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Artist Spotlight: Ethan Gulley

Artist SpotlightFilminstagramInterview November 30, 2016



Forget the filters of social media and grabbing a moment and moving on. Ethan Gulley lives and works in chapters. The rich tones of his images are full of nostalgia and an appreciation for life as is, despite clocking just 23 years here on earth so far. Whether its drawing, painting, or photography, he’s drawn to portraits and capturing all the little details of someone’s face. His images portray people in a good times vibe—a style that’s gained him work with brands based in authenticity, like Alabama-based Loyal Stricklin, and fashion scenes alike. Ethan is an Alabama native and recent Los Angeles resident. His parents first handed him a disposable camera to use on family trips around the age of 7. And in 2012 he made photography his full-time work. In 2016, he began Sonder Quarterly—printed collections of adventures and experiences documented in chapters and pages that reflect on the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. They sum up a little of his Southern life and travels afar. Y’all enjoy this week with Ethan over at @indiefilmlab. It’s going to be groovy and gorgeous all at once. A quick note from Ethan we couldn’t leave out: “I love working with a team of people that help elevate each others ideas.” That’s a little bit of what it’s all about on our side of the camera.




IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
EG: I’ve been into art for as long as I can remember. I was drawing before I could read or write. I’ve always been a big fan of anything art related, so I think along with wanting to document my family vacations at a young age, photography came to me more seriously in high school as another form of art to experiment with. I got my first really camera in 10th grade and haven’t stopped shooting since.

IFL: Why film?
EG: In today’s society we’re all so wrapped up in who can get the most perfect shot the fastest so that they can post it and get the most likes. Shooting film lets you forget about all that and just shoot for the joy of capturing photos. Without the instant gratification of seeing the photo on the back of your camera, you make each shot count a little more. And not to mention all the happy accidents. Some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken ended up being shots I forgot about from 4 months prior with a huge light leak across the entire photo. Film photos have a timeless and unique quality to them.






IFL: What/who/where gets you inspired?
EG: My friends. My family. Traveling. Movies. Old Life magazines.

IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
EG: I’ll always have a deep love for the South, but I also enjoy the vastness and the variety the West has to offer.

IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
EG: Portra 400 or Gold 200.





IFL: What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
EG: movies movies movies. I can’t tell you how much inspiration I get both consciously and subconscious from movies. And of course art itself——paintings, drawings, sculptures, other photographs, you name it. MC Escher, Dali, and Van Gogh are a few of my all time favorites.







IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
EG: It’s definitely not cheap. And not nearly as forgiving as digital. And not everyone (clients) understand/appreciate it. But that just means those clients that do are all the more awesome.

IFL: Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured
EG: Since I’ve yet to experience big, big life altering moments like marriage or having kids, that’s impossible to pick for me. It would probably have to be any genuine moment of happiness I’ve shared with someone close to me.






IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
EG: I feel like I don’t have any secrets to share. I like to focus more on what is in front of my camera than what the camera itself is. That being said, I do love my pentax k-1000 for its robust simplicity, my olympus xa for its compactness, and my canon eos élan for its reliability.

IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
EG: I moved to California to accept a full-time content creator position at an ad agency, so I guess you could say I travel for work. Now that I’m out here, I have traveled back to AL for a few shoots and have some weddings coming up. And I’ve done some close travel here in CA for magazine work.







What makes you feel awesome? Music. Weather. Great food.
The weather in California is pretty great (although I do miss the rain.) Good food, a good hike, and a good movie.

Favorite thing about your current home/town.
The fact that the beach is a couple blocks away and the desert is an hour away in the other direction is pretty incredible.

Food you love:
I love a good cheeseburger.

Music I’m into lately:
Jacuzzi Boys, The Shouting Matches, The Districts, You Won’t, Sports, The Mattson 2

Do your family/friends think photography is cool or nerdy?
Probably a little bit of both. I should ask them.

More of Ethan’s work here:
Website –
Sonder Quarterly –
Instagram – @ethangulley

Artist Spotlight: Polly Alexandre

Artist SpotlightinstagramInterview October 24, 2016



Polly Alexandre is a name known for great style, images infused with light and being wise in the world of business. Although Polly’s time behind the camera has grown into much more, she continues to create beauty in magical places, including her homes in Ibiza and London, and destination weddings around the world. Exploring film and logging hours in the dark room began for her in college, but sticking with film through the digital trend helped her images stand out and establish a brand and consistency worthy of a Martha Stewart Weddings cover image and many more honors. We’re delighted for Polly to share the week with us on Instagram. It’s likely you’ll be just as inspired by the life she’s created for herself as an artist.




IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
PA: When studying art at school, I learned photography in the darkroom, devoting my own film, and printing my own images. I fell in love with the magic of the process. I won the first photography competition I ever entered – for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, and my image was featured in their annual calendar.

At university where I read psychology, I shot for the newspapers in the evenings shooting bands. I’d get a press pass to the shoot from the pit for the first 3 songs only (strictly no flash, so this was all about pushing the B&W film). After a drink backstage with the band if I was lucky, I headed to the darkroom to develop my own film and print up the image for the paper the next day.
At this time I got my first regular commission shooting the club scene, and my very first image in print!

I continued to enjoy photography as a hobby, until I got to the age of 28, and realised it was now or never, and leapt off the corporate ladder to pursue my creative dreams. It was terrifying at the time, but I haven’t looked back & it’s worked out better than my wildest dreams!

After having an intense apprenticeship in a studio, and going back to uni to study photography, I fell in love with weddings by accident, and realised I could earn good money doing what I loved. How little I knew back then! Sometimes naivety is a good thing!










IFL: What/who/where gets you inspired?
PA: In terms of photographers the ones that captured my heart early on were the first colour street photographers—Stephen Shore, William Eggleston & Josh Sternfeld. I saw an incredible exhibition at the Tate Modern in London—their first big photography show and it below me away with what was possible with the medium. Hearing Joel Sternfeld speak at the gallery left a huge impression on me.

