Photography is just one of many mediums Aran Wilkinson-Blanc uses to express himself. This form of documenting people and places, especially Calgary, which is continually undergoing changes allows him to record the smaller moments and bits of space which vanish so quickly and completely.
Being Aran’s first involvement in the Exposure Photography Festival this year, he showcases portraits of people, along with images of our environments, describing his collection as “small moments, forgotten places, the shifting forms of our constructed world and the relationships we have with technology; how it shapes our interactions with each other.”
The Willow Herzog
Erin In Copper
He attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts for Photography at the University of Calgary but as a child he enjoyed working in paper mache, building pinatas and making small things like wooden miniatures, wax and various types of clay sculptures. “Unfortunately I began taking an interest in larger sculptural works which caused logistical problems, as anyone else who ever attempted to build a life-size paper mache triceratops will tell you.”
His first camera was a Kodak 126 film camera that resembled a small blue brick with scratch and sniff Pac-Man stickers on it, he remembers taking it to a friends birthday when I was about four or five to document the event.
Nowadays Aran used two still cameras, a Canon 5D and an infrared modified 7D, which were both used for his latest collection. Previously using an analogue Nikon camera, he appreciates how pleasantly easy the upgrade to digital has been. “I’ve experimented a lot with achieving the same look or style with my digital shots as I had with film and then playing with the result- but the digital Infrared has far exceeded what was possible with film.”
Preferring digital photography now, the immediacy of feedback and the creative freedom that digital affords, allows him to see what a shot looks like instantly, to make immediate decisions and changes to his approach, as opposed to film where you have to wait to finish a roll then develop it before seeing the result. “You also have to make a lot of decisions before shooting with film, even something as basic as deciding whether to shoot black and white or color. There isn’t as much leeway and so many aspects of film photograph are locked into the shooting media.”
Photoshop is also a great tool in achieving an artist’s final vision he tells us, however it concern him how ingrained a single program by one corporation is to photography. Aran avoids the more dramatic features of the software, “I’m more interested in capturing what is actually happening in real life, and conveying the feeling of the moment or subject” he tells us, and when creating a staged setting prefers to work with a physically setup.
Walk Along The Floodplain
Encroachment Of The Newly Arrived
Automatic Acoustic Attenuation
Stack Of Boxes
Much of his inspiration comes from German Expressionism and Film Noir, from a film standpoint to be two important inspirations, as well as architecture, especially following the influences of Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mackintosh, and painters like Edward Hopper, Manet, Modigliani, Renoir, Whistler, Andrew Wyeth; Printmakers such as Hopper, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Martin Lewis.
Aran is in pre-production plan with a friend to shoot a short film this spring but look out for a photography book themed around the Lido Cafe in Kensington just before it was torn down.