Part 9 of our calendar photographers feature is Melissa Fletcher-Young, whose Tesla 2 photo is shown in the month of August in our 2019 calendar. One of her favorite cameras is super special, read on to find out why.
Where are you from, how old are you?
I am from Melbourne, Australia, but I moved to London just under a year ago for a bit of a change of scenery. I’m 27 years old.
Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be a photographer?
I’ve been taking photos for about two or three years now. I’ve always had a bit of an interest in photography but couldn’t really get my head around the technical aspects of it. It wasn’t until an old housemate of mine that is a great photographer himself started talking about it and gave me some film to use in an old plastic Holga camera I had, that my interest in film photography really started to develop. With that, I slowly taught myself the technical aspects of the process through trial and error, and my interest developed as I saw the results of it all. Eventually I upgraded my cameras, started playing around with different processes and films, and basically haven’t stopped taking photos since.
Do you professionally work as a photographer?
No I don’t! I work in television operations, which I quite enjoy. As much as I think I’d enjoy a more creative career like photography, I really like having it as a hobby that I can pick up and put down as I like, and don’t have any pressures or expectations surrounding that. I’d maybe like to pick up some freelance creative photography projects in the future, but I think I’d like to develop my skills a bit more first.
Why do you like to take analog pictures? Do you shoot digital as well?
I really don’t shoot digital at all. It was analogue photography that caught my interest in photography, so I’ve never really strayed from it. There’s something about the process of shooting on film that I really like, it completely slows you down and makes you consider what you shoot much more than when you shoot on a digital camera, or even a phone. The fact that I don’t want to waste my film on a bad shot is what makes me think about what I’m shooting, and the way that I am shooting it. I also kinda enjoy the process of waiting to go get film developed. Sometimes I forget some of the things I took photos of and get a nice surprise when I get my developed film back and can see the results.
Is there a certain background story behind the picture that is featured in August of our 2019 calendar? If so, would you like to share it with us?
I took this photo a couple of years ago now, not too long after I had gotten into taking photos on film! It was taken in a place called Cactus Country, a weird little park in a town called Strathmerton, sort of on the border of two Australian states, Victoria and New South Wales. I’d had a bit of a crappy few weeks at work, was sort of sick of everyone around me, so I decided pretty last minute to take myself on a road trip for the weekend specifically to visit Cactus Country. The three hour journey each way is probably the farthest I’ve ever driven on my own. Cactus Country itself is literally just a large property, owned by a couple local to the area, that is filled with thousands of different species of cacti and succulents, which is kind peculiar to find in rural Australia. I had a great time exploring the area and taking lots of photos, and I returned to Melbourne feeling better and less angry at the world.
Do you have a favorite subject to photograph? If so, why?
I’m mostly drawn to nature and landscapes, as well as interesting buildings and architecture. Since moving to London last year I’ve gotten to do quite a bit of travelling, and have really enjoyed shooting the beautiful and distinctive different landscapes of the places I’ve been.
What’s your favorite analog camera?
My old faithful at the moment is my Canon FTb, an old, no frills SLR from the ’70’s. I got sand in it recently though so I’m not sure how much more life it has in it unfortunately, it might be time for an upgrade! I also have a big soft spot for my Nishika N8000, its a 3D camera with four lenses that takes four half frame photos at once. I get the scans and edit the four photos together to make gifs which is a lot of fun!
Do you have a favorite revolog film?
I’m a big fan of the Tesla and Tesla 2 films, I’ve used a few rolls of them now and there’s pretty much no shot that can’t be improved with a random bolt of lightening or two. It’s what was used in the picture featured in your calendar too.
Do you have any future projects you’d like to talk about?
Nothing in particular at the moment, just working to improve my skills and be as creative as I can. I’m sort of doing an ongoing project where I photograph the flats in London I’ve lived in, I’ve ended up in a couple of pretty dodgy places now so the results are always pretty amusing. Also just trying to get better at portraits as it’s something i don’t have a lot of experience with yet.
Thank you, Melissa! Wonderful work!