This eventually led on to a career change, and I took an MA in Fine Art Photography, which I didn’t actually finish because my wedding photography business took off at the same time and I found it so fulfilling and engaging I decided to focus on the weddings instead. It has given me an incredible life and wonderful opportunities, and I am very grateful for it. I’ve slowed down the weddings lately as my coaching business took off, and I’m excited to focus more on personal projects.

As well as those classic colour documentary photographers, I love the work of Paolo Roversi, Nadiv Kander, and Sally Mann.

I get inspired by golden hour light, the landscape, epic sea views, beauty and silence, modern art and minimalism. I love space in images and art.






IFL: Why film?
PA: When I started there was no digital!
I spent my 20’s working in advertising, then I had a career change in my last 20’s to pursue my love of photography. Now I learned to colour hand print too which I loved!

When it came to starting my wedding photography business, it was right around the very first digital cameras were coming in, but with my long held love of analogue it was a no-brainer to shoot film. Over the next few years digital came to completely take over, but my continuation to offer film became my point of difference. My images looked different to the rest of the work out there in the UK, and so I picked up some amazing clients, including film directors, artists, and other photographers. I was able to change a premium for my work because it stood out, and I got approached by magazines who wanted to feature my work.

IFL: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
PA: I am also a business and success coach for creative entrepreneurs and I mentor creatives all over the world to create amazing visions for their lives and businesses, make more money and attract more ideal clients. The power of the coaching work blows me away and right now that’s my main focus in terms of business. I run a group coaching programme called Passionate Prosperity and have a full roster of private clients including photographers, designers, coaches, videographers, wedding planners, and other creatives. I love supporting creative business owners to create their big visions and make more money, create the lifestyle of their dreams AND have creative fulfillment. You don’t have to choose between them!

I’m also super excited about the new lifestyle blog for creative entrepreneurs that I just launched, showcasing all the things that inspire me, my archive of personal photographic work, and sharing what I have learned along my journey. You can see it here:










IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
PA: Ibiza & Italy for the magical landscape and light, and Paris/London for the chic interiors.

IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
PA: Neopan 400 & 1600. Yes, I still have stashes! For colour work, Fuji 400H.

IFL: What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
PA: I really love painting, especially modern abstract expressionism. I studied art and actually apprenticed with a painter in London for 2 years before moving to Ibiza. I create works that mix photography with painting.
Art galleries are my happy place.










IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
PA: The most powerful thing I have done for myself is this area is to invest in coaching and shift my money mindset. Many artists & creatives have a low wealth consciousness and hold lots of negative beliefs about money and what’s possible for them. Transforming your money story is incredibly important is being able to charge your worth.

Getting supported massively cuts the timeline that it takes to get to where you want to be. A mentor makes the journey faster and easier. Don’t be scared to invest in yourself, you’ll make it back many times over.

The other area I see most photographers missing out on is building a team. They stay a one man band and don’t invest in enough support, so they can’t grow their business.


IFL: Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured
PA: Personal work—it has to be the very first time I picked up a medium format camera. I borrowed a beast from college,the Mamiya RB, and headed to a British seaside town for the weekend. I literally loaded my first ever roll of medium format film and went out shooting on the street. That project got published in the British Journal of Photography, and shortlisted for their Best Newcomer annual award. I was so thrilled!

Here’s one of those first shots:




I also love the projects I have shot in India over the years.
For client work, my grainy black and white documentary shots are my absolute favorite.

IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
PA: Honestly I am not at all techy. I believe images come from your soul, and being present in the moment & connecting to subjects from your heart. What I create is a reflection of how I see the world & what I am feeling.
My 50mm 1.2 is my fave 35mm lens, the Contax my favourite wedding camera, and I also love cheap disposables, the Diana, and the Holga, for their unpredictable effects.

IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
PA: When I moved to Ibiza 6 years ago, I was constantly on planes – sometimes every week. Almost every wedding became a destination wedding, and I was constantly on the road.

One of the reasons I started my coaching business was to travel less. Now when I am at home in Ibiza, I have a pretty structured day that allows me to allocate time to run all 3 lanes of my business. I start the day with a wellbeing ritual of meditation, affirmations, journalling & visualisation, and then 3 days a week I work out with my trainer. I start coaching at 9am and run through to 6pm, with blocks of time in the week allocated to specific projects like photography production, writing & creating content. Friday afternoons tend to finish up in my favourite cafe, and I love having more weekends off now I am shooting less weddings.




What makes you feel awesome?
Dancing outdoors in the sunshine to great music. Laughter and love, blowdries and bulldogs, seeing my clients create their biggest dreams, and crystal healing.

Favorite thing about your current home/town:
The natural beauty of the landscape. The epic light and dramatic skies.

Food you love:
Raw desserts, sushi and a sneaky burger every now and again.

What makes you dance? Do you dance?
Ibiza makes me dance. There’s no better place in the world to party, and music permeates the island everywhere you go.

Can you handle skinny jeans?
I sure can! I don’t work out at 7:45am with my trainer for nothing, haha!

Favorite music:
Dance/house & chill out music. I think that’s what you guys call EDM. I grew up in the era of illegal raves, when the rave scene started in the UK, so electronic dance music will forever be a part of my heritage. And yes, I have pictures! All shot on black and white 35mm film. Not many though…..I was too busy partying and having a good time to shoot!

More of Polly’s work here:
Website – and
Blog –
Lifestyle Blog –
Instagram – @polly_alexandre

Artist Spotlight: Paula Player

Artist SpotlightFilmInterview September 19, 2016



Paula Player is a wedding photographer on the South Carolina coast that is making it happen in a business inspired by bold hues and a colorful personality alike. Paula teamed up with her brother Pablo, both Colombia natives, to pursue her interest in making photography a career dream realized. Traveling with her parents to America and deciding on work behind a lens rather than a traditional education was a leap both huge and hard at the age of 20. Almost 10 years later, she’s enjoying the speed and lively lifestyle her work has become alongside being a wife and mom. Paula will be joining our Instagram feed this week and no doubt kick starting a few daydreams of the Myrtle Beach coastline for us all.




IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
PP – When I was in the midst of starting my college degree to become a Spanish teacher, I really felt the tug to take a quick photography class. Even though I didn’t excel at the class, I knew this was what I wanted to do. It fit my personality and has helped me reach my greatest dreams so far.






IFL – What/who/where gets you inspired?
PP – I am inspired by great artists such as Rembrandt and Frida Khalo and by musicians like Miles Davis and Celia Cruz; and overall by people that are willing to do everything to grow a craft and give the best of themselves to it. I’m also constantly inspired by my parents, being immigrants, continue to do whatever on their power to help my brother and I. My husband has such dedication to us and my children are always keeping me outside of my comfort zone and their hugs when I get home from photo shoots are great.


IFL – Why film?
PP – There’s an amazing sentiment about film that I love. I can always put my camera in front of my face and see the world in a different light and perspective. Film is just a more sensible and true form of expression for me. What I have in mind is more easily translated when I am using film.





IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
PP – Fujifilm 400 H / Portra 800


IFL – What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
PP – Painting and drawing, I am always interested in areas where you create by hand. Also jewelry making, I think that’s a beautiful form of art.


IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
PP – Something creative for sure. I love to work with colors and shapes and an overall dynamic of fun! I also love training (gym) and eventually I’d love to extend the knowledge I have there to helping other become more healthy and fit.





IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
PP – Yes, there’s the challenge of the time that it takes during a wedding to spend doing film. Sometimes it takes longer to craft the images. Also, the financial aspect. Having to charge extra or not—it’s an area where I feel like I could grow and add new options.


IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured?
PP – One of my favorite moments was about 3 years ago, when I was just starting to use in film at weddings. I put my digital camera away because I wanted to capture the grandparents of the bride in this format. I got to talking to the grandfather and I asked if I could get his portrait. He simply smiled. One shot is all I took. I wasn’t sure yet if it would turn out. A week after the wedding, I learned he passed. The family was saddened and they didn’t know I had taken that single portrait. When I got my scans back, all my eyes were looking for was his simple smile and there it was. It was one of the most rewarding moments for me and the family were forever grateful.






IFL – IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
PP – The less gear I have with me, the better it turns out . When I have too many options, my mind goes on overwork mode and I just fumble going from lens to lens, film to film, etc. The best advice is to only take 2 lenses at at time and interchange them during the session to be more free to move around, use your hands to pose, be expressive.


IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
PP – Normally, I travel at least to one internationally commissioned job and several nationwide weddings. I am very close to Charleston, SC, which is a big city for weddings! My days when I am not traveling are both simple and complicated! I have a studio which I go in almost daily to check in on my day to day email, scheduling, editing. I try to get a good workout somewhere in between that, a little soccer, running around the area, grab coffee and lots of times I am creating backdrops for photo shoots I host at the studio. I have two small boys, so they add a lot of fun to our days. We try to do pool time as much as we can, and we will go to the beach and take photos. My boys are my models for anything fun I feel like trying!




What makes you feel awesome?
Music is like a fuel to me—I jam to lots of different rhythms. Lots of Spanish music! Being from South America, I am very drawn by my patriotic roots, so I love some Marc Anthony, Ismael Rivera, Romeo. Music gives me a breath of fresh air while editing.

Favorite thing about your current home/town.
Weather!! Well, although the weather is difficult to control sometimes for photo shoots! Besides that, I love the amazing low country scenery we get to see on a daily basis. Another thing I love is how close locations are from one to another, typically most errands/shoots are with a 30-45 min distance, so we can accomplish a lot in just one day!

Food you love.
I am such foodie! This is a struggle for me. I LOVE tacos in a real bad way.

What makes you dance?
I am a salsa dancer at heart! Absolutely love all the styles, variations and everything to do with it!

Do your family/friends think photography is cool or nerdy?
My family are so proud of how I’ve just taken up photography and run with it. They ask me often what I am doing new and just how my business is going. My father was a huge influence for me as a little girl. We would develop photos and those memories always stuck with me and eventually I wanted to re-live the passion of photography.

I am absolutely blessed to be able to do this art for a living and share with others the joy it really brings me. I love being at weddings and photographing kids. I am happy just creating pictures. To me this is the best job in the world, and that’s why I feel I am successful. It’s because I do something I really love.


More of Paula’s work here:

Website –
Blog –
Instagram – @paulaplayer

Artist Spotlight: Angga Permana

Artist SpotlightFilm August 16, 2016

Angga Permana

Angga Permana tends to work and life in the so-called paradise island of Bali, Indonesia. His hometown, the wedding capital of the world, provides easy access to clients and magnificent backdrops of dramatic cliffs, sparkling sunsets and waterside scenes—a photographer’s dream. His images beam with vivid tones and sun-kissed contrast. However, it’s the passion behind capturing much more that Angga survives on as an artist. He began with a camera in high school, and after five years as a professional in his beautiful city, it’s the moments he anticipates through the lens and the trust of others with such instances that inspire his work the most. Settle in for a little vacation via screen this week and follow along with us and Angga on our feed.




IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
AP – I started my photography when I was high school, shooting photos for family and friends. After that, like going with the flow, I found my self falling in love to capture the moment that happens right in front of me. Becoming a photographer for someone to trust you and your passion is a really amazing gift from God.


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IFL – What/who/where gets you inspired?
AP – Family, Friends, Home, Nature all that aspect really inspired me in to life of photography

IFL – Why film?
AP – Film is unique. Film is mystery. Film makes you more interested to capture a moment. From my perception, film has an amazing part that can make someone interested to more know about your work.


