Multimedia Laboratory

Interview with photographer | Carlo Van de Roer

Why do you take photos?

I’m a terrible writer.

Describe your start in photography.

My parents had this beautiful old mini TRL camera and when I was a kid I would walk around looking at the house and our family through the lens, everything was mirrored and somehow looked so much better, and really graphic, it was addictive. Then when I was a bit older we got hold of some film for it (something weird like 127mm) and I was hooked. I built a darkroom in the basement under the stairs to process the film, it seemed like magic.

Who are some of your favorite photographers and why do you admire their work?

Hmmm, favorite is tricky, but I’m really interested in the work of Thomas Ruff, Ronni Horn, Gavin Hipkins, Penelope Umbrico, Lieko Shiga, Roe Etheridge, Yoshiyuki, Pierre Bismuth…

What is your greatest experience as a photographer?

The satisfaction of seeing something you’ve been carrying around in your head worked out or articulated feels good. It’s also a job that’s introduced me to a lot of amazing people and places.

What equipment do you prefer to use and why?

It’s been great to work with polaroid again. The project I am starting now is large format and uses more hands on techniques which I’m really enjoying. I think it depends on the project; I’ve used both digital and film over the last few years.

Describe your editing process (i.e. How do you go about selecting, retouching and printing your photographs?)

I always need a bit of time between shooting and editing so if I have time I’ll put the shoot away even if it’s just for a day or two then come back and edit, then repeat. With portraits there is often one shot that jumps out so it’s less about narrowing down a selection.

This last portrait series has been really tricky to print so I’ve been working closely with my printer, they’re great and allow me to oversee everything and make necessary tweaks along the way. I’d love to still have a darkroom under the stairs, but space is so limited here.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future regarding photography?

I’m obsessively working on a new project that’s quite personal, I’m also working on extending some of the threads that came out of the portrait machine project with other technology.

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