Erik Dudinský: Black and White Documentary Photos of Student Dorm Life in Bratislava

All images and text by Erik Dudinský. Used with permission.

I am Erik, photographer from Slovakia, I study at university and shoot a lot on film, because I can. I don't do it because I think more when I have film, I do it because this world is too fast and this is my way to slow down and relax.

I shoot on T-max a lot, mainly because of its flexibility. When you don't know if there will be darkness for 1600 ISO or light for 200 ISO, you'll take t-max, and it doesn't matter. Also I love contrast and grain from it. Project Atrium houses is about dormitories for university students in Bratislava, Slovakia. They are known for their level of "comfort". But this document is more about people, students, living there and having fun, parties and stuff that students do.

It's shot on Kodak T-max with two cameras, my Pentax MX and Hasselblad 501 CM, with the same Yashica pro 50DX flash.

BW photography is a way for me to express my feelings without the subjective effects of colours. Colours have different meanings in different cultures, but in black and white pictures you have raw emotions, raw scene without effects from colours. I am inspired by my feelings, most of the time. Everything is colorful more and more, you need rest from that much colour. It emphasises composition and expression.

In my pictures where I want emotions, expressions are the main thing. I shoot black and white because black and white documenting is still more artistic and it's still more in demand by other photographers. Black and white documents are "better" than colour because old masters of photography did it. The first good colour document was from Martin Parr and I still know people that says it's bad because it's in colour. And also I don't see colours really well, so my colour pictures must be checked by someone who see it and after that, they get published.

I need to express myself, I need to show people how I see the world. I want to shoot things that do matter, I want to shoot things that people see and try to understand them. I don't only want a visual experience for them, but some inner movement, something that could help them to understand things from another perspective, like Koudelka did with gypsies.

You don't need things in black and white, it's just my point of view. "It would look better in bw." I've heard it few times, but that's only the point of view of somebody who didn't create that picture. Black and white is good, but it's old. It will stay here, because there will be still somebody like me, who is bad with colour and it will be easier to shoot bw than colour.

I shoot on T-max because I was sponsored by a shop in my home town and they've got lots of these. Expired but still good. Sometimes I did something for them and they'll give more of T-max, so I was shooting with them because they were basically for free. I got used to it, so after they stopped I didn't and bought some more.

Chris Gampat

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