Celluloid storyteller Laurence Bascle welcomes the unpredictability of analogue photography and its potential to take her tales in new directions.

Celluloid storyteller Laurence Bascle welcomes the unpredictability of analogue photography and its potential to take her tales in new directions.

Laurence Bascle always knew she wanted to tell stories, but only embraced photography because it was easier than picking up a pen. She has since discovered the immense potential of the camera as a storytelling tool, however what keeps her fascinated by analogue photography is the element of surprise that creeps in, despite the author’s intentions. By contrast, the scattergun approach adopted by many digital photographers allows them to select images and control the narrative after the event. Analogue photographers must make these decisions in the heat of the action, committing themselves to capturing each moment and it’s this adrenaline rush that keeps Laurence glued to her viewfinder.

When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I guess I really started shooting in my early twenties when I decided my dad’s old Asahi Pentax was mine and brought it to London. I’d always had a penchant for storytelling, and photography was the lazy shortcut from writing.

What is it you love about film photography?
I chuckle when I realise I belong to that generation that grew up surrounded by technology that has strange colours, textures and smells. I love film for that, just like I love and still own cassette tapes. There is nothing like the excitement of holding negatives against the window light and trying to work out how or if a picture came out.

The other adrenaline rush is caused by the limited number of shots, you have no choice but to discriminate and commit there and then. You have to live by your split second choice. When I see people shoot in digital, it feels some are downright filming so much they are shuttering away. I guess it’s a different art, but analogue is to be in the moment. Digital feels it’s all about deciding what life was all about retroactively.

What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I am a music fan at heart, from rap to folk and am always on the look out for new musical styles. I also love surfing and can spend hours staring at the ocean. I did quite a bit of gig photography and have been with other photographers in the pit. Funnily enough, I often found myself staring at them thinking ‘do you understand anything about music?’ rather than ‘do you understand anything about photography’? Because both music and surfing are totally immersive experiences, I still have that attitude when I shoot. I am with my subject, the camera is a tool to become one with that moment.

Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
My photography has no influences or references, it is very instinctive. That being said, I greatly admire Vivian Maier and Don McCullin, their photography is such a feast, capturing human nature at its core. I believe it’s because in street photography or photo journalism you are yourself as exposed as your subject and that’s how you connect. At the other end of the spectrum, I love what Erik Johansson does with digital, he doesn’t capture real life poetry, he recreates it pixel by pixel.

What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I nearly felt like saying ‘I wish photography fitted into my job’, but then I realise I don’t.  I work as a Technical Project Manager for an NGO in London. I am a rather geeky girl who spends her days talking to software developers, so I am glad my photography is unfettered from commercial demands. Being naturally quite binary it was a natural fit, and I hope that this one day will inform my ambition to be a good black & white photographer!

How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
Apart from my personal Flickr account, my work has only been shared amongst friends and family.
I do scan all my films, and depending on their quality, I usually edit the colour balance. I was devastated when Kodak suspended their production of Portra 120 VC Pro, these colours were perfect, I never had to retouch anything!

About stories, I feel it is the magic of photography that the story is revealed after the picture is taken, almost in spite of the author. Though I am improving at capturing the exact moment and exact light I want, there is always that element of surprise that makes it a thousand times more interesting than my intentions. The discrepancy between the two is my personal story. As for the public story, I guess it’s about little moments of grace, through people and landscapes.

Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
It is a mix, generally I prefer documentary, again I think chance is currently a better creator than I am. If I shoot with friends I might ask them to pose because the posing is part of our play and relationship and that is exactly what I am trying to capture.

If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
That’s a tough one! I guess it would have to have a lot of contrast both in light and in subject, a mix of utter destruction and hope.

Check out more of Laurence’s work on Flickr.

My Life in Analogue continues! If you’d like to be featured send a folio of 10 analogue images to hello@tcolondon.com using the subject line MY LIFE IN ANALOGUE. We look forward to seeing your work!