With Black And White Analog You Can Never Go Wrong

The Casual Process Of Street Photography That Allows Subjects To Roam Free

Charming, endearing and ever-fascinating, photography of Hannah & Joel exudes the presence of the cities of Antwerp and Paris. But cities can be only structural without the personalities that clutter their streets. On this occasion, with their new series, Beasley, the photographer duo followed a young model around Paris, capturing her spirit nestled inside the fabric of the modern metropolis.

“Some of our favorite images are moments where we were absolutely not in control and we just allowed life to happen,” they reflect on their process. “We just felt that we could learn so much more by letting the person in front of us roam free.”

With this particular style, enhanced by the power of black and white analog photography, it’s easy to see how this particular series can bring much joy, mystery and intrigue to whoever views it. Beasley comes across as aloof, as if seen through the lens of a voyeur. It’s as if we’re not really supposed to be watching. Indeed, it is the emotion of an image that the photographers really want to grasp. “We crave depth and going to the essence of things rather than floating on the surface.”

We couldn’t help wanting to find out more:

TP: How do you collaborate and work with your subjects?
Hannah & Joel:
We both have a camera in our hands and both circulate around the person we’re picturing. Often one of us will be in conversation with the subject while the other will take more of a background position, capturing the in-between moments where the person often completely forgets that there’s a second camera clicking.

TP: Why black and white?
Aesthetically speaking, we’re both naturally drawn to black and white imagery, but beyond that, it also exposes parts of our personalities and thinking processes. Black and white has the quality of focusing on an emotion by erasing the presence of colour, making pictures feel like they could’ve been taken at any moment in history. We connect to that idea of timelessness, even more so in a society where everything is so fleeting.

TP: Tell us about your latest series, Beasley. Was it a campaign or just shooting for a model?
Beasley had only started modelling 2 weeks before meeting us and I think none of us were in the mood for shooting a classic ‘test shoot’. Instead what we did was meet up with her and show her some of our favourite spots in Paris. We jumped in the fountain at Place de La République, strolled down our favourite market together and bought her her first ever croissant. We love meeting someone, discovering what they’re about, and capturing moments that we’ll all look back on in 30 years from now with a smile on our faces.

TP: What cameras do you use?
We both shoot with analog Leicas. Joel actually still shoots with his grandfather’s M3 (which is an absolute beauty) and I have my MP à la carte that I fell head over heels with when I saw it in Paris for the first time.

TP: There’s a lot of street photography in your albums. What was your approach to those images?
We actually never made a conscious decision to start shooting on the street. Our reality was simply that we were living in Paris at the time that we started building our body of work and we didn’t have anywhere near the financial means to rent a studio downtown. Basically the street was our only option. It made us realize that the kind of woman we want to represent is not a woman that lives between 4 white walls and is bombarded with perfect lighting. Our girl lives, breathes, is very much imperfect and very human (and all the more interesting to us for all of those reasons).

TP: What inspires you to continue doing what you do?
We want to be an advocate for change for the fashion industry, as we’re incredibly aware of how much impact the industry has on all of our daily lives. (Fashion) imagery infiltrates all of our perceptions, and how we perceive our sense of self. Unfortunately the industry is plagued by severe issues such as both male and female objectification, body-consciouness issues, the over-sexualization of teenage girls, high-speed consumerism that has penetrated all areas of our lives and is numbing our spirits and destroying our planet at a dazzling rate, and much, much more. And for the sake of everyone who is —to any extent, impacted by all of this, things need to change.

TP: What’s next for you?
We want to make a positive contribution to change.
We simply want to figure out a way to make the industry work for us all, rather than against us. If we can get people to perceive themselves more positively and find a way for the industry to be a healthy part of our lives, we can finally start spending that precious time on things that have actual value. Life’s too short. That’s what we’re going for. That’s what’s next.

Hannah & Joels’ VIKTOR II: