Our interview with Kontrast Kollektiv, a group of incredible photographers based in Berlin who came together to share and celebrate film. They have a skill for cinematic style photography, freezing evocative moments and people in time.
"IT'S SO FULFILLING TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE OPEN A NEW CHAPTER IN THEIR LIFE BECAUSE OF YOUR PASSION"
Can you tell us a little about Kontrast Kollektiv Berlin? Who are you and what do you do?
"Kontrast has a deep meaning for us. It begins with the difference in each of our members' photography. What makes life interesting when there is no contrast and difference between each individual?
Furthermore, it is the creative space for the three of us to unfold our minds and passions. It's like a baby we all care about, with the aim to grow and get it where it's supposed to be. Where that is, is unsure yet. In general, we hope that this baby will create good memories, friends and individual development."
How did Kontrast Kollektiv start? When did your passion for film begin and how did you all come together as a collective?
"Each of us had a huge interest in photography already. Mostly, we executed this hobby alone. But as we came together in Berlin in 2020, we simultaneously discovered the process of analogue photography. Our hobby became our biggest passion, which strengthened our friendship even more. Since we spent so much time together evolving our film photography, merging together as a collective was the only logical conclusion."
I can see that you guys are based in Berlin, what is the film community like there?
"In our perception, film photography is experiencing a hell of a trend in Berlin - and it's only the beginning! We are happy to see the community's steady growth. Since the "Berliner" is very open minded, it's also easy to connect within the community. Going out on the street to shoot some film will always get you into interesting conversations with other film lovers!
One day we went to photograph portraits of strangers, one of us approached a guy to get a picture and when he was finished, the other guy took out his film camera and said: "Now it's my turn!". That was a lovely moment. We also have to point out that the supply and services for the film community are very accessible in Berlin. Shops like @fotoimpex, @safelightberlin and @click_und_surr treat the film community very well!"
What advice can you give for someone who wants to start shooting film?
"Just start! But be aware that gear is not the most important factor. Especially in the beginning, don't waste a lot of money on an expensive camera. Instead, take a cheap and functional camera and just start! Let the film in your camera and most importantly, yourself, lead you through your picked motives. One little trick to discover old treasures is to ask your family and closer friends if they own old cameras. You wouldn't believe what most of them hide in their attics! In most cases, the gear to start is very near."
Do you believe that film is truly still alive, even in such a digital era?
"We think it's more alive than ever before. In the past, film photography was the only opportunity, so people couldn't appreciate it as one of multiple ways. Today it's an alternative. People who choose film, choose deceleration and a more challenging approach to photography. It's another layer of expression and a statement to the time of sensory overload and inflationary consumption."
What is the craziest/most interesting situation that photography has landed you guys in so far?
"The craziest experience so far happened on our journey in Budapest. We found friends who had absolutely nothing to do with photography. But when we took them to a lost place to take some pictures, we got the biggest appreciation you can experience as a photographer. We infected them so much with our energy we're dedicating to film photography, that two of them started film photography straight away and made incredible progress.
It's so fulfilling to see other people open a new chapter in their life because of your passion, which is also part of our central idea in the collective."
Finally, what are your future plans for Kontrast Kollektiv - where would you like to take your passion for film photography?
'"The journey is the destination". Our superior aim is to create a unit which is the entirety of our creative development. We have many ideas that are constantly evolving, which makes us really excited regarding the future of Kontrast Kollektiv.
For the near future we thrive to build out the Kontrast Kollektiv community and strengthen the bonds we already have. Such bonds were already really enriching our emerging journey, as pages like Modern Film Archive are providing valuable dialogues and platforms to give smaller artists a voice."