Photography by Andile Buka

Cale Waddacor: breathing new life into analogue photography with the platform DEAD TOWN

DEAD TOWN is a platform aimed at highlighting the work of contemporary analogue film photographers in South Africa. It focuses on a wide spectrum of photography styles from landscape to documentary to fashion and beyond. The definitive desire is to create a blog with interviews, print publications and distinctive exhibitions. In my interview with creator Cale Waddacor we discussed the platform and the first video interview with Andile Buka.

DEAD TOWN created by Waddacor in January of this year was birthed out of his endearment for film photography. Waddacor tells me that he has always had an affinity for the analogue format. He had a desire to group mind-blowing film imagery in one space. DEAD TOWN currently displays in the form of a blog. He aspires to grow this newly formed platform into a physical realm. Since the inception of the platform there has been various features including interviews with Gabriella Achadinha, Kent Andreasen, Albert Retief, Duran Levinson and Matt Kay. Other posts on the blog consist of an overview of the national photographic landscape, zines, book publications and picture round-ups from their Instagram feed, as well as a video interview with photographer Andile Buka.

Photography by Katya Abedian

The label DEAD TOWN refers to the approaching death of film photography that has been caused by the influx of the digital shooting mode which is not only an easier route to take but also less costly.  It may also refers to a time when people captured moments in time within a frame that has now exceeded sustainability and cannot be revived organically. Waddacor also states that he chose this title as it is not obvious, it is not instantly recognized for what the platform is, and slips easily off the tongue.

Waddacor decided to focus specifically on analogue photographers because he holds that it is more extraordinary and niche. In his opinion the analogue photographers featured on the blog have a concentrated methodology and the style has the power to conjure diverse emotional responses from its viewers. Being a film photographer himself he is thrilled by the practice and the in communicable sensation that he associates with his images when he goes through the process of creating work. DEAD TOWN commemorates South African film photographers because there are few local blogs dedicated to this practice.

Photography by Rowan Patrick

Showcasing different styles, DEAD TOWN is fond of showcasing photographers that are not only skilled in the craft of analogue photography but have voices that cannot be matched. Waddacor states that he’s been following the work of most of the featured photographers on the blog for years. Some of the photographers are only hobbyist photographers and others shoot so much film that it’s unbelievable.

Striving to make DEAD TOWN into a zine within this year, Waddacor is all about the quality of his product and only features the highest standard of work. Waddacor has developed a style for both platforms that enhances each other; he meticulously curates DEAD TOWN’s Instagram and blog.

Photography by Andile Buka

DEAD TOWN has released their first video interview with Johannesburg based photographer Andile Buka a few days ago. The in-depth video interview looks closely at Buka’s documentary style photo work as they visit his studio. Buka speaks about shooting on film exclusively, his process and what influences him, as well as the city of Johannesburg itself and his passage that led him to where he is now.

Buka born in Soweto, was raised in Orange Farm. He currently resides and works in Johannesburg. His work comprises of portraiture, street and fashion photography. His client base includes brands such as adidas, Levi’s and Superga. Buka is known for shooting not only in medium format, but 35mm as well. Capturing his subjects with a candid personal air, he has a knack for tone and composition. Crossing Strangers (2015), Buka’s first monograph, was published by MNK Press in Japan and launched at the Tokyo Book Fair. Buka was freshly invited to take part in the New York Times’ 5th Annual Portfolio Review. His work has been exhibited in Europe, Asia and America and Buka plans to introduce a solo exhibition in the near future.

Waddacor explains that the video interview with Buka consisted of minimal direction. “I wanted it to be natural, and to be born out of conversation. Andile was the perfect candidate because of his amazing body of work, gentle nature, and just the sheer amount of film he goes through.” Waddacor and Buka met for the first time on the day of the shoot. They went up to Buka’s studio and had their interview straight away.

Waddacor tells me that the interaction between them was not forced, and that they shot an extensive interview in that time. Waddacor and Ryan Jarrett (cinematography and editing) then proceeded to follow Buka around his studio to get to know him more. Afterwards they scouted out the roof captured in the interview and walked around the block in downtown Hillbrow. The filmmakers then proceeded to Buka’s home to view and capture his post-process and discuss his admiration for music and books. Speaking to Waddacor he expresses a desire to explore more video work for his platform. The first video interview with Buka has set the tone for future projects.

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