Old Film Cameras

An Interview with Andrew Dvorscak.

I grew up in Northwest Indiana and currently live in Lakewood, CO— a western suburb of Denver. Imagine any stereotypical American suburban city, but with steep hills, mountains to the west, and a sweeping view of the great plains and downtown Denver to the east.

My life currently is in a state of constant change, but in the best ways possible. I work in digital marketing at a startup HR tech company, and we are constantly trying to create new products and new ways of working. I’m also getting married in mid-June. And the COVID-19 pandemic has made all of this that much more stressful and "different".

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved visual arts. In elementary school, I remember constantly recreating and sketching the images in my Dragon Ball Z mangas. But it wasn't until middle school, when cellphones started to get higher quality cameras, that I discovered a love for photography. It was such a fun way to capture the feeling and details of a particular moment in life. In high school, I dug up one of my mom's old film cameras from the 90s and realized that film had so much more impact and emotion than my iPhone photos.

This influence can be seen in some of my more recent work, which carries a sense of boketto, meaning to space out and stare or think about nothing in particular. A lot of my photos have a single subject or focal point to them, but I try to widen the frame a little and incorporate more of the subject's surroundings as well. Giving the frame more depth and more opportunity for the eye to wander a bit.

The early morning is my favorite time of day; it always has been. I love to try and find ways to capture light that is particularly interesting or different, and the morning is the best time to see light acting in a visually compelling way. Some of my favorite photographers I look to for inspiration include: Wolfgang Tillmans, Daniel Arnold, Jerry Hsu, Alex Prager, Joel Meyerowitz, Erica Snyder, Michael Jang, and Jason Lee.

And while these individuals definitely spur my creativity, I think the only inspiration needed for photography is personal experience and a good eye. The act of taking a photo itself is just clicking a button in order to capture a particular personal experience in the moment it is happening. Sometimes I feel like I'm "in the mood" to go shooting, but most often the best photos come unplanned. It's important to always have a camera on you at all times or you’re going to miss that moment from the day it was visually interesting.

I don't actively search for opportunities to show off my photos in public ways (other than instagram and giving zines to my friends). Speaking of zines, I love making them. I see them as the opportunity to marry individual photos together into a single page or spread. And I usually look for some sort of common element between the photos when planning the spread. These can be anything from color, lighting, emotion, texture, composition, subject matter, etc

Anyway, I can't say I've ever had a moment that made me think that MY particular body of work is important or powerful. It was actually someone else's work that had the biggest impact on my own attitude and feelings towards my photography. When I read about the Rescued Film Project, finding over 1,200 rolls of undeveloped film in an abandoned house in East Chicago, IN— from an unknown photographer named Paul— I became super inspired to continue taking photos for as long as possible. These rolls of film were all taken between the 1940s-1950s and all of the photos developed so far have been simple scenes of what this man's life was like living in East Chicago during that time. Even if the photos aren't traditionally "beautiful" or "composed", the emotion behind them, the raw look into history and what his daily life was like is a million times more impactful than anything hanging in the world's top museums and galleries.

All this to say, when it comes to my impact on the world, I just want to be simply remembered as a good person. I strive to be like my maternal grandfather every day. I truly don't care if my photos ever take me anywhere in terms of a career or other successes. They’re a record of what my life was like and what was being experienced during this time period for anyone in the future to see.

My name is Andrew Dvorscak. I am currently 26 years old. I grew up in Northwest Indiana “The Region” (Merrillville and Schererville in particular), and was constantly told by my parents as a child to move out of the area when I grew up. I graduated from Purdue Northwest in 2017, and I love ice cream, dogs, cycling and rock climbing, sitcoms, and gardening.

©Alchemy & Elegy