Black and white photography that casts London in a rarely seen light

Black and white photography that casts London in a rarely seen light

My Life In Analogue — Adama Jalloh uses photography to fight preconceived notions and show a more genuine picture of South London life.

While still at school, Jalloh was using the school’s cameras for her GCSE photography course but her work took a huge turn when her teacher introduced film as an option. DSLRs were an option for a while but now it is all film. It is the element of the unknown drives her on as much as London, the city she lives in.

When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I started taking pictures around 14/15 when I chose to do gcse photography at secondary school. I didn’t have a camera at the time, I was just using the ones school provided. My photography teacher introduced me to film cameras. I was pretty scared about even using one, probably because the whole idea of taking complete control of a camera freaked me out. When I got my first dslr, it was all I used. It wasn’t until my first year at uni that I started using film cameras again but this time around being eager to feel comfortable with it.

At first I started shooting just really random things but then I wanted my work to have a purpose. I wanted to start interacting abit more with people that I would photograph,  so that I can hear their stories and share it with people who can relate.

What is it you love about film photography?
As generic as this is going to sound but it really is exciting not knowing how your images may turn out, you might have an idea in your mind but its always a surprise. I’ve gone through some trial and error with film but that’s all part of the process.

What I love is that it’s a really good challenge because even when I’m taking candid shots on 35mm, I have to think really quickly on my feet about light, focusing, the composition etc. I guess now that I’m shooting more with medium format, I give myself more time to think things through because I don’t want to waste 12 shots.

Sometimes I forget about rolls of films I took ages back and its always refreshing seeing things you completely forgot about.

What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I spend a lot of time walking around different areas in London and just exploring. The things I see and hear around me definitely has an impact on what I shoot, I’ll be travelling a little in the summer so I’m looking forward to what I might produce while in a different country.

I go to a few gigs every now and then, its always amazing seeing the way people react to lyrics and beats. This doesn’t really link to the images I make at the moment but it does make me want to try out music photography to capture things like that.

Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
Carrie Mae Weems, Janette Beckman, Gordon Parks, Bruce Davidson and the list goes on. There’s a photographer I’ve been looking at a lot called Andre D Wagner, his work is all kinds of beautiful.

Coming across all the cool work people are creating at uni really does inspire and makes me want to shoot even more. Seeing friends that are doing well with their craft is always inspiring as well.

What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I’m in my last year studying photography, so at the moment my life pretty much revolves around it.  When uni is over I’ll probably be trying to balance out shooting personal projects, working and trying out new creative things on the side.

How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
At the moment I mostly share my work on tumblr. I’m also working on the second issue of a zine called SE15PAPER with my friend Hilda. Pretty exciting for me since I’m trying something new and collaborating with someone who uses a different art form. Since we started the zine, it’s made me think more about ways to get my work out there. I’ll be exhibiting my work in July with other people on my course at the candid arts trust, so I’ll be preparing for that soon.

My editing process is pretty straightforward, I don’t really spend days end doing it because that’s not what I want to be heavily focusing on. I think I do definitely try and tell stories. More recently I’ve been shooting in the area that I live in. I guess me doing that gives others an insight to what the people and culture is really like, especially with those who might have preconceived notions of the area.

Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
My photos are rarely staged, maybe the occasional portrait when I’m telling someone to look in a particular direction. As well as shooting documentary, I shoot quite a lot of street photography so I guess my work is a cross over between the two.

I think I choose to shoot in this way because it exposes me to people I don’t even know and I’ve been lucky to come across people that are willing to open themselves up to me. It’s always nice taking a step back sometimes as well and just capturing moments candidly.

If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
That’s difficult. Maybe a group shot of my close friends.

Check out more of Adama’s work on Tumblr.