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Feature of The Week: Connor Lawson

November 12, 20224 min read

Connor Lawson  has been shooting film since he was a kid -disposable cameras were always a favorite birthday gift since he could remember. Years later in high school, Connor evolved his film practice  into film and video production. He was awestruck by skateboard films like Alien Workshop’s - "Photosynthesis" and Emerica - Kids in Emerica and films by Joe Castrucci and Greg Hunt, which utilized super 8 motion picture film for creative lifestyle b-roll, interstitial segments, and portraits.

Once Connor realized he could shoot motion pictures on film, that was a wrap; he dove into shooting super 8 film and photochemical processes for motion pictures and 35mm stills. This love developed around 2008 and Connor has been shooting motion films and stills since. As video and photography became increasingly more digitized, Connor has found the importance of shooting film, printing images from negatives and film screenings. In recent years, Connor experimented with sconce fixtures and solar powered units for street/outdoor installments for his film work. 

Currently, his 35mm still work has been mostly lifestyle point and shoot with my Olympus mju ii and a Nishika N8000 - a quadrascopic camera. Connor shoots with s8mm and s16mm for documentary and music video projects. This gives him the quality, texture, color palettes and grounding nature that film and printed material have.

Connor fears losing photos or motion pictures to the digital abyss. He tries to be involved with film communities - such as Mono No Aware, a cinema arts non-profit operating in Brooklyn. Connor says “It is one of the last great vestiges of analog motion picture film in NY and probably the US.”

What’s your connection to BCD? (New to the community, been around since the dawn of time? I just develop and scan - anything just to get a reference :3)

I'm relatively new to BCD, I've had a couple rolls recently processed during the shutdown and done flatbed scanning at the facility. I love that it's in my old neighborhood and is a valuable asset for the creative community, it's also rad that they offer financial aid for photographers. Film isn't cheap but that doesn't mean it should be inaccessible. I think BCD is a huge asset to the Bushwick and the film community. I don't want to imagine a world where places like BCD don’t exist. The photochemical film world has diminished dramatically over the past decade. I don't want it to get any smaller. We need places to share our knowledge and learn about our craft. 

How have the current events and environments affected your photography?

March 13th, I was packed and ready to head to SXSW with a Brooklyn band, Stuyeyed, when the plug got pulled on the tour I had over a dozen rolls of S8 and 35mm each, so during quarantine I started photo journaling some of my favorite household items at times of day when the light was perfect. As the lockdown started to ease and the protests began popping up, I felt more comfortable getting out there and taking photos again. I'm still a little nervous to get too close to a subject but I'm thrilled to get outside and document the power of the people and the new found joy of returning outside. 


How does photography aid with your message?  

I think that photography has the ability to grab your attention and make you think and feel a moment that exists beyond you much more successfully than reading or hearing about something. I watch countless videos of what is going on around me and it certainly makes an impact as well but photos have that singular moment that allows me to reflect and expand, rather than just overpower my emotions. 

What organizations are you supporting? 

I recently held a tiny fundraiser for BLM non-profits and organizations. We ended up donating to BLM organizations like BLM - Black Lives Matter Organization @blklivesmatter, GLITS - Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society @glits_Inc, The Okra Project - a collective that seeks to address the global crisis of violent by providing resources and meals to Black Trans people worldwide @theokraproject, Free The Work - A nonprofit global initiative and talent discovery platform for underrepresented  @Freethework and Revolutionaries NYC - is an inner city based organization for the purpose of bringing about social change. Currently this group is managed by marginalized youth who serve as advocates for those affected by Police Brutality


I also personally support Mono No Aware - cinema arts non-profit org and film positive community @mononoawwarefilm


What is your favorite analog photography documentary, blog, or podcast? 

I've listened to a few podcasts and posts from Brooklyn Film Camera, love those guys and I've learned a lot from Steve (Founder) at Mono No Aware. Documentaries: "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks", "Harry Gruyaert. Photographer" on vimeo, I watch as much as I can by Agnes Varda and DA Pennebaker. I could honestly use some recommendations as well. :) 

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