EYEBALLS - Matthias Dandois 'HAROZONA'

"I instantly loved the fact that with 35mm, you need to think more about what you shoot"

7 Aug 2020

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Photography by Matthias Dandois | Interview and intro by Kevin Connors

I have always been curious and excited anytime I see a rider or friend shooting a film camera. For me it just shows how much they appreciate the trip and or that moment enough that despite knowing there is likely a photographer around, they still bring their camera and shoot what matters to them the most. I had seen Matthias posting some film picture here and there on Instagram, then suddenly he drops an amazing book 'Into The Unknown'. After a short four day trip with the Haro crew to Arizona and seeing him shoot his Lieca M4, I noticed he truly knows and understands that camera. I had to dig a little deeper...

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What first started getting you into shooting photos?

Honestly its BMX that (seriously) got me into photography. I have been around incredible photographers such as Vincent Perraud, Manu Sanz, Hadrien Picard really early on and have been super interested by the process of getting a good shot. You know getting a good BMX photo is a collaboration between a rider and a photographer, so I kind of got interested organically.

How long have you been actively shooting now?

I have been shooting photos as long as I can remember, my parents would give me disposable cameras when I was at summer camps when I was like five or six years old. I was just shooting really random stuff, but I knew I always liked having a lil souvenir from those trips. I think it stuck around as I was growing up.

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All self taught? Or have you just naturally picked it up and learned off of being around so many different photographers over the years?

Well a lil bit of both I guess. My photographer friends taught me the basic then you just have to kind of go your own way and start shooting what you like the way you like. I guess every photographer in the world are self taught. It’s all about trials and error, making mistakes and learn from them. Get creative, just like riding BMX.

Did you ever shoot digital? Or was it one of those, like many of us, you saw a style and feel that led you to film?

I had learnt on a digital Canon camera, but then iPhones kind of got better than DSLR and more convenient to shoot photos so I mostly used my phone. The thing with phones, is that you shoot everything all the time, I was kind of overwhelmed with it and I needed something more analog. I started to get into film photography after a trip in Japan four years ago. I got myself a used Nikon FE and started to fuck with it. I instantly loved the fact that with 35mm, you need to think more about what you shoot, you need to think about the angle, the composition, the light… Film is kinda expensive and are obviously harder to develop than just shooting digital, so you have to pay more attention, be more mindful. In 2020, being mindful of what you are doing is kind of a luxury, everything is happening so fast. For me, shooting film is my meditation, my moment of mindfulness. I also love to wait a month before I develop my films, you kind of forget what you shot and its a surprise when you develop your films. Its Christmas everyday. I love that shit.

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Do you only shoot a specific type of film, as the color palette and feel seems to have a great consistency about them?

I used to shoot with a bunch of different films. Now I mostly use the Fujifilm Fujicolor 400. The color looks good to me, and Fujifilm is a rad company.

So what’s the story behind your Lieca? Was it a camera that found you or one that just was purely always calling your name?

So as I was getting more and more into shooting film, My Nikon FE became a bit outdated. My girlfriend got me a Leica M4 for my 30th birthday and it was the greatest gift I ever got. I use that shit everyday.

Favorite lens?

I just have a 50mm for my Leica. Its great. You gotta be creative with the 50mm.

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Where did the idea for your book come from? Was it a project you shot for specifically or something that just evolved into what it became?

The idea for the book started with Mike Dewitt. It's kind of pointless to shoot film to only put them on Instagram, so we had the idea of printing our favorite photos and made it into a book. Something sweet to look back on.

You ended up shooting the cover of Vogue, that is certainly something to be proud of. How did that end up coming about and happening?

Man its fucking crazy, its kind of every fashion photographer's dream to shoot the cover of Vogue haha. My girlfriend and I were confined during Covid19 in NYC and Vogue came up with an "at home" editorial. I shot her in our place in New York and ended up getting the cover. Definitely something I am very proud of!

Have you ever developed or toyed with the idea of developing your own work?

For now it is just a hobby, my meditation, I do it for myself, let’s see how this goes.

Any goals or plans for where you’d like to take your work in the future?

Honestly no. We have another book in the work with Mike - stoked on that. We will take it from there!

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