Artist Feature – J Davies

Meet Australian-based photographer J Davies who was so kind to share their beautiful photographs and give us some insight on what analog photography means to them.

Where are you from, how old are you?
Kia ora, my name is J Davies. I am 28 years old, and I live and work in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia.

Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and how your love for photography came to life? 
I am a queer, agender, takataapui artist predominently working with analogue and instant photography, digital and analogue based video, as well as poetry and text.

From an early age I found myself fascinated by old family photo albums and slideshows at funerals. Seeing the documentation of an entire life, of family and friends, the progression of self expression and style – I was always a dreamer and I’d get lost in photographs for hours. I began exploring photography as an art form when I was about 14-15. My friend and I would buy disposable cameras and take them to parties and take photos of ourselves for our Myspace pages!

Do you professionally work as a photographer? 
Yep! I am an exhibiting artist and have published 1 book, alongside 6 independently published zines. I frequently document queer nightlife in Naarm, as well as music festivals and fashion.

Why do you like to take analog pictures?
Growing up all of the photographs I was inspired by had been taken on film, 35mm, 120, slide, super 8! Film produces such vibrant colours and beautiful grain details that make the images feel otherworldly, surreal, often dreamlike. There’s a real romance to analogue cameras and film as well, a nostalgic association to past memories and holding on to precious moments before smart phones existed.

I quite like the challenge and restriction of producing photographs with film. It can often be hard to predict exactly how the images will turn out and that keeps it exciting for me.

Do you shoot digital as well?
Early on in my career I used digital cameras in studio settings but often found myself with 500+ images to scroll through and attempt to edit. I gave up on digital shortly after I had invested in my 3rd(maybe 4th?) external harddrive. I do still use a digital handycam, but only for video work.

Do you have a favorite subject to photograph? If so, why?
My oeuvre is an ongoing archiving of my life. My photographs offer glimpses into my every day and my extended queer whānau. Intimacy, identity and neurodivergency are all very common themes within my work.

What’s your favorite analog camera?
During Naarm’s many extended lockdowns I found myself needing something to look forward to – a little treat. I decided to invest in a Contax T2 and I remember being so nervous about using it the first few times. Now it comes with me everywhere I go! My little baby.

Do you have a favorite revolog film? 
This is quite a hard decision because they’re all so unique. I am mostly drawn to the hue-variant based films; 600nm and kolor, but I’m also very partial to the Tesla I and Tesla II films.

Do you have a favorite photograph (revolog or not) that you took that you would like to share with us (and the story behind it)? 
I took this photograph of me and my partner, at the time, during one of Naarm’s many, lengthy lockdowns in 2021. Although we have since broken up, the image itself still holds a lot of sentimentality, a lot of love and a lot of positive memories. There is an embedded comfort in the intertwining of our limbs, a comfort in the way our bodies rest between each other. The film was lomography branded, I can’t remember which film stock, but the artificial hues add elements of dreams and fantasy.

Any advice for other aspiring photographers?
Shoot as much as you can. You can’t get better unless you figure out what better means to you. I work prolifically, constantly shooting so I can grow an archive of works and allow my style to change and develop.

Do you have any future projects you’d like to talk about?
I just released my 6th zine, titled No Angel, for presale. The publication is a 48 page booklet comprising 35mm photographs and 3 pieces of writing. It might be my favourite zine so far! 

I am also currently working on a solo show that will open here in Naarm at Incinerator gallery on February 3, 2023. The Sentimentality of Something Unseen presents a photographic exhibition of new and archival works exploring both the sensual and the sensuous experiences of queerness.

We want to thank J for taking the time to answer our questions and share their great work with us. Be sure to follow them via instagram or have a look at their website:

Featured products: KolorSolarTesla 1Volvox

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