My take on photography, self publishing and my latest project

This interview was supposed to get published on a different blog, no names here, but unfortunately they decided to drop everyone they were working with at the moment and not publish any more of these features (in contrast to an initial approval). Nevertheless, no bad intentions or anything, it's perfectly understandable given the reasons.

Now I was left with a blog post I wrote and thought, after some evaluation, I may as well put it up on my own blog for you to read. So without further ado, here is the post:

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My name is Tim Heubeck and I am a photographer based in Nuremberg, Germany. The focus of my personal work is black and white film photography. Moreover, I exclusively work on self publishing books and zines. My ultimate purpose in photography is to show the world how it looks through my eyes while capturing a timeless feel of the world. It is less about how things we are familiar look like, than moreover with what lays beyond the surface. Experiences, memories and encounters forming our life and consequently who we are. Working on long-term project and focusing on black and white film photography has enabled me to to bring back the physicality of art and revealing the only true way of showing a photograph: through print. 

A little over two years ago I have started to work under the name “wasteoffilm“. You may now wonder why "wasteoffilm"? We all know this situation, we didn’t load the film properly in our camera, the flash didn’t fire or we forgot to remove the lens cap. Ending up with no images at all or with photographs we never anticipated. But isn’t this the beauty of film? The unexpected and the room for experimentation. Of course our images are not a waste of film, but important memories we want to preserve in a tangible medium forever. A reminder to the frames we wasted, but also the times we accidentally found an unintended look.

Why film photography saved me

I clearly remember this decisive moment almost exactly four years ago. Back then I had been photographing for around four years and had reached a dead end. I was feeling drained and more than uninspired to take any more pictures. It was a decision of either quitting photography altogether or to undergo a dramatic change and try out something new. At this time I was trapped in a dangerous mind set. I felt this need every single day to post an image to my social media pages. So the reality was to spend hours upon hours editing and searching through my old hard drives to find something to post. It sounds insane looking back at it now.

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Luckily, I had a friend who was very passionate about film photography, persuaded me to give it a got and I therefore went on eBay to buy my first ever film camera. I did grow up in a generation that almost seems to have forgotten what film photography is and that it still exists. Things changed slowly but surely. I was feeling actually like I accomplished something when I went home with my first rolls filled with images and memories. Not just a memory card I would clear after I had transferred these non tangible files to my computer.

It all really took off when I finally decided to start developing film myself. I had always been very much into black and white photography and so it was kind of a no brainer to decide to solely focus on it for the next years. And it still is what I do to this day. The pure satisfaction of pulling the film off the reel after the development process has also become a huge part of why I take photographs in the first place. It all give me a great sense of accomplishment through creation.

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Why I focus on black and white photography

In a way it is a limitation you put on yourself. But in a world so full of choices, this limitation is a liberation and consequently has reveled a variety of possibilities I had previously never taken into account. Shooting a hand full of different black and white film stocks and processing them myself has really enabled me to find the look I always wanted. Personally, I am not a huge fan of color film anymore. I had always found myself too distracted and worried about the for me unnecessary element of color. My images have a tendency to be rather reduced, more focused on shapes and light than anything else. I take pictures of what I am interested in this very moment. There is no real category I work in, nor want to put myself in. Isn’t it great not to limit yourself to being let’s say a street photographer? Then what if you want to take photographs of a landscape? I am pretty much an everything photographer.

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Does film photography make you a better photographer? Maybe. For me it has done very much. It has enormously helped me to be more objective when judging and selecting my imagery. It can take several months to process the rolls and even longer to even get a first glance of them. And then when you start editing your work, it’s completely different. Because you don’t remember the exact circumstances under which you have taken these images. You become emotionally detached.

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On self publishing

I often wonder what the legacy of someone is and what people really leave behind. I mean if you look at painters, musicians and in this case photographers, will they live on forever through their creations? Or will we eventually all just forget about them after a number of new generations have passed? I have come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t worry about everything that could be and rather focus on what is. The past and future are always very present in our mind and often determine our decisions, when in reality we can only experience this very moment.

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Self publishing photo books and zines has enabled me to slow down my process in another way and more importantly has provided an escape out of an issue I used to struggle with a lot beforehand. Social media. I don’t post any other work than the one from the book. It’s as simple as that. If you look at it, of course it can be a lengthy process. My last project took me nearly a year to only edit and to get into print. But for me this whole process and cycle is worth it. It somehow helps me to also mentally finish a certain chapter of my life, which now lives on forever in the books.

In comparison to a book you can change the order, look and selection of images of your online portfolio in a few seconds, but once the book is printed it’s fixed. You can’t make any more changes to it. This has an enormous advantage. If you study your older books you start to think how you could have done it differently. How you would now like to rearrange the images in a different order or use a different layout. But with every single book you produce you begin to improve in a very visible way.

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My latest project

“memories from another world“ is the title of the last book I published in July of this year. The project comprises images shot during a trip to Japan. I have always been fascinated and inspired by Japanese art, culture and most importantly photography. Just by the pure dedication of these artists and their eternal love for what they do.

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For me there has always been the search for the “ideal“ place. A place where everything suddenly starts to make sense. There has never really been a moment where I thought that I had found this place. At least until traveling to Japan for the first time. It all seemed so strangely familiar, even though I had never been there before. It felt as if already knew the place deep down in my mind. I have been to a lot of different places, but I have never encountered such a deep feeling of belonging. It felt like I had arrived from a journey I didn't even realize I was on. The book is my approach to capturing this intangible feeling of having found your “ideal“ place.

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While shooting for this project I found myself in a very focused and clear state of mind. It developed its own dynamic, where the natural flow and getting lost with no real direction became a daily routine. You could say I found my zen.


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