Nathan Cyprys

Where are you from/based now?

I was born in Montreal, grew up in the suburbs of Ontario, and live and work in Toronto now.

What is your background in Photography? What got you started?

I first became seriously interested in high-school when I had the chance to take a photography class. My dad let me use his SLR, and he explained shutter speeds and f-stops to me. Once we started playing around with chemicals and film in my first photography class I fell in love it it. I think the equipment and the process of it was a huge appeal to me at first, there was something romantic about hanging up prints to dry in the dark room.

I graduated with my BFA in Photography from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2010.

What equipment do you use?

I often use a 4x5 press camera- mine has had the the rangefinder ripped off and hood on the back cut open. It's more of a lightweight field camera, and it folds up so I can travel with it easily. I also use a Fuji GS645S, which just had some repairs done to it. I'm really excited to start using it again. I also usually bring a 35mm with me any time I leave the house, lately an Olympus MJU or Canon ELAN.

What are your feelings on Film Vs Digital?

I enjoy shooting on film since it allows me to make prints that hold up really well when enlarged. I also really enjoy the colour rendition that film provides and it's ability to capture highlight and shadow detail. Digital certainly has its uses, and I think it has a certain stigma for "artist photographers", however I see that changing soon. It's perhaps not as big of a stigma as colour photography had before it broke out into galleries, but it's still there in certain circles. While digital doesn't entirely fit my work right now, I'm in no way opposed to it and do use it on occasion (a DSLR to me is especially useful for shooting HD video).

Do you have a creative process? Are your shots planned or spontaneous?

Some shots I'll sketch out, source people and materials and carefully plan lighting. Others can come together much quicker, which is sometimes nice since it allows for a bit more experimentation and play. For my landscape or documentary work I'll usually go out with an idea and aesthetic in mind, and do my best to track it down. With these two approaches in mind, the image making process sometimes feels like poetry and sometimes like hunting, respectively.

The spontaneity of a shot entirely depends on the project I'm developing at that time. If you can tell which camera I used for a shot, then you can tell how spontaneous it likely was. 4x5 is of course the slowest format I use, and 35mm the fastest, the rest falls in-between.

Who or what inspires you?

I recently read Diane Arbus' biography by Patricia Bosworth. Even though our work isn't very similar, I found her story quite inspiring.

Is there a particular photographer, site, set of images or a photo book that you keep coming back to for inspiration?

I believe the influence of photographers such as Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld, Mitch Epstein and Joel Meyerowitz is quite evident in my landscape work. I've been going back to Martin Parr's book/series The Last Resort a bit lately. I also probably spend too much time in front of the computer looking at pictures.

Are you working on a project at the moment?

I'm travelling to the Bahamas very soon. It will be my first time outside of North America, so I'm excited to bring my camera with me. I'm also hoping to release a zine soon, so follow me on Tumblr, Facebook, or keep in touch with my website to find out when it will be available.


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