What folks outside of our creative circle may not know is, we’ve got one of NYC’s most amazing photographers on staff. Meet Rommel Pecson, the IT man here at Hooligan. Rommel handles all of our networking needs on both the production and account side to help keep us connected and our clients happy. But now to the exciting stuff, and that’s Rommel’s photography, which is making a splash in the NYC art scene.
Enter the Impossible Project.
Rommel, along with acclaimed photographers, up-and-comers, and celebrities from around the globe was recently tapped to create the first run of test photos using Impossible’s revived 8×10 large format instant film based on previous analog film development first introduced in 1973. Having salvaged the last intact 8×10 Polaroid production machine, The Impossible Project’s new PQ 8×10 Silver Shade film is now available to photography enthusiasts everywhere.
To celebrate the return of the legendary film format, The Impossible Project exhibited these test photos at their NYC gallery space on August 23, 2012. The exhibit runs through September 24th. Featured photographers include Chloe Aftel, Penny Felts-Nannini, Adam Goldberg, Thom Jackson, Tim Mantoani, Alan Marcheselli, Melodie McDaniel, Stefan Milev, Nicholas Misciagna, Bill Phelps and Neal Winter.
Hooligan Founder/Partner Eric Carlson was among Rommel’s photo subjects for the much hyped exhibition. Eric’s shot happened to be last 8×10 he took for the exhibition. That photo ended up being selected for promoting the event and is also featured on the Impossible blog.
“Eric is my favorite model,” says Rommel. “He’s a character and I love the way he dresses.”
We can certainly back those words. Check out our previous post on Eric’s wild world of fashion and his memorable encounter with Paul Smith.
Rommel’s photography career began in New York City where he earned a degree in photography from City College. After graduating, he worked as a photo-journalist in New York followed by some 5 years of freelance journalism — he was one of very few freelancers at the time who owned a digital camera. Rommel eventually entered into IT because, at the time, photography just wasn’t enough to raise a family.
“It was a great experience, but I had to move on and keep it as a hobby and just took pictures of my kids,” says Rommel. He acknowledges that digital helped increase his output as a photo-journalist, but somewhere along the way he abandoned analog photography all together — even after he left the world of journalism.
“One day I realized my shots were getting bad — digital made me lazy,” Rommel recalls. “So I took out my folding SX-70 and forgot how amazing analog is — it’s very tactile. I was reintroduced to the imperfections and limitations of the format and I liked it. So I and went back to analog as a standard. I still use digital for convenience, but Polaroid really revived my passion for photography. Sure, digital has it’s own pluses, it’s convenient and good to have, but if I’m working for my personal creative outlet, these days I use Polaroid.”
A few years ago, as Polaroid was phasing out of production and gradually stopped producing film, Rommel stocked up. Meanwhile, a small group in The Netherlands (known today as the Impossible Project) purchased the factory in Europe and saved the film from extinction.
“They basically had to create the film from scratch,” says Rommel. “The materials are hazardous, and you can’t buy in mass quantity. I knew couple people in New York who were also Polaroid photographers and met others on Flickr and the network grew from there. That’s how I ultimately got connected with The Impossible Project.”
Rommel explains the great thing about the Impossible Project was seeing the work of his contemporaries all creating within the same technical boundaries and film formats.
“I always find it invigorating and inspiring to see other peoples work,” discusses Rommel. “It’s always exciting and inspiring. You can judge were you fit in terms of schools and where can you get better.”
Rommel is Hooligan’s de facto in-house photographer. Aside from staff head shots, he’s always capturing unique moments in the studio on-camera including one of his favorites: a shot from Hooligan’s office window looking down on Fifth Ave.
To Rommel, everything he does with analog photography is far from “work.”
“I need it,” he says. “It helps me. It’s therapy. Without this outlet I’d go crazy. I just feel better walking around with a camera. It’s necessary to have a creative outlet. Everyone at Hooligan has one and that’s what’s great about this company. It improves your creative skills when you can do something fun and creative for yourself and bring it back to your work. You can look at the work and make it engaging and express it in true images and forms and life.”
Rommel is already at work on his next project, a one-man one show and tribute to Pictorialism coming in May 2013 using Impossible film.
About Impossible: Impossible manufactures fresh instant films for traditional Polaroid cameras at the original Polaroid production plant in Enschede (NL). Keeping variety, tangibility and creativity alive, Impossible prevents millions of perfectly functioning Polaroid cameras from becoming obsolete and thus changes the world of photography.
About The Impossible Project Space NYC The Impossible Project Spaces in New York, Paris, Vienna and Tokyo are vivid hubs dedicated to analog instant photography. Beyond the whole Impossible product assortment and selected classic Polaroid items, events, workshops and exhibitions are being presented.