Episode 39. Exploring our creativity through photography with Jahan Saber
Ever since launching the podcast, I’ve wanted to invite a photographer and more specifically, someone who masters both digital and film/analogue photography. Two months ago, I came across Jahan Saber’s film photography course on Skillshare and, by the end of the first module, I knew I had to get in touch.
Jahan was born in Vienna. His photographic journey began at a young age and was rekindled in his mid-twenties. Leaving a career in commercial photography, he returned to the roots of the analogue process, working mainly from his home darkroom.
Jahan is currently enrolled at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna and is the founder of the DEVELOP label, which focuses on analogue processes and how their practice is essential to living a more mindful life, one of the many topics raised in today’s conversation.
Jahan shares his multifaceted take on creativity, his approach to photography, focusing on the intent behind taking a picture, whether on film or with a digital camera. He explains the difference between the two mediums, but also how they complement each other.
To him, photography is about reacting to the world, not just capturing a moment in time. He describes the physical process of developing a negative and making prints, which he relishes, and working on the grain of the picture, which he loves. How developing a picture gives him a second chance, not only at capturing the light, but in reliving the moment when he took it, with the potential element of surprise when discovering the final image, but also what the whole process feels like.
We discuss the value of constraints, technical or otherwise, taking portraits, the intuitive feel that film photography allows, despite not being a natural process at all, and how photography is never just about the image alone.
By the end of this conversation, you won’t be looking at a picture in quite the same way. And, who knows, you might start exploring your own creativity through photography? In any case, I hope you enjoy this episode.
Jahan’s Skillshare classes (one-month free trial membership included)
Jahan's video explaining how he took the above portrait
The Dorothea Lange's portrait of the migrant mother mentioned by Jahan
The retouched version of that portrait
ABOUT THE CREATIVITY FOR ALL PODCAST
A maths teacher can be creative. So can a financial adviser, a community builder, and a yoga teacher. Not to mention a speed painter, a potter, or an actor!
Creativity is everywhere and I love nothing more than to explore it in The Creativity for All Podcast, either by focusing on a theme – such as perfectionism, feeding your creative brain, or the pressure to be creative – in my solo episodes, or through my conversations with all manner of creative people.
I want to challenge the perception of creativity and, in the process, debunk many myths attached to it: it's painful, for artists and the chosen few, etc.
My guests and I are keen to zoom in and dissect the origin of an idea, the impulse that makes us engage with our own creativity, with the hope that it will inspire listeners to get creative too.
My podcast is designed for anyone who’s already being creative, or is tempted to use their creativity, in particular those of you who think they are not creative or can never be. I would love to change your mind!
The Creativity for All Podcast is sponsored by Blue as an Orange, where we believe in creativity through communication, and offer mentoring and coaching for aspiring writers and tailored language tuition for individuals and companies.