Bradley Baker is new to the photography world but, with that said, he has captured a surrealism that invokes your imagination. Whether he is on tour around Europe or witnessing something majestic, he has his camera on the ready. He has a documentary-style approach.
First off with the most basic question, how did you get started in Photography?
Bradley: I think that the first time I started taking photos was when my band had its first couple of gigs in Europe. We were all so excited to be leaving the UK together that we decided to buy disposable cameras to document all of the fun we were going to have. I discovered how exciting and fun it was getting pictures developed and found myself looking back through them several times. I got through a few more disposable cameras for the first year or so, and then a close friend asked me to look in charity shops for cameras as he had just started to get into it. Over time I collected a few really cheap cameras, such as old Konica Pops and Holgas, and some expired films. I really started to get into experimenting with the Holga when my band was recording its first album in the countryside. I keep all these photos but the early ones aren’t on disk, as I hadn’t decided to start a blog at that time, but I quite like the fact that they are private and unseen. Over time I’d like to think I have been constantly getting better and hope that it doesn’t stop any time soon!
Was there someone in your life that influenced you?
Bradley: Luckily, being in the music industry, I have had the opportunity to work with many photographers and artists, some as established as Nick Knight. I didn’t pick up that much at the time in terms of technique, but afterwards, when looking back through his previous work I drew inspiration from his psychedelic, dreamlike style. One of my favourites was Gavin Watson. I bought his book Skins & Punks soon after shooting with him, and I think that’s where I got the idea of documenting my adolescent years.
I’m still relatively new to photography, but I would say that my favourite photographer so far is Helmut Newton. I’m just as inspired by the location I am in as I am by the subject, and every one of his photos seem to be in incredible surroundings, whether it be on a dock in the south of France, or in a high rise apartment in New York.
Is there a particular moment that you are trying to capture?
Bradley: When photographing, I tend not to be thinking too much about what I am trying to capture, because I think that if you think about it too hard the moment could have passed. That said, I do see a trend in my photos when people are the subject. I am also always being told by my friend’s dad, that I am always capturing a unique relationship between myself and the ‘machine’, by which he means the old formula 1 car or grand prix motorcycle etc…
Instead of using a digital camera, you use a film camera, which are far and few between, these days. What is it about film that you are drawn to?
Bradley: I think film photography is so much more fun! Like I said previously, it’s so exciting picking up freshly developed photos, to have them in your hand, and to show your friends, where if I used digital cameras I know they would never leave my computer. Also, it’s easier to make a cool interesting photo with a cheap film camera than a cheap digital camera. For example, a blurred photo on film can look really hazy and colourful, but the digital would probably need a lot of editing to achieve a similar result. As I’m still learning, none of my cameras are worth more than £40, but I’m still able to get interesting results, and I’m pretty sure if I had a digital equivalent, the photos would be pretty substandard. They also make a better sound!
Would you say your photography is from a documentary stand point?
Bradley: Yeah pretty much, I mean I always take my camera with me whenever I know that I’m doing something interesting with my band or my friends, but I hardly ever ask people to pose for photos, as I like them to be as natural as possible. When I upload onto my blog, I try to add a set of photos from a particular day or activity in a set, so that it tells a story of what I have seen or been up to, although sometimes I’ll just upload a bunch that have the same colour! I also know that the older I get, the more I will forget, so it’s nice to store the pictures from your youth that you can rediscover again later on.
What is the history behind the old Formula 1 cars and Grand Prix motorcycles, that you feel compelled to capture them?
Bradley: My first passion in life has always been cars and motorcycles, so it’s only natural that I now combine them with my photography. I was pretty much obsessed with all things fast from when I was born, but it’s something that I don’t necessarily have in common with my friends, so I really enjoy showing them the pictures I capture of things I love that they know relatively little about. I adore taking pictures of the old cars and bikes, as they are truly beautiful up close, and you can really see how beautifully crafted they are, and imagine what the people were like who used to drive and ride them. I’ve only once taken photos of modern motorcycles which was at moto gp, but I’m more interested in the riders than the bikes, as they are real heroes of mine.
So you’re combining the elements of what you adore and translating them in a way, to show people their beauty?
Bradley: Totally, I’d like to think that I’m exposing people to something that they would never normally see or be interested in. More importantly than that, I’m doing it through a camera, through a lens, which I am looking through, so they are seeing things how I see them.
-all photos, Bradley Baker