a chinwag with photographer nathan kaso
Who doesn’t love a wedding? The event is one big family shindig filled with laughter, dancing, and spontaneous speeches from tipsy relatives. Nathan Kaso (aka Analog Modern) takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to documenting these moments, and treats his subjects as if they're members of his own family. Below, the Melbourne shutterbug chats with us about his love of film, and offers up some handy tips for aspiring photographers.
Hi Nathan, who are you and what do you do? I'm a photographer and filmmaker from Melbourne. I work across weddings, portraits, commercials and anything else I can find to point my camera at. I'm also a husband and father of two little scallywags.
When did you first pick up a camera? I've been taking photos for a long time, but it wasn't until my wife and I had children that I became truly passionate about it. Documenting the lives of my family quickly became a huge priority for me, and sent me down a deep rabbit hole of thought into the importance of family photography and the legacy we can leave with the images we create.What got you interested in wedding photography? Photographing weddings very much feels like an extension of my own family photography. I want to capture images that transport you back into the moment they were taken, and fill you with the feelings you had at that exact moment in time. To me, the best images aren't the prettiest ones, or those that are technically correct. They’re the photos where I can see a bit of someone's personality, and can be reminded of who they are, even if it's only in the smallest way.
What do you enjoy shooting most? My favourite cinematographer Roger Deakins once said, "There is nothing more interesting to capture than the human face," and I very much agree. Simply put, I love photographing people, and those closest to me are by far my favourite subjects. My favourite photo I have taken is a portrait of my grandma (who turned 88 this year), sitting in her home which she has lived in since the 1960s. She is seated at the piano my mum had lessons on as a kid, surrounded by three generations of her own family's wedding photos.
What makes you so passionate about shooting on film? There are so many reasons I love shooting on film, but there are two things that stand out the most. Firstly, images captured on film are just beautiful. I love the colours and tones, and how you can actually see the tiny grains which the image is made up of. These are not pixels, but physical objects – however small – that together have been touched by the same light that reflected off the subject in the image.
Secondly, and most importantly, having a finite number of shots on each roll has made me a better photographer. It has taught me to really concentrate on what is happening in front of my lens, and to wait for (in the words of Henri Cartier-Bresson) the decisive moment, so that each image taken is worthwhile and deserving of being captured.When it comes to taking photos, do you prefer a more controlled set-up or spontaneous style? I actually really love both. I take a very considered approach to my portraits. I like to take my time and look at every detail in the frame. Conversely, my approach to capturing candid images is very much one of photojournalism. I aim to be a fly on the wall, observe behaviour, wait for a moment to present itself and capture it without intruding on the people I am documenting.
What’s the trickiest part about shooting on film? To begin with, the hardest part is not being able to immediately see your images. But once you gain experience and find a way to get a result you are happy with, you will discover that film is unbelievably consistent. If you keep shooting the same way over and over, film will give you the same result, every single time.
Any advice for people who want to start using analog cameras? The best thing you can do is find a good photo lab and develop a relationship with them. When you start shooting on film, it's very hard to know why you are getting the results that you are, regardless of whether they are good or bad. Getting feedback from the lab, who are responsible for developing and scanning your film, helps you understand what you are doing right and wrong, and will help you achieve your intended result.What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos? Outside of photography and spending time with my family, I love hitting the trails on my gravel bike. Exercise is so important for maintaining good mental health. Being self-employed, it can be difficult to switch off from work, and cycling has provided me with a great outlet to clear my mind, improve my physical health and top up on a bit of vitamin D.