Interview with Landscape Photographer Roman Loranc
I’m very pleased to present this interview with Roman Loranc, whose landscape photography has inspired me greatly over the years, especially when shooting the British Landscape with large format film a decade ago. It’s not always easy to explain one’s connections to other people’s work, but in this case it is easy: Roman Loranc’s work is simple and intimate and I felt it closely matched my own feelings about the British landscape. Devoid of large imposing mountains or vast landscapes, a photographer has to shoot very differently when working with rocks, plant stems or (at most) a few trees. It’s the photography of ‘anywhere’ and reminds all landscape photographers of what is possible with humble subject matter seen through passionate eyes. So, without further ado:
Extract from Roman Loranc’s website:
“I think about how interconnected the world is… When I’m out on a crisp winter’s morning, shooting a stand of native oaks, I see oak galls hanging from the trees. These were once used to make the pyrogallol chemicals I use to develop my negatives. So the oak trees I am photographing played a part in the developer I use to process my negatives of those trees. It is healthy to remember that we are often linked to the natural world in ways we don’t even suspect.”
TPF: In terms of subject matter, the UK is devoid of the epic scenery that one can find in the US and I think what interested me about your work is that you are not no pursuing the obvious landmarks and digging through the obvious sites.
Roman Loranc: I like that you have this observation because people usually don’t get it. I travel a lot and try to go to places that tourists don’t go and that are not as glorified. I maybe present that landscape a little bit too beautifully and people are sometimes disappointed if they go to the same place.
[Photography] is to be connected to subjects as loosely as possible. This is the thing [I don’t see] in photography now… it’s obvious that B&W photography is manipulated… I [work on the image] in my darkroom and this requires incredible skill to make a good print in the darkroom… I rarely see any good printing [these days], because they don’t teach this [skill set] with classes. Even if [a photograph] is in some way manipulated, it reflects time, freezes time… and you know what’s on the photograph was there. Today in photography it’s all gone…. all the magic is gone. [High-contrast and HDR images] are not for me, it is not photography – it is something different.
TPF: If you are working with film… there are inherent limits to what one can reasonably do and that limitation changes the business of how we take photographs and perhaps changes how people see them?
Roman Loranc: There are limits for me… I put the negative in the enlarger and maybe dodge and burn… I tone because it’s something that reflects the nature of the light. Black and White is quite unrealistic, in some ways, but in the digital world, there is incredible potential for manipulation. However, as [I am aware that some historical photographers] manipulated their work incredibly during the wet process and today it can be done in a few seconds on the computer…. so with photography, everything has already been done… from double exposures onwards. So what has followed has been a really serious approach to the subject, applying love and commitment, rather than looking for gimmick. [By concentrating on whatever you are in love with] eventually some strong work will come out, whether traditional or digital. I see some great digital work now too.
TPF: One of the things I have not been able to understand from looking at other articles about you is how your photography began, in terms of your move to the US, the location you chose and the relationship between early experimentation and what is now a very established career.
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