A few weeks ago, I came across Rommel Pecson’s stunning black and white images from his year-long project, New York: A Pictorialist Journey. His timeless poetic depiction of the city immediately drew me in. Captured with Polaroid cameras and analog instant film, the New York project reference a bygone era, in Photography and in an ever-changing city. I recently had the pleasure of talking to Rommel about his work which is on display at the Impossible Project Space New York through September 20th.
1. Tell us a little about your recent photography project New York: A Pictorialist Journey.
I spent more than half my adult life in New York. I love this city and the images of the past haunt me in the streets. Things are rapidly changing, I know it’s progress, but the landscape and the atmosphere that I fell in love with is disappearing quickly. This project is to embrace nostalgia and futilely attempt to bring back the past through images taken with instant films.
2. How did you get into photography?
I had always been fascinated by images from Time Life and National Geographic magazines as I was growing up, as well as Japanese prints. While pursuing Engineering, I took an elective photography class, which I guess “awakened” my interest.
3. What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I really have no inclination on what to photograph, I am constantly walking and looking for that moments to capture and allow things to happen naturally.
4. Can you describe your photographic style?
Editorial photography. I always aim to create stories or documents events, places and people.
5. What role does memory play in your photographs?
The images that I looked at growing up really influenced my photographic style. Japanese prints have a huge influenced on my composition style, and the editorial images from Time Life influence my pictorial sense of creating a story. Now that I am not pursuing photojournalism, it’s like I am reporting on my inner sense of the world, rather than an objective representation.
6. Film or digital — and why?
People make mistakes on treating both mediums as if they were the same thing. They are both unique and different mediums. Each one has their place and benefits the craft of certain groups of people. I own both; digital photography benefited me immensely when working as a photojournalist. However, I have continually used film for personal projects because I like the slow process of working on film as much as the end result. I find it therapeutic.
7. What’s currently in your camera bag?
A Polaroid SX70 camera and a Bronica S2 medium format with 2 film holders for color and black and white.
8. Who inspires you?
My family, watching my children grow inspires me to be a better person and to document history to pass it along to them.
9. Do you have any photo projects in the works?
New York: A Pictorialist Journey is an ongoing project. I am also working on honing my skills in large format portraiture, specifically 8×10.
10. Tell us an illuminating detail about yourself that we may not know from reading your site . . .
Hmm… I’m very shy. I guess this is another reason why I have chosen photography to visually express myself.
Thanks for sharing your work with us, Rommel!
Nikki | Art & Lemons