Why I follow eddy.and.june on Instagram
I am writing this at home, in the early hours of an ordinary Tuesday morning in Birmingham. Chinese New Year has come around and we are in the Year of the Dog. Happy New Year.
In this strange and uncertain world, there are a few things that you can be certain about: death is the obvious one, getting stuck in some form of traffic, the need for an income to secure your basic needs as well as being bombarded on a daily basis by imagery, especially photography. Worse than this, we are surrounded by a lot of average, predictable, boring photography. Worse than that we regularly see boring photography of extra-ordinary things e.g. most landscape photography is some mountain or other that you have never been to but have somehow “seen” before even though it may have been a different mountain in another completely different part of the world taken on an expensive camera using a lens that could probably pay for a small car. For some reason that kind of photography reminds of intricate heavy metal riffs, lots of pointless un-engaging fiddling.
That’s why I follow eddy.and.june on Instagram. Their Instagram feed provides an antidote to stuffy self-important photography. Take a look below.
Who are they?
Eddy.and.June. describe themselves as “Two People. Hella Cameras.Lots of film”. They take analog photographs of seemingly ordinary scenes, usually on 35mm film, sometimes using deposable film cameras. For me, their photographs capture something quietly comical or poetic that would have been overlooked were it not for the curious eye of either Eddy or June.
Eddy and June themselves are enigmatic and elusive figures, the never take selfies other than of their shadows or distorted reflections, they don’t seem to have a website, the don’t appear to be scrambling for an ‘Influencer’ gig. Their names alone and in combination effortlessly convey their ordinary yet distinctive style. Based on info from their feed, they are a couple with a young son who I think are based in the United States but they don’t often geotag their photos so this is a guess based on the look of the content. They’re definitely not based in Birmingham (UK).
It seems that their son, O, is also showing signs of photographic talent based the photo below. That’s an analog photograph on 35mm film taken by a 2-year-old, Eddy and June’s two year old!
Their feed depicts a quiet adventure of interesting and overlooked empty space across America.
They take pictures of walls with subtle colour differences caused by shadows, lights, re-plastering, painted over graffiti as well as quirky combinations of street furniture from sofas beside bins to leaking drain pipes. The film shot colours keep their glow despite being scanned digital images.
To me, I see a preoccupation with colour, humour, light, smallness and fragments of scenes. I hated using the “q-word” to describe their subject matter, but I really admire their idiosyncratic style. It reminds me of what GK Chesterton said about delighting in the everyday:
“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder”.
Their aesthetic also reminds me of the short film by director Jem Cohen with Elliott Smith called Lucky 3:
Their earliest posts document the wide array of film cameras owned by the duo including a Yashica T4 Super, a Nikon F, and a Pentax 67. Whilst they are clearly technically extremely proficient photographers who do occasionally include their medium format shots, their Instagram feed demonstrates something more than mere technical proficiency with cameras. The majority of photos are 35mm shots and play to the strength of this medium. This goes against the current trend towards larger and larger formats in photography from medium to large and ultra-large as well as heritage techniques such wet plate photography. Even digital photography is adopting this trend, in the hunt for more pixels, the richer prosumers are increasingly being tempted into the digital medium format market by the likes of Hasselblad.
By contrast, the main advantage of resisting this trend is the freshness and immediacy of 35mm. Yes, the sensor area is smaller than other ‘fancier’ and more ‘learned’ types of photography, but the 35mm camera can capture things more quickly and is more likely to be at hand than a large format behemoth that might take 15 minutes to set up. It produces images that are less like ‘the naked eye’ than a medium format camera, but if you’re making art, this is just a part of your medium. Van Gogh didn’t just paint what he saw, neither did Mark Rothko. It must be possible as an artist, to interact with your given medium within its limitations to make something that expresses your artistic intent. That is what interests me as a consumer of art. And that is what I see in the work of Eddy and June, lightness of touch, stillness yet immediacy, rich yet subtle colours. Photos that are not weighed down by technical pre-occupations with macro details, lighting or depth or field for the sake of it. Photos that are not bokeh’ed beyond recognition or HDR’d ad nauseum.
Hopes for an eddy.and.june exhibition
If/when they exhibit their work, I hope they don’t use the standard small-to-average-sized-photographs-mounted-on-card-sequentially-on-a wall method.
I would love to see huge back-lit enlargements and projections of their photos in a space that would reflect and keep their style. Perhaps amongst objects/scenes that could be classic eddy.and.june fodder like a collection of orange plastic chairs or houseplants.
Finally, I would like to thank Eddy and June for sharing their photographs and vision on Instagram and giving us our daily dose of delight.