“I travelled to Nepal for a month, hiked through the Himalayas, and took about 3 photos on some old GoPro.”
Gus Faithfull’s journey with cameras started disappointingly. After a jaw-dropping trip where he trekked some of the most glorious peaks Earth has to offer, Gus returned with only a handful of washed-out, fish-eye frames.
Hoping to make amends, it wasn’t long before Gus had an expensive digital camera under his arm. As he explains, “I half-assed it for a year or so but the buzz for digital died pretty quickly”. That said, Gus has always loved the aesthetic of film photography and it was the day he found himself googling “how to make digital photos look like film” that he jumped on eBay and purchased his very first analog camera.
Since then, Gus has never looked back.
When asked about the hook, he says it’s connected to another great interest of his – skateboarding. “Film photography has the same ingredients. It’s just you. You decide how to do it. And the cameras, the cameras are sick, I’d buy them as ornaments if I didn’t like taking photos.” Couldn’t agree with you more Gussy.
Currently based in Darwin, Gus has been aiming his beloved MamiyaRZ67 at gorgeous wide-open expanses – capturing the beauty in the barren.
From Coober Pedy to Alice Springs and its surrounds, Gus evokes feelings of peace, solace and escapism in his shots.
Whether it be an outback house built by actor Vince Colosimo for the Mad Max films or Uluru glowing gorgeously in the afternoon light, each and every frame brings a sense of calm – they’re relaxing to take in. Eager to share the tale behind how he came across Colosimo’s construction Gus tells:
“I was in a bar the night before these shots, drinking a couple of quiet Kahlua and milks and there was one other guy in the bar, an old feller sipping some red. Old Jimmy. Seemed like an interesting character, and turns out he was. Old Jimmy owned the property and was psyched to have me take pictures of it.”
Gus or lollygag as he’s known to his followers on IG is drawn to far-out places, places of isolation. “I like adventuring alone.” And there’s no better spot to be just that amongst the red dirt of the Northern Territory.
Within these landscapes, Gus hones in on lonely-looking structures – a payphone, a halogen sign, a battered vehicle, a telegraph pole. The photographer giving these lifeless objects an air of intrigue.
For my mind, a lot of this has to do with Gus’s meticulous and considered composition – the way he arranges visual elements in the frame is special. Using soft light and shadow he creates pictures that inspire curiosity and a sense of wonder.
Funnily enough, when staring through the viewfinder Gus’s composition is the last thing on his mind. More often than not, it’s a mish-mash of random thoughts flying through his brain. For shots so precise it’s hilarious to discover what he’s really mulling over.
“For some reason, I’ll start thinking about putting vinegar on my potato cakes or someshit, just as I’m about to pull the trigger.” Whatever you’re thinking Gus, just keep thinking it!
It’s not only the Australian dust that calls to Gus, sun-drenched coastal spots also whet his whistle.
“Puerto Escondido in Mexico is definitely one of my favourites. I spent all of last year abroad with three of those months in Puerto.”
Interestingly, it wasn’t a favourite due to the calibre of work but rather the fantastic mental state Gus remembers being in at the time.
“I got an apartment near the beach and I had a consistent routine of sunrise and sunset photo walks, and filled in the rest with hammocks, micheladas and watching storms roll in most evenings…I was very happy for that period, and photography had a lot to do with it”.
For others getting into the wonderful world of stills, Gus recommends picking up a pen and paper.
“Take notes. It’s something I didn’t do for a very long time. When I jot down my exposure times and f-stops and relay them back to specific photos, I’ve always learnt something and gained a little more confidence.”
Print ain’t dead and neither is the art of film photography.