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IFL – o you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
AP – I love to shoot at the beach with the edge of the cliff of course with a lovely sunset there.

IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
AP – I shoot Kodak Portra 400 and Fujifilm Pro 400H

IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
AP – I think in this era nothing will challenge you to become something you want to be. If you have a passion in yourself and believe in what you do, you can be what you want. We can really easily access all the information we want and we need.


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IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
AP – I think I will have Bike Store / Film Camera Store Dealer.

IFL – What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
AP – I think collecting film camera and vintage bike are my other art forms.


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IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured?
AP – Everything I capture are my favorite moments. I love my work and what I do when I am behind the camera.

IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
AP – I don’t have any secret gear, I always shoot with my Contax 645 and my Leica MP.

IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
AP – I’m Based in Bali, the most popular wedding destination in the world, so I do not travel often. I shoot here in Bali 4-5 weddings a month. Yes, I love do traveling also if I have overseas work. At home, I love play with my kid and I love cycling.


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What makes you feel awesome?
If someone trust me to capture their life time moments and they really like with the result. It’s make me feel good. Of course music, good weather when I’m shooting photos, great sunset light and good food after finish the photo session.

Favorite thing about your current home/town.
Bali is most exotic and beautiful place. I am really blessed to be born at this paradise island. My favorite thing here is the food and the people.

Food you love.
I love to eat traditional food in Bali.

Do your family/friends think photography is cool or nerdy?
Before they think is just like hobby and now the think photography has a good income. :)

More of Angga’s work here:
Website –
Blog –
Instagram – anggapermanaphoto

Artist Spotlight: Eric James Leffler

Artist SpotlightFilmInterviewStraps July 11, 2016

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Those guys that are always trying something new. The folks who try something just to see what happens. That’s Eric James Leffler. Scroll on down and you’ll take notice of the almost-magical double exposures that pop up often on the Indie Film Lab instagram feed (we dig them!) Since 2010, Eric, a Walnut Creek, Ca. resident, has worked professionally as a wedding and portrait photographer in the San Francisco area. A year abroad in Australia with camera in hand supplied his initial interest in photography. The adventurous spirit of film photography won him back. An element of surprise, both in double exposures and the process of shooting film overall, has become an evident part of his work. Trying something unique, picking up a different body, etc.—it’s clear he’s having a blast. Thanks for taking us along for the ride, Eric!

Y’all follow along this week as Eric teaches more about how he works, and plays.


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IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
EJ: I always enjoyed art growing up—pencil sketching as a kid, graphic design in high school. I definitely get my artistic side from my mom, who is still painting, creating and inspiring me to this day. Photography for me came later. I spent a year abroad living in Australia, and before I left, my uncle handed me down an old 35mm Minolta X-700 SLR and some lenses.  I spent most of that year taking travel photos, learning how to use the kit and really appreciating photography for the first time. I remember how inspired I was, and the rush of dropping film off at the generic one-hour-photo labs in Sydney and seeing the 4×6 prints the next day. When I returned home, time went by, I got caught up in the day jobs, I didn’t pick up a camera or do anything creative for years, I played soccer, I enjoyed a social life, paid my bills, life went on until I took a family cruise to Alaska in 2008. My dad had picked up a Nikon CoolPix P80 for the family to use, which I happily commandeered.  That little fella was the fanciest thing I’d seen with 10mp, manual control and an 18x zoom.  The excitement of taking pictures and creating something came flooding back. A passion I didn’t know I still had was reigniting. The following year he helped me finally invest in my first DSLR, a Nikon D90 kit. Without his help, I may still be holding out for my first DSLR and who knows what I would be doing today.  


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IFL: Why film?
EJ: The number one reason for me is pretty simple—it’s flat out FUN! As someone who shoots digital for the majority of my paid work (30-40 weddings a year and many portrait sessions in between), DSLR’s are necessary tools for what I do. They are work horses. But for me, they all start to feel the same after a while.

Today, I am very much a hybrid shooter in every sense, shooting primarily digital for my paid work and film for all of my personal work. With my personal work and photography at it’s core for me is most often simply about creating something. It is an artistic endeavor, a creative pursuit, a visual pleasure. The simple need to create something new is what drives me.

After several years of shooting nothing but digital, I felt a growing need to switch things up and shake myself out of my comfort zone. I am constantly thinking of what to do next, ways to try something different, to make something original, to do something unique. Shooting with film was one way to satisfy this. There are so many unique elements to the film world of which I knew little to nothing about two years ago: 6×7’s, 645’s, rangefinders, Land cameras, waist level viewfinders, eye-level prisms, C-41, E6, film backs, dark slides, incident meters, pushing film, rating film, AIS lenses, APO lenses, vintage Russian lenses, A-76 batteries, 2CR5 batteries, the list goes on. Shooting film opened up a whole new world to me in many ways. One I am still exploring.

Another reason is the change of pace and process it provides. The entire process is more involved, from choosing which film stock to buy, finding space in your fridge to store it, choosing which to use on a given day, switching the film spools, loading the film, thinking about every exposure and working with limitations. Making notes, keeping the exposed film somewhere safe, packing up the USPS box, dropping it in the mail, waiting a few weeks for the scans, and finally…experiencing the joy of seeing my photos for the first time. This all makes me value these photos that much more. This change of pace and process helps me. It fuels me and balances me from my digital work.

All of this would fly out the window if the end results weren’t also spectacular. It has been said by many, film has soul. It has character. It has a depth to it that is hard to describe at times. No offense to the one-hour photo labs in Sydney, but the “look” of film is something I didn’t fully appreciate until I received my first scans from Indie Film Lab in 2014. I’ve been hooked ever since.


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IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
EJ: I love to travel. I was blessed to get some great opportunities during my first few years of business shooting weddings in Hawaii, Mexico, Oregon, New Orleans and Florence, Italy. Most of my weddings and portrait sessions are in and around the San Francisco Bay Area which I can never complain about. I am very grateful to call this beautiful area home and to visit different parts of it every week.

IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
EJ: My go to spot is a local hilltop—a nice open space up the road from my house. It’s great for Golden Hour, which is really more like Golden 10 minutes. But oh, those 10 minutes.

IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
EJ: I’ve come to really like Kodak Gold 200 and Max 400 for warmer golden hour shots. I like Portra 800 for cooler indoor window light settings. Usually HP5 for B/W. Ilford 3200 on 120.  Kodak Pro-Image 100 is nice, but not made anymore I don’t think (can still be found on Ebay.)  Would love to shoot more with CineStill.

IFL: What other art forms or artists are you drawn to? What/who/where gets you inspired?
EJ: There are so many talented photographers I have drawn and continue to draw inspiration from. Too many to list. I am working on finding more inspiration from other art forms outside of photography, like cinema and music.

In many ways, it’s the film gear itself that fires me up more than anything. I just find these older cameras and lenses so much fun to use. They all have their unique character and personality and inspire me constantly to put them to use.


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IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
EJ: I’ve become a bit of a film camera collector these past couple years. I like trading in gear for something different every now and then. For me, cameras are a lot like cities—I kind of want to visit the best ones and my favorites I’ll keep returning to. I completely agree with Ryan Brenizer, who acknowledges that while “owning extra gear is a novelty, it is also a great way to avoid one of the biggest challenges for a full time photographer: avoiding burnout.” 

The film cameras I keep going back to the most are probably the Nikon FM3A (once my FE2 stopped working) and Leica M6. The Contax T2 or Olympus Stylus usually go in my pocket when I head to the bar or to the game with friends. I take along my Nikon F6 for when I visit my brother and his family since auto-focus is quite handy with two little nieces and three pets running around. The Voigtlander Bessaflex might be my dark horse favorite for portraits. It’s so simple and smooth and great for when I want to use older 42mm screw mount lens like the Jupiter-9, Helios 44-2, or my new favorite, the Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm 2.4.

I’ve recently been experimenting with older uncoated lenses to have fun with sun flare, many of them under $100 on Ebay.   

The Hold Fast Money Maker straps (especially the new skinny versions) are the best option I’ve found for carrying 2-3 cameras around by far, and the cloth pouch they come in works great as a film pouch.


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Can you handle skinny jeans?
I’m not sure skinny jeans could handle me.

What makes you dance?
I wouldn’t say I dance often but the mood can certainly strike at a moment’s notice.  I learned I could dance at a George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic concert in 2003.  I had no idea.

Favorite music:
When I am not listening to the ballgame on AM radio or Howard Stern on Sirius, I usually have it tuned to BB King’s Bluesville or Alt Nation.

More of Eric’s work here:
Website –
Blog –
Instagram – ericjamesleffler

Artist Spotlight: Ryan Ray

Artist SpotlightFilmInterviewKodak June 21, 2016

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Meet Ryan Ray—winner of being our brand of good people. The California native has photographed weddings for nine years and crafted a style of documentary photography rooted in celebrating a couple’s unique beauty and blessing to one another that breathes ease, natural beauty and genuine affection.
Ryan’s work is regularly featured in print publications (Martha Stewart Weddings, Southern Weddings, PEOPLE, Harper’s Bazaar, BRIDES) and online (Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, Snippet & Ink), but his gentle demeanor praised by clients made friends and fun-loving reputation for joining guests on dance floor only add to his success. Traveling for wedding weekends occupies most of his work schedule, but there’s no doubt home sweet home is now Texas with his sweet bride of seven years, Cary, and their newly adopted son from Taiwan. As if they weren’t enough, just mention tacos. We hope you enjoy getting to know Ryan (and his love of high-tops, tacos and being a steward of kindness) as much as we have as he hosts our feed on Instagram this week.




IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
RR: I stumbled across photography after seeing a friend of mine pursue it. I wanted something to do on the side that I really enjoyed. Little did I know what it would turn into. I am so grateful for this medium that has allowed me to see things and document life in a way to bless people, make a living, and see the world.

IFL: What/who/where gets you inspired?
RR: My faith really inspires me. I had a really tough upbringing and my faith has been the foundation of my strength, joy, and inspiration for as long as I can remember. I see life with great joy and I believe it translates to the work I do.










IFL: Why film?
RR: Goodness, it is beautiful, isn’t it? Rich tones that can’t be replicated. I love the way it leads me to approach my clients. It is an art that allows me to visualize my image before I take it.

IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
RR: KODAK! I have always been a fan of Portra 400








IFL: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
RR: I’d be a firefighter. I was a firefighter/paramedic for 10 years and absolutely loved it.

IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
RR: Anywhere with good light. Love a great sunset. I am originally from CA before marrying my southern bride and moving to TX. I love shooting in CA, but who doesn’t?






IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
RR: Being a film photographer is not easy. Weddings happen so quickly, and I don’t like to miss anything. I rarely have a second shooter. I am in go mode the whole wedding day. I don’t get easily distracted, and I love the pressure to deliver. I do miss 220! With that said, I never make excuses for my medium. If I can’t do the best job possible and deliver beautiful images with what I have, I am not working hard enough. I am really grateful for the beautiful Kodak film I feel privileged to shoot, and extremely thankful for an incredible lab that has been on this journey with me.






IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
RR: I travel for most of the work I do. It is not on purpose. I go wherever the work is and the clients I am commissioned by are.

IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
RR: High tops make you dance better. No joke.




What makes you feel awesome?
High tops, denim, heather grey tees.

Favorite thing about your current home/town.
The people and Mexican food.

Food you love

What makes you dance? Do you dance?
Love dancing!! Just ask anyone who knows me. Never said I was a good dancer, but that doesn’t keep me from having a great time!

Can you handle skinny jeans?
Yup, I’m a fan.


