Would you mind introducing yourself? First off, thanks for giving me this opportunity to share a bit about myself and I am so excited to be doing this interview for Hippo! My name is Damien Weidner and I am based out of Lancaster, PA. I am a photographer who this past year decided to shoot film for all my personal work while travelling and I also enjoy shooting weddings on the side.
Damien's Instagram - @damienweidner
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I first started getting into photography as a kid. I used to spend hours looking through skateboarding magazines, cutting out my favourite photos and hanging them up in my bedroom. Having that influence I naturally started thinking about images in my head. I was able to take a photo class in high school and ended up winning some awards, which put me in the place to buy my first camera. That was back in 2009. After buying that camera my focused shifted away from photography and I invested most of my time skateboarding and playing different sports. It wasn’t until my third year in college that I picked up the camera and started to shoot again. I had a friend ask me if I would want to go to Oregon and for me, it was a no-brainer. I was a huge Goonies fan growing up and always wanted to see the coast out there. We ended up spending two weeks driving all over Oregon and I found such a love for capturing the process and the highlights of the trip. At this point, I was shooting purely digital and it wasn’t until this last fall that I bought a Mamiya RZ67. My good friend had been shooting film for awhile and it really intrigued me; I love the way that film keeps you in the moment and you think less about the photo after its taken and you can just stay present. It’s a done deal once it's taken and you can just enjoy the moment. So I decided to take the leap and buy the Mamiya.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? This past August I took a trip out to Glacier National Park with a few friends and we decided to do a hike out to Iceberg Lake. It was about an 8-mile round-trip hike and once making it to the lake it was one of the most surreal moments. The lake was incredible and to see these icebergs floating around was just insane. On the way back my one friend broke their ankle and we all were kind of working together to get back to the car. And even though it’s not the most fun memory, it was such a beautiful moment of teamwork and being surrounded by the most incredible views. Its kind of a strange memory to be my favourite, but there was just something so beautiful and memorable about it all.
Who/What inspires you to take these wonderful photographs? My friend, Adam Naples, is one of my greatest inspirations as he was the jumpstart to get me into film photography. Aaron Smith is also another photographer I really, really love even though it's completely different than what I shoot. I always trip out on his photos and it’s very much the early inspiration that got me into photography. I remember sending him an email asking what camera stuff he used and all that. He was super nice about it too. It’s been cool to see his career too. He got into the industry shooting skateboarding and is now doing some killer editorial work.
What kind of camera do you use? While I’m travelling I like bring my M6 and if I’m super stoked about something I’ll bring along my Mamiya RZ67. The Mamiya is definitely my favourite camera. And then for weddings, I have a Canon 5DIII.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? I think the biggest tip I could give someone is to just photograph the things you’re passionate about. Its really hard to put your heart into something you don’t love, so whatever gets you excited or whatever your heart is in is definitely reflected in what your shooting. If you’re looking to break into film, the best way to do that is to just start doing it. The more you shoot film the more you know how it works and you are able to start picking up on the way light affects the film. Just like anything the more you do something the more you’ll understand it and be able to know what you're doing.
What are some of your passions/hobbies other than photography? I love skateboarding. I have done it ever since I was a young kid and I try to do it whenever I can. Its had a huge influence on me creatively and just as a person. I also love ultimate Frisbee and helped make a team in college which I hope to join another team pretty soon here.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Again, Adam Naples and Aaron Smith are in my top favourites for sure. I also love Chris Amat and the way he captures such clean and natural editorial images. Fred Mortagne has some beautiful work and a beautiful way of capturing moments with light and movement. Some of my favourite skateboarding shots are by him. Obviously there are more, but these are the first that come to mind.
Anything extra you would like to share? I’m a slight camera nerd and love talking about anything photography or film. Feel free to hit me up on Instagram or wherever if you have any questions or want to nerd out on anything with me! (@damienweidner)
Alsooo my girlfriend, Janelle, helped type most of this out for me cause I’m awful at getting my thoughts out. Shout out to her for being awesome, she’s also such an amazing photographer; she kills the fashion and wedding scene! Check out her work, her handle is @janelleputrich.
Don't forget to follow Damien on Instagram! (@damienweidner) If you have the time, go check out his website as well! (www.damienaweidner.co) Janelle's website is (www.janelleputrichphotography.com), so be sure to check that out as well!