greens and other colors. But we’re sure in the scenes that you saw were actually indeed full of life, correct?
Dan: Absolutely. I think we have this image in our minds of the Arctic as a no mans land full of Ice and rocks, but in truth the arctic is very biodiverse.
Phoblographer: So the project is called “Introspective”, why?
Dan: I spent a lot of the time on the journey alone in these beautiful and isolated parts of the world. At times I had no way to contact the outside world. I would go on these long walks alone and rarely see another human. It even seemed wrong to use my headphones for music. In New York I do it all the time to drown out all the noise of the city, but up there the quiet was so enjoyable. It seemed wrong do anything but be completely encompassed by it. In those circumstances I spent a lot of time having these internal conversations with myself and in general I found a lot of time to reflect on my life while being in awe of the natural world. I think it is important for all of us who spend so much of our lives in big cities to break out every once in a while and appreciate the parts of our planet that are not covered in cement and also understand why it is so important to preserve them.
Phoblographer: What specifically made you choose the locations that you did?
Dan: The idea to shoot the Arctic stemmed from my fascination with Greenland as a child. The countries I chose were based on the ones that were laying claim(or trying to) to portions of the Arctic. There is a good book by Charles Emmerson called The Future History of the Arctic which spells it out country by country and what their involvement and impact is in the Arctic.
Phoblographer: When you approached a scene, did your mind immediately start processing how it would look with the film? What technical decisions would you then need to make?
Dan: I had never shot the film before prior to arriving in Greenland, but I had a good idea of what would effect the film as I did extensive research. When approaching a scene I would definitely try to reimagine it in infrared. From a technical aspect the film is not very forgiving when it comes to exposure, one important thing is to bracket while shooting since the camera is metering based on visible light.
Phoblographer: What cameras and tools did you bring with you on the trip?
Dan: I brought a backpack and what I could fit inside: Clothes, lots of long underwear, a Rolleiflex 2.8f, and a Leica Monochrom.
Phoblographer: What did the trip teach you about yourself as a photographer?
Dan: It taught me that there is so much out there to learn. I am continually humbled and inspired by the work of others. Also, there is so much to discover not only about photography, but the world itself.
Please Support The Phoblographer
We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.