1. Name Mike Dinsmore
2. Residence Osaka, Japan (though I travel all over Japan for work)
3. Years Shooting I started doing photography in 1998 when I got a Pentax manual film camera for my birthday. My high school had a dark room and that’s where I learned to shoot and process film. I studied photography in college but during university in the early 2000’s I switched to digital. In 2015 I got back into film photography and I have been falling back in love ever since.
4. Years Shooting Film 20 years, including my 10 year hiatus.
5. Why Film? A few years ago, I was talking to my brother about how I was getting back into shooting film. He asked me why and I went on about film having soul and such. Then he asked how I got the pictures on my phone. I said I scanned them. He said, “well isn’t that the same as shooting digital?”
I am by no means a film purest, though I shoot film about 80% of the time. I shoot digital when I need to but I don’t believe in the myth that shooting film gives you something tangible while digital is only a bunch of 1’s and 0’s. The same can be said about writing a blog on the internet versus publishing a book. What is important is your idea and how you show it to the world is only a detail.
So why film? I like film because it limits me. When I shoot film, I have to make some decisions about how I want to convey my idea before I even start shooting: color or black and white, iso 100 or 800, half frame or medium format. These limitations challenge my creativity. I choose film because I love its unpredictability. I love the light leaks, the scratches, and the misalignment of the film. I choose film because it is not perfect.
At the end of the day with your final print in hand, if the only thing you can talk about is the process that led up to the print, then you need a more interesting subject matter.
Also, I choose film because I love saying to my friends, as smug as possible, “Wait up, I have to change… my film.”
6. Why Halfframe? Honestly, I bought my first hafframe camera because I love the diptychs and triptychs that form when you sequence two or three photographs together. I love making panoramas and I’m so happy when they line up.
7. What's your favorite Halfframe camera? What are your favorite films with halfframe? What's your favorite combo? I live in Japan and I find halfframe cameras everywhere. Mostly they are junk but I buy them for about $5 and I attempt to fix them. I got a Canon Demi for $10 and I shot with it all summer. Then in the fall the shutter started to stick. Now I am shooting with an Olympus Pen D F1.9. It is has a better lens than the Demi, however the Demi was nice because it was automatic and fit in my pocket easier. My choice of film is Kodak Tri-X 400 and Fuji 100 Color.
My favorite combo is the Olympus Pen D with Tri-X 400 shot at iso 200.
8. What are you trying to do or show with your halfframe work? My half frame camera is small and easy to ignore and because of this no one gives you a second look when you pull it out. I love walking around the neighborhood in the mornings taking pictures of various aspects of Japanese life.
9. When you aren't shooting halfframe you are shooting… either my Mamiya 6 or in the studio with my monstrous Mamiya RZ67. I also have a Nikon FA and a Pentax Spotmatic, but I don’t shoot those cameras as much as I'd like.
10. Anything else you'd like us to know about you? Other hobbies or interests? Where to follow you besides on IG, etc. I really like to swim and run and I am often conflicted with how to spend my time. I like running in the morning and the light is always so perfect that time of day. I often wish I had my camera with me but if I did I wouldn’t run as hard and would probably stop to take pictures. Instagram is really the only place I share photos and engage with other artists.