All images by Cameron McClarty. Used With Permission.
“I came to the conclusion that I would just shoot film instead of trying to force the film.” Cameron McClarty’s route to using film isn’t uncommon. For years, the digital market has tried its best to emulate the analog aesthetic. Some cameras have come close, but not close enough. Thankfully, McClarty found the right path, and he picked up the ball and ran with it. His portraits have a retro vibe that blends well with modern day creativity. In his hand is a powerhouse: an analog camera that sets the standard of what a quality camera should be. Excited by his work and his tool to create, we spoke to McClarty and put him under The Phoblographer’s spotlight.
Phoblographer: Please tell us what inspired you to get into photography.
CM: In college, I was heavily inspired by music videos, and that’s when I decided to pick up a camera! I knew I didn’t want to be the person in front of the camera, I wanted to be the person who captured the essence of the artist behind the scenes. Photography actually allowed me to get my foot into the door to start shooting music videos and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Phoblographer: Was it always about portraiture, or did you experiment with different genres before finding your voice?
CM: Primarily it was always portraiture for me. I’ve always loved the process of working with others to bring an idea to fruition. The style of portraiture has taken a lot of experimenting to find, but I’d like to consider myself a fashion photographer.
“In the next five years, I see myself collaborating with creatives and brands that have always inspired me and meeting new creatives that can help mold and present me with ideas I never thought were possible.”— Cameron McClarty
Phoblographer: What are you like during a shoot? Do you direct your models or do you prefer to just let them be and work from that?
CM: Prior to the shoot I provide a mood board that represents the idea/concept I have in mind. I really let the models do their own thing because I want them to feel what’s true and natural to them. If I have a particular shot in mind I’ll provide some direction but I really like to live in the moment on set and not force poses.
Phoblographer: We’re happy to see that you shoot analog. Why film over digital?
CM: I’ve always been inspired by analog photography, it’s so natural and intimate. That’s always something I tried to capture and emulate when shooting digital but I could never get it right.
“It’s been an honor to get my hands on such an important piece of history. Now I get to create my own with it!”— Cameron McClarty
Phoblographer: We love gear: tell us what camera is in your hand and what’s your go-to film roll.
CM: Right now I’m shooting with a Mamiya RB67 with a 90mm sekor lens and I’m in love! My go to film as of now is Kodak Portra 400 but Lomography 400 is a close runner up!
Phoblographer: What do you like about this combo?
CM: In general I like shooting medium format because it really forces you to slow down and think about your shot. The lighting, composition and exposure all have to be taken into consideration because you only have 10 shots per roll. The way the RB67 captures subjects and the way portra handles colors mixed with the dynamic range is unmatched in my opinion!
Phoblographer: Let’s fantasize; from any era, what would be your dream film camera?
CM: For me, I’d say my dream camera actually is the Mamiya RB67. The ergonomics are really what sparked my interest in the camera itself. I thought the camera design was pretty interesting. Then doing some research and seeing all the iconic cultural photos captured with it really sealed the deal for me. It’s been an honor to get my hands on such an important piece of history. Now I get to create my own with it!
Phoblographer: Do you like to set goals? Where do you see yourself as a photographer/artist in five years?
CM: I definitely have goals set for myself! I’m very forward-thinking and always planning my next move. As an artist, I see myself working with a different variety of brands and clients. I don’t limit myself or put myself in a box. I’m so open-minded and have so many great ideas that I know can take me as far as I want to go. In the next five years, I see myself collaborating with creatives and brands that have always inspired me and meeting new creatives that can help mold and present me with ideas I never thought were possible.
You can enjoy more of Cameron’s work by visiting his Instagram.