About Grain Matter
I'm Jason Konopinski and I like photography.
I established GRAIN MATTER as the online home for my analog photographic output.
Some of the most vivid memories I have as a child center on creative self-expression. I’ve always loved working with my hands, taking the raw materials of life and making something that has real emotional resonance.
For most of my career, I’ve made my living as a freelance copywriter – helping individuals and organizations tell their stories more powerfully and authentically. Thousands of words written, an unspeakable amount of coffee consumed, and countless hours of interviews and conversations..there’s so many ways to mark the passage of time. I’ve worked with some really amazing brands and built some very successful campaigns in partnership with boutique B2B and B2C advertising agencies and marketing firms. Even managed to grab up a few editorial bylines in some regional lifestyle publications.
The rub? I was burnt out, stressed out and desperately seeking for a new creative outlet. I was beginning to fall out of love with writing – the source of so much joy and fulfillment over the years – and I often found myself in a K-hole of self-loathing with some generalized anxiety applied liberally. Desperate to find the wellspring of creativity again, I bought my first film camera in 2016, a Canon AE-1 Program that was gathering dust on the shelf at my local thrift store. It cost me $25 plus tax. That camera changed my life. Full stop. Before I had even finished that first roll of Kodak Tri-X, I knew this was an opening into an aspect of my creativity that had been sealed off for a very long time. So began a journey into analog process - shooting, developing, and printing.
Let me make one thing very clear: I've not the time nor the energy to engage in the film vs. digital debate that seems to dominate online forums and Facebook groups. Use the tool that gets you the results you want. For me, there's something magical about the physical act of image-making with fully mechanical cameras. It's laden with ritual -- loading the film, feeling the leader catch in the take-up spool and thumbing the film advance lever over to cock the shutter. Once the film is shot, the ritual continues: loading the reels completely by feel from the confines of a changing bag into the developing tank, mixing and pouring, agitating and drying.
The first two years of my journey used a hybrid process: shoot on film and print digitally. I'm now making wet-process prints in the darkroom, using the same techniques used by Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and countless others.
Most of my work falls under the general category of street photography.
"The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flaneur finds the world 'picturesque'" - Susan Sontag, 1977
Analog photography -- what for most of its history was known simply as "photography" -- sits at the intersection of art and science where creative vision and chemical process co-mingle.
Style emerges from the simple act of doing, and like all human activities, it's never fixed in time or space. It's in a constant state of change, just as we ourselves are changing from moment to moment.