Ilford #MyFilmStory: Capturing the Spirit of Mountains on Large Format

Tedious and unwieldy as it may it seem, Anton Ivanov prefers to capture perilous peaks using his large format camera and Ilford black and white film.

How far are you willing to take your black and white photography? In the latest episode of Ilford‘s #MyFilmStory series, we meet Saint Petersburg-based Anton Ivanov, who combines his love for the mountains and passion for film photography. Taking on some of the world’s tallest peaks and documenting his adventures with a large format camera and Ilford black and white film allows him to capture the spirit of the mountains and the emotions that come with it.

“For me, the world of climbing and film photography is something similar,” Anton said on merging two of his passions. “It’s another world, it’s a material world when I can touch and I can feel reality.” Aside from the 35mm cameras that symbolize how his black and white film photography journey began, he also has a large format camera as his constant travel companion. Somewhat reminiscent of Ansel Adam’s expeditions with his large format camera, Anton’s story is one of love for photography as an art form and the world’s tallest mountains as his playground.

Anton’s day job is also a reflection of his enduring passion for film photography. He works for Art of Foto, a gallery and one-stop shop for large format photography studio, darkroom, and framing. When he’s not in the gallery, he’s traveling with a folding 5×7″ large format camera, a Walker Titan XL, which finds to be a comfortable camera to take on difficult trips.

However, that doesn’t mean his large format camera is a breeze to carry and set up, especially when he’s traversing challenging mountain terrains. “The idea seemed rather insane because many people climb so high, peaks, without any camera, even small digital cameras or smartphones because the conditions are very difficult,” he explained. In his assault backpack, he carries 10 kilograms of photo equipment that include the large format camera, four film holders, light meter, tripod, filters, loupe, and dark cloth.

Despite the difficulty of lugging around his equipment, he has an extra source of motivation for making it to the summit: making those beautiful landscape shots. If not for it, he said he could hardly find an answer to why he climbs these mountains. His goal is also not just to make exact reproductions of the beauty of the mountains but to show their spirit, the fears and experiences he shares with his fellow climbers, and the force of nature itself. “For me, it’s only one way to transfer my feeling from the mountains to the visitors of the gallery.”

Check out the ILFORD Photo YouTube channel for more episodes of #MyFilmStory and their other short film series.

Screenshot image from the video