More of Ryan’s work here:
Website –
Blog –
Instagram – imryanray







Artist Spotlight: Amanda Watson

Artist SpotlightFilminstagramInterview May 9, 2016

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This lady overflows with invitation to clients, and future friends, to be a part of their genuine love stories. A wedding and portrait photographer of eight years in her home state of Oklahoma, Amanda Watson (along side her husband Chris) lives a life of coffee and littles (soon to be three) and dinner-making evenings with her love like many a Midwesterner. She got her start with a 35mm in high school and has found her home again in film for the rainbow of soft tones and sweet details that fill her lens. Her images beam with the boldness of natural beauty and balance the softness of romance. What a treat to spend a few days learning with her over at @indiefilmlab this week.

Indie is all about supporting a dreamer and we’re helping sponsor Amanda’s next workshop on August 14-17th in Dallas, Texas. There will be some phenomenal speakers and vendors on board – to learn more visit or @amandawatsonworkshops on Instagram.




IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
AW: I picked up photography as a sophomore in high school, it was an offered class and was supposedly an “easy A” but little did I know I would fall in love with the darkroom process and it’s followed me since! My father gifted me his old 35mm Minolta and I lugged that thing around all through high school and some of college continuing my hobby. It wasn’t until we started planning our own wedding that I became obsessed with weddings and as the saying goes “do what you know” I decided to start shooting weddings and interned for a time and then branched out on our own!

IFL: Why film?
AW: I shot film all through high school and college and was reluctant to pick up digital when we decided to try for a business, but at the time film just wasn’t feasible for us. Honestly, I struggled a bit with digital, especially coming from a film background. So when we decided to reincorporate film back into our workflow it was a natural and easy process—finally my images were back to where I was striving for them to be and it just felt right.








IFL: What/who/where gets you inspired?
AW: Being outdoors, traveling, music, movies, exploring, a good sunset, color, fashion—to name a few 😉

IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
AW: Someplace new—living in Oklahoma has it limitations (albeit is also a beautiful state, don’t get me wrong) but I love to shoot in new places it doesn’t necessarily matter where.

IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
AW: Portra 400








IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
AW: I feel like there are challenges with any medium. The main challenges I face are more geographical while shooting film. Oklahoma has some crazy weather and our weddings (and especially our receptions) are primarily indoors, so I have to be selective as to when and where I shoot film and when I decide to supplement with digital.

IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
AW: We love to travel and have the privilege of traveling often, but we limit our travel schedule since we have littles at home.

IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
AW: Don’t obsess with what you have or what you don’t. A lot of my favorite images came from my Mamiya 645 and 80 1.9 setup. Work with what you’ve got and perfect your skill—the gear isn’t magic, the magician is.










IFL: Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured.
AW: One of my favorite moments ever captured was right after Claire & Austen’s ceremony when they raced out of the chapel under a saber arch and he leans over and kisses his new wife on the cheek! So much joy and purely candid – you can’t recreate those type of moments!


IFL: What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
AW: I love stained glass and I do a little as a hobby. I also have great admiration for calligraphers. I think it’s a beautiful art form and I wish I could do it, but my chicken scratch isn’t up to par.








What makes you feel awesome?
Spending time with the people I love.

Favorite thing about your current home/town.
The people; we are lucky to live in a great community!

Food you love.
Pasta and mint chocolate (but not necessarily together.)

What makes you dance? Do you dance?
I dance when no one is watching and it’s mostly to 80’s music.

Can you handle skinny jeans?
All day erry day.

Favorite music:
Jazz and bluegrass

Do your family/friends think photography is cool or nerdy?
Cool, they think I live some crazy posh lifestyle which is totally not true. I do love that a big part of my ‘job’ is networking and getting to drink lots of coffee, ha!


More of Amanda’s work here:
Website –
Blog –
Instagram – amandawphoto

Artist Spotlight: Casey Lee

Artist SpotlightFilmInterview April 18, 2016

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Casey Lee keeps it about as real as it gets at his home base in Dallas, Tex. Sure, he’s a daytime mechanical design engineer and self-proclaimed math nerd (plus a husband and dad to Lola the dachshund), but some serious intensity seeps out of his work as a music and portrait photographer. His interests—good music, burritos, cycling, clean lines, and ice hockey—all look especially rad on his favorite Tri-X stock. Casey’s portraits capture eyes like few others and all have a connection to the camera that words can’t quite cover today. Though you’ll find him (and most of his killer feed) from under concert lights in nearby Austin and other towns for shows, he’s easily inclined to wonder under sunny, California skies for a change of scenery.



IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
CL – I had been taking photos with my dad’s point and shoots for a few years through early high-school and dabbled a bit with some cameras in high school for a digital graphics and animation course. After getting into the animation portion of the class using Maya, I eventually got hung up on doing camera setups for rendering and playing with focal lengths and aperture combinations to introduce a more cinematic look through some minor background blur. This dabbling in animation pushed me to ask my parents for an older Canon Digital Rebel for Christmas and that was the start of it all.

IFL-What/who/where gets you inspired?
CL – Friends and music. I love being able to hang out with friends and photograph them and what they’re doing. Whether it’s my wife hanging out in the yard of the AirBNB we’re staying at, good friends playing a show (double whammy) or sitting on a bus or in a van going from venue to venue. Also, getting to shoot something new to me.






IFL – Why film?
CL – For me it’s a combination of things. I love the challenge shooting film in situations that aren’t considered quite ideal—live music, ice hockey—generally low-light and high-speed subjects that can be difficult to track and, in the case of live music, quirky to meter properly in traditional venues. Second, I love the look and feel, if you will, of film. It just seems like, especially with portraits, when I pull the big Pentax 67 up to my eye the subjects bring out a certain intensity in the eyes. When shooting music it just gives a feel to the image that I don’t think I generally get with a digital SLR—I’m not as patient or possibly even as observant and manage to miss moments or wind up with 18 frames of essentially the same thing. With the medium format gear the feel just can’t be matched with some of the constraints of live-music photography (space in a photo pit to get your angle, size and height of the stage, etc.) and you can get some really cinematic images thanks to the effective 35mm focal lengths of some lenses. I also love shooting with my Leica because it is so easy to just disappear and snap a quick frame without being noticed like you would shooting a big SLR.

IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
CL – Tri-X. I love black and white, and always come back to Tri-X. It’s just so damn versatile and I love the grains and tones. I’ve dabbled with HP5 and while I like it, I don’t quite love it as much. When I do shoot color, I love the color and contrast of Portra 800 and seem to shoot it the most, at least when it isn’t too bright out. I’ve also finally started to like Portra 400 and am getting colors and contrast that I like a lot more than some early scans where I was trying to shoot it like 400H and overexposing two or more stops.






IFL – Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
CL – I love to work in California. The light just always seems incredible and I often find myself inspired to try new things when I’m away from home. I also really enjoyed my 8 hours in New York this summer between my last day on Warped and flying home the next morning. I walked from my hotel over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn and just see such a cool city on foot. I wish I could have spent more time there and look forward to getting back up there soon.

IFL – What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?
CL – I’m not that well versed in a lot of art, but there are a lot of photographers who’s work I love. Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, and so many more (thanks to a semester in an art history class dedicated to the history of photography).

IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
CL – This is a pretty easy one for me since my career isn’t photography-centric at all. My day job as a mechanical design engineer is something I love and that I would easily be doing with or without photography in my life because it gives me a creative outlet that, while not the same as photography, does still satisfy my desire to be creative.






IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
CL – Keeping the work that I like coming can be tricky, but I’ve been able to find some great editors at some online publications who are super supportive of me dropping a few rolls of film in to the middle of shoots. I think the biggest challenge is trying to keep shooting film when a quick-turn, digital product seems to check most of the boxes for so many shoots.

IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured.
CL – With music I love crowd interaction, especially if band members hop the barricade and get out into the crowd. The intensity from the crowd and the band seems to accrue and build so quickly and it certainly makes some rad photos with the crowd enveloping the subject. I also love the quiet moments, regardless of subject.

IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
CL – Shoot with the camera that feels right. I use my Pentax 67 for so many things that would make most people shake their heads, but whenever I get it out of the bag it makes me not worry as much as shooting with other cameras. Same goes with my Leica. When I have the opportunity to shoot film, those are my go-tos. They feel solid while shooting, make beautiful negatives and make me happy to shoot with. I still use 35mm SLRs, digital and film, but not as much as the Pentax and Leica. The feel just isn’t there for me. But there is always a time for those as well. I love my EOS-3 when shooting fast moving subjects that I can’t quite anticipate the movement of to pre-focus and want to shoot wide, especially with the eye controlled AF. Why Canon ever got rid of that feature is beyond me. It has saved my butt more than a few times when relying on AF to focus.

IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
CL – Not too often. Most of my work occurs within 50 miles of home, but a couple of touring runs and a few sessions in Austin (a short 3 hr road trip away) do get me out of town a bit.







What makes you feel awesome?
Live music, riding my road bike, and playing ice hockey. They are all outlets for me and provide some often needed stress relief.
Food you love:
Tacos, sushi, vegan treats
Can you handle skinny jeans?
All I own, in the denim department at least.

Favorite music:
Oh man, this is probably the hardest thing to explain. Genre-wise, I’m all over the place. Hip-hop, post rock, hardcore, metal, pop-punk, the occasional top 40. Bands I’ve been listening to a lot lately have been: Saosin, PVRIS, I Killed the Prom Queen, Bury Your Dead, Neck Deep, Sturgill Simpson, Explosions in the Sky, Set Your Goals, Brand New, Bring Me the Horizon, letlive, Robyn, This Wild Life, The Wonder Years and Basement.
Do your family/friends think photography is cool or nerdy?
Not really, occasionally catch some flak over some old branding materials from coworkers, but everyone is pretty supportive of what I do.

More on Casey and his work here:
Website –
Instagram – @caseyleephoto

Artist Spotlight: Thomas Lucas

Artist SpotlightFilmIndie Life January 28, 2016

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There’s a treasure trove full of fine souls born and bred in Montgomery, Ala. home. One of them is Indie’s developer, Thomas Lucas. Photography, art and music are all part of his story and vividly displayed on his new site launched this month. His style: focusing his lens on subjects and scenes full of emotion. Boudoir, travel, documentary—they all posses a sensuality and depth that shows he’s really looking and really listening to what’s around.

We’re a lot proud of this guy for pushing out a fantastic site of work, and for his keeping on at the lab all the while. We know you’ll enjoy more of his work and chatting it up on Instagram the rest of the week.




IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
TL – I have been surrounded by photography my entire life thanks to my grandfather and my dad. It wasn’t until an image I took while living in New Orleans was published as a book cover in Germany that I thought I should probably take this hobby of mine a little more seriously. Since then, I’ve continued to work on honing my skill. That was around 2010.


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FL – What/who/where gets you inspired?
TL – There are a few things that inspire me whenever I can’t come up with an idea or I need it to set the mood. The first being music. As odd as it may seem, 80’s early 90’s music with a dash of classical tends to season the inspiration brain receptors. When it comes to primarily boudoir and sometimes editorial work, I look to Alphonse Mucha. He was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist. His work has a flow to it that I’ve always loved and try to capture in my work. Lastly, Annie Leibovitz. Her earlier work is what I’ve been a huge fan of and the way she worked on those iconic images. She spent time with the person, getting to know what makes them them and capturing it perfectly.


