Photographer of the Month - Adrian Vercoe
Welcome to our ongoing articles where we spotlight a photographer.
This month we chat to Adrian Vercoe, half of the brains behind Seconds Magazine and a pretty bloody good photographer. Don't believe us? Check out his work and comments below.
Please tell us a little bit about who you are and your photographic experience?
My name is Adrian Vercoe and I’m from Dunedin, New Zealand. I am 33 years old and up until last month I had been shooting photos in a professional capacity for Weta Digital for the last 4 years.
I got into Photography through looking at skateboard magazines from about 13 years of age.
I studied photography at Kings High School in Dunedin under the legendary eye of Glenn Smith.
I went on to get a part time job in the local photo store while I studied design at Otago University graduating with a BA majoring in Design Studies.
I did an internship at ABC/Huffer after graduating and then went on a little soul searching expedition to Japan for a few years. It was in Japan that I found my love for photography again.
What are your main reasons for shooting film?
I like the look of it.
I like trusting the instruments, and troubleshooting why they failed me (/why I failed myself)
I find it more relaxing not being able to see what I just took.
Having to wait for the rolls to be developed builds up a level of excitement similar to opening christmas presents
Do you shoot much digital? If so, at what point do you choose film for a task/job?
I shoot film for myself and digital for everything else.
On your last contract you shot a lot of digital did this drive you to shoot film for your personal work?
Yeah with shooting VFX reference you are shooting a tonne of digital images, I found shooting film was a nice way to make shooting photos NOT feel like work...like an obvious gear change for my brain. You also realise how big and heavy a 5D is when you swap it out on the weekend for an FM2...it’s like a holiday for your neck and wrist.
Your VFX onset reference role had a lot of responsibility, how did that affect your creativity?
Having responsibility makes you more organised and the more organised you are gives you more time to think creatively, so I would say it had a positive effect.
Your contract also had you travelling around a bit whilst shooting on set, do you find travel helps with inspiration or are you happy shooting as much at home as you would travelling?
Travelling is inspiring for sure. Often when I’m working overseas though the schedule is pretty brutal and you don’t have a lot of downtime for yourself.
Given that your job on set was to shoot with a lot of artificial lighting I find it funny that you don’t use it in your personal work, is there a reason for this?
Yeah, I can’t afford lights! nah I prefer to use lights though, a lot quicker when you know what you want. For my personal stuff though it’s more about documenting than creating a dramatic shot.
Your instagram feed (@adrianvercoe) is pretty evenly mixed between B&W and Colour, how do you choose which film to use?
I just roll with whatever I had loaded last. I’m a creature of habit, I like portra and tri-x so I usually have some packs of it lying round. So if it’s colour it’s going to be portra 400 or 800, if it’s black and white it’s going to be Tri-X 400 and I’ll push it if I need it faster.
Portraits feature a lot in your personal work, do you seek them out or just have your camera when you’re with an interesting subject?
Man I gotta back on them. Sometimes I seek them out. Sometimes I ask. Either way there's always some funny/awkward chat.
Are you working on any project currently?
Yeah! My daughter is my full time project at the moment. I’m not working towards anything photographically at the moment, although in saying that I take a lot of photos of my daughter and my cat. I’m taking a break from the onset work and holding down the house husband role for abit. I have some concepts I would love to get off the ground when the time is right.
Who are some analogue photogs we should follow and interview next?
My instagram feed is mainly skateboarding and cars cause I’m a washed up skater and still a bogan at heart. You should interview Graham Tait, he’s a Scottish (I think?) skate photographer that shoots heaps of film and makes North Mag @grahamtait. I always like seeing posts from @andrewjamespeters, @blabacphoto, @stickersbrowne, @tom_gould, @harryculy and @jakemein and of course yourself @seanaickin....but for film photographers I’d rather find their book in a library than on instagram.
Quick fire round
35mm or 120?
35mm in the mju II, 120 in the Hassy
Colour or B&W?
B&W - Timeless
Zoom Lenses or Fixed?
Portrait or Landscape (Orientation)?
Portrait - Fit two on a spread if you all about that Zine life
Flash or Natural Light?
Natural - unless it’s dark then you gotsta flash
SLR (or TLR) or Rangefinder or Point and Shoot?
Point and shoot - even the out of focus shots are interesting on film
Must be razor sharp or more about the aesthetic?
Imperfections are what make it perfect
Nikon FM2 never lets me down
Favourite Photo Book?
Heaven - Dennis McGrath, the layouts got heaps of handwritten text scanned in with the photos, I like the rawness of it.
Harry Culy’s field studies books were/are really cool. Like a nice little snapshot of peoples local environments printed in a raw black and white style with rounded corners.....I love those corners.
Rare Air by photographer Walter Iooss Jr - It’s a photography book on Michael Jordan. There’s all these amazing on court and better off court moments shot on film and the photos are real big...even better I got it at the Dunedin dump store for $1 and it’s mint.