Featured Project: Searching for Stillness Vol II (Special Preview)
Michael Behlen is a photography enthusiast from Fresno, CA. He works in finance and spends his free time shooting instant film and seeing live music, usually a combination of the two. He has self- published two Polaroid photo books “Searching for Stillness, Vol. 1” and “I Was a Pioneer,” literally a boxed set of his instant film work. He recently had work shown at Tête de L'Art Association's Group ExPolaroid Exhibition, "Polaroid Is Not Dead #2" at Hôtel Pasteur à Rennes in France during the month May 2017. He has been published, been interviewed, and been reviewed in a quantity of magazines and online publications, from” F-Stop” and “The Impossible Project Magazine” to “The Film Shooter’s Collective.” He loves the magic sensuality of instant film: its saturated, surreal colours; the unpredictability of the medium; it’s addictive qualities as you watch it develop. Behlen is the Publisher of PRYME Editions. www.prymeeditions.com
They say that "If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph". (Quote Unknown) I think this is an incredibly insightful statement. I definitely write the story of a man who is trying to find something that is lost in everyday modern life. I think that encompasses my personal freedom that I have willingly lost by making a variety of increasingly responsible decisions that benefit my life in the long term, but in the short time depress me and traps me into a self made box. I try to escape these feelings of entrapment by finding special places in nature that allow me feel alive and free. With this, I would love to say that I create images in a certain way with a specific intent; however, that statement would be a lie. I don’t have anything esoteric to offer with my photography. What I do have are quick 1/60th of a second stories that gives the viewer a glimpse into a rare moment of stillness of my ever changing mind. The art of photography is my way of meditating and becoming one with my machine of choice, a Polaroid Camera.
SFUK: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in photography.
MB:I started shooting digital photography in 2006 and became a live music and wedding photographer. In 2013 I abandoned digital and have shot purely analogue film since then.
SFUK: Why do you shoot film?
MB: I love shooting instant film because of the magic sensuality of it: its saturated, surreal colours; the unpredictability of the medium; it’s addictive qualities as you watch it develop.
SFUK: Who inspires you, any favourite people or places you frequently go to for inspiration?
MB: I use photography as an outlet to fuel my creative side. I work in a finance office so I need an escape. I often go camping, backpacking, and wander through nature with my camera to find inspiration.
SFUK: How would you describe your style of shooting?
MB:I would describe my self as a traditionalist. I am not reinventing the wheel with my images. I am simply searching for the stillness that is provided through the viewfinder. I am looking for symmetry in the wild to bring some into my own life.
SFUK: Do you have a favourite camera or film stock you feel compliments your work?
MB: My favourite camera is the Polaroid SLR680 and my favourite film is Impossible Project Type 600 Speed Film.
SFUK: Do you have any plans for your next project?
MB:I am currently working on my book Searching for Stillness Vol II. I released Vol 1 in 2013 and have become more and more obsessive over perfection. It should be out this December.
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