IFL – Why film?
TL – I haven’t always been a film shooter. When my digital was stolen from me almost two years ago, I had to make a decision on whether or not I truly wanted to continue with photography. Working at Indie Film Lab as the developer, it kind of made sense to continue. I love film and I love digital. Yes, both have a distinct look about them and to the trained eye you can tell the difference, but with all the options out there for making your digital work look like film why bother shooting film? It’s the process. It takes longer. The anticipation of seeing the moments you captured can be nerve racking, but the hope that you captured something you wanted or weren’t expecting and receiving it days later is and can be rewarding. Film also is a good way to build confidence and self esteem in knowing you got the shot and without having to look at an LCD screen every few seconds.


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IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured
TL – One of my most favorite moments I’ve captured was last year on February 9th. It was a cool, rainy day and gay marriage became legal in Alabama. The two women that would become the poster child and one of the first same-sex marriages in Alabama were getting married in my hometown of Montgomery. I knew this would be an event to experience with my own eyes and to document it so that others could witness it as well. The moment I captured was their first kiss with all of the big name news company photographers capturing the moment. The circled around them like vultures trying to get the “shot” that would make the headlines. Since I was shooting film, I was too late to get any of my photographs out fast enough for possible publication. I got the photograph printed for my personal collection so that one day when I’m older I can look back and remember that spectacular day.

IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
TL – Something that has always been said to me or around me is your best camera you have is the one that’s on you. I stick to using natural light as much as possible. I primarily shoot with a Nikon FM2 with either a 35mm f1.4 or 55mm f1.2. Other equipment I use from time to time: Nikon F3, Mamiya RZ67 with a 110mm f2.8 or 50mm f4.5, and a Fuji X100T.

IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
TL – I don’t travel as much I’d like. A change of scenery and lighting is nice to enhance your skill. Even though I’m not often traveling, I’m processing everyone’s film from all across the world. In a way it’s kind of like traveling every day.


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IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
TL – If I weren’t a photographer, I’d be fighting crime at night. Batman

IFL – Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
TL – It’s just around the river bend. It’s pretty chill just over there. Really anywhere.

IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
TL – Portra 400 for C41 and TMAX 100 and Trix for BW

IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
TL – Money is a challenge with purchasing film and booking shoots to support it.


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What makes me dance?
Taylor Swift makes me dance.

Skinny Jeans?
The hell are those? Boot cut jeans.

My favorite superhero is Batman which makes me my favorite superhero.


More on Thomas Lucas and his work here:
Website –
Instagram – @bamabear



Artist Spotlight: Wirawan Sanjaya

Artist SpotlightFilmInterview December 14, 2015



Wirawan Sanjaya, a wedding and commercial photographer from Jakarta & Semarang City, Indonesia, may be 13 hours away from our every day in the states, but his images seem to speak universal thoughts in a completely different way. He’s built a career on wedding photography for eight years now; yet his landscapes as well as his family as the subject are just as captivating—full of quiet emotion. His wit and humor are quickly uncovered here, and we love that his affection for film and his equipment is a relationship all its own. Clearly our friend Wi2 is all about this work. He’s created together with his friend and film-enthusiast and is married to his high school sweetheart with two photogenic kids. We’ll be hearing from him all week on @indiefilmlab.




IFL – How did photography become a part of your life?
WS – I’m totally stupid at drawing or painting. I don’t even know how to draw a chicken, something that a 5-year-old kid could do. That’s why I love taking photos. It’s easy—just click the shutter and that’s all. I started shooting in high school, but only on a point and shoot camera. After I graduated in 2005 I went to China to learn Chinese language, but I ended up shooting landscape, street and human interest every day. From that day on photography has been part of my life.






IFL – What/who/where gets you inspired?
WS – I was so lucky that I was born in Indonesia—a country with a very beautiful landscapes, with diversity, culture and customs. Indonesia is always inspiring my work. I also collect photography books and from these I also learn a lot of things. Many photographers inspire my work—Henri Cartier Bresson, Paolo Roversi, Mary Ellen Mark, Deborah Turberville, Annie Leibovitz, Lillian Bassman and many more.







IFL – Why Film?
WS – Film is imperfect, just like human nature, which makes it beautiful. 1) The Process. I simply fall in love with the process of shooting film. From the moment the film is loaded, up to the moment when we see the pictures for the first time, the sensation is just irreplaceable. 2) The Look. People always talk about the “film look.” The best way to achieve that is shooting film. Simple. 3) The Camera. Your camera is more than just an equipment, it is also a statement about who you are. Walking around with an analogue camera hanging around you is badass—enough said.


IFL – What’s your favorite film stock?
WS – I wish I could only shot Portra 800, but its too expensive. Sad face.






IFL – If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
WS – Tennis player, rockstar or a lawyer.

IFL – Do you have a favorite location or city/country to shoot?
WS – Yep, for sure! My country Indonesia. The east part of Indonesia is HEAVEN.






IFL – Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
WS – The hardest part shooting film is to defeat yourself. If you could defeat yourself, have confidence and know what you do, then everything is going well.

IFL – Favorite moment/or one of favorites you’ve ever captured?
WS – I love my work, so it’s always exciting when I’m shooting. I don’t have a favorite images that I’ve captured. Every single session has its own.






IFL – Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
WS – Choosing a camera is like finding a girlfriend, so I like to stay with 1 or 2 cameras. This is in my bag:
1. Pentax 67 + 105 f2.4
2. Mamiya 7 + 65 f4
3. Leica m4p + Sonnar 50 f1.5 + Ultron 28 f2

IFL – Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
WS – Yes, I travel a lot! When I’m home I play with my kids!



What makes you feel awesome?
Music,weather and good food is a perfect combination.

Favorite thing about your current home/town:
My hometown is famous for street food. You have to try the street food here when you come to SEMARANG.

Food you love :
I love Indonesian FOOD. Ha!

Favorite music :
I love slow rock music. 1990 songs have more soul, not like current music.

Do your kids/family think photography is cool or nerdy?
They always think their father was badass.

How do you play/have fun outside of photography?
I play tennis.


More on Wi2 and his work here:
Website –
Blog –
Instagram – @wi2