Babette de Jong: A Talent for Fantastic Analog Film Landscape Photography

All images by Babette de Jong. Used with permission.

When Babette de Jong sent us an email to submit to the analog zine, I carefully went through her submission as I have with everyone who entered to be featured. Babette’s strength is in landscape photography. She loves film photography and strives to get it all as perfectly right in camera as she possibly can.

But more importantly, she’s just a good photographer. And her submission is after the jump.

I, Babette de Jong, hereby submit my work and the interview questions as listed on the website. It wasn’t clear to me whether you would also consider non-professional photographers, so if this is not the case I would like to inform you that I am not a professional photographer and have not studied Photography or anything equivalent. I hope that you will consider my work none the less and please feel free to offer any critique or advice. You will find my answers to the interview questions and low-quality copies of some of my work at the bottom of this e-mail.

So, I am a hobby photographer who is mainly interested in landscape photography. I’m not the best out there, but I try to improve every day. Before I didn’t really pay attention to my skills, but now that I’m getting back into photography after my 2-3 year break I set myself challenges to improve skills I already (somewhat) master and to gain new skills by stepping outside of my comfort zone. For example, I’m currently trying 6×6 medium format to practice framing things differently and changing the perspective I take on things. Or I might pop some Lomochrome Purple into one of my cameras to try and see the world totally differently.

I own two digital cameras, a Nikon D7100 and D70s (thinking about converting it to infrared), and many film cameras (Nikon, Praktica, Ricoh, Agfa). Some film cameras are fully automatic, others aren’t. So depending on what I’m in the mood for or depending on what challenge I want to do I’ll pick the appropriate one. I mostly use Fujifilm Superia or Kodak Gold, and for special occasions I’ll use Portra or Lomochrome Purple and I’m currently getting into Fuji Velvia. I’m not really a black and white shooter, although I would like to change that.

Why did you get into photography?

For me, the magic is in seeing the beauty and simply capturing it is as it is. Like most people, I think, I started out just playing with a small camera we had. And one thing lead to another… When my mom found her old Praktica in the attic, the analog bug was set loose!

What photographers are your biggest influence?

My fellow amateur photographers. They really motivate me to do better and to learn from others. Especially anyone who has a simple, almost minimalistic style, and captures the beauty around in the world just as it is

How long have you been shooting?

I think it’s been like 10 years now… with a gap of 2-3 years because I was ill.

Why is photography and shooting so important to you?

I just have to capture the beauty I see and freeze it time forever. Just have to.

Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?

Definitely a documenter. Trying to influence or set-up the scene just ruins it for me, the magic of the moment is gone. It has to be spontaneous. And I also like the challenge of trying to be quick and accurate enough to capture it.

What’s typically going through your mind when you create images?

“Ooh, ooh!” I squeal internally out of excitement for all the beautiful things I see. Then my brain goes “Ok, wait, are there any disturbing objects around? Is the light good enough? Will this work with the lens I have on my camera? Quickly estimate camera settings…” All those kinds of things. I really have to stop my initial reaction because otherwise I would just run around like a headless chicken photographing whatever catches my attention without paying attention to whether it would actually be a good photo. I still have a lot of practice to do on that part though…

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

Processing? I try to get the image right in the camera. Analog images I never process, for some digital images I might alter the contrast or exposure, for example. I think it’s heresy, but sometimes I crop a photo… The few photos that I did process more heavily, I’m actually ashamed of, haha. For me, it feels like cheating.

What makes you want to shoot analog over digital at any given time?

Film in my opinion is far better at capturing reality; the beauty of something as it is. The colours look more realistic (depending on what film you use of course), the dynamic range is more realistic, et cetera. Digital usually sort of looks off to me. Furthermore, film is in my experience far more forgiving than digital, it’s easier to work with. Plus, you really have to stop and think before you take a photo and the end result is determined by how you handle your camera and your accessories. I like that challenge.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.