For a photographer launching his first photo book, Dill 35 mm completely reinvented the book launch experience.
On Thursday, July 22nd, Dill 35 mm released his very first photo book titled, “Look At What I’ve Done” at Up 2 Something Studios. Now this was not your typical book launch where many may have a panel and light refreshments. Dillon transformed the release of his photo book into an entire experience. He invites viewers into his world and what his everyday life as an artist looks like.
As soon as you enter the space you’re greeted by an untraditional array of portraits showcasing notable music artists of the time. What first stood out was the way these photographs were displayed. Bold red tape dorned each corner of the photographs, this added an intriguing element to the work. The tape added this element of immediacy when showcasing these works, almost as if we are seeing these photos fresh from the lab, hung up with the most immediate hanging material. At first I was concerned it may take away from the portraits, but it actually did the opposite.
Dillon photographs tell you a story. Each portrait contains their own narrative that relates to the person within the image. Every photographer hopes to capture their subject in their most natural light and Dillon does just that. One is able to notice the complete rawness and comfortability shared between Dillon and his subjects, which is incredible being that the majority of the people featured in this book harness huge fan bases that dream to even be this close to them.
Portraits of artists such as, JuiceWorld and XXX Tentacion hold a somber weight in comparison to the other portraits being that these two artists unfortunately passed away a couple years ago. Within this project you are able to travel through the archival of work that Dill 35 mm has built up over the series of four years. Dillon’s photographs place you right in the scene, with an exceptional and yet confrontational composition.
What made this book launch stand out from most was that Dillon had a tattoo artist provide flash tattoos that related to the realm of film photography and contributed to his aesthetic. This added an interesting interactive element that allowed for visitors to really share and carry a memoir from this event.
I was able to speak with Dillon and get some insight behind Look At What I’ve Done and putting together this special book launch:
Lauryn: Tell us more about the process that went into creating this photo book and how do you feel now that it is released?
Dillon: Being able to put together this large body of work and for somebody to be able to look at it all at once without having to be on their phone has always been a goal of mine. When I started photography four years ago, I just wanted to take the most iconic photos of the people that inspire me; inspiring photos of people who inspire me is really the basis of the book. I wanted to make the work more physical and more so for me to see it come more to life. I’m so glad everybody is enjoying the work and having so many more people involved. I love that I can bring people together through my work.
Lauryn: When you look at your book, do you think you are able to recognize the shift in your work from then to now?
Dillon: Definitely I can see the shift, but I can also see the nostalgia in some of my newer photos that make me reflect back on the work I was doing in the beginning of my career. That’s what I really strive for, not necessarily progression but more so expanding myself in as many ways as possible. I’m not as worried about going up as I am about going sideways or all of these many directions.
Lauryn: How do you feel now that the book is released and everybody gathered here today to celebrate you and your work?
Dillon: It’s been crazy, I definitely did not expect this kind of turn out. I don’t do events you know, I’m the guy behind the camera. I don’t like to post my face on social media so people don’t really know me. They’re familiar with my work, but they don’t really know me personally so it’s really cool to see people recognize me behind my work.
Lauryn: Being that you have so many pivotal figures within this book, what decisions came up when deciding who should be in this project?
Dillon: This book is very meaningful for me especially at this time, I wanted to put out a book since I started. I was in the process of it and then I ran into some roadblocks with my friends passing away. So dealing with those losses was a lot and having all of these photos of them that I didn’t really know what to do with. I wanted to put together a collection of photos especially for them as a memoir. There are still so many photos that I still haven’t put out and are not in this book because I feel like they won’t get the appreciation they deserve right now. There’s a time and place for everything. It’s how it speaks to me at the end of the day.
I do really make the effort to connect with these artists when I talk to them, I’m not just trying to get a photo out of them. When I say I only shoot people that inspire me, that’s my opportunity to go up and tell them how they inspire me.
Lauryn: Is there anything coming from you soon that we should also be on the lookout for or anything in terms of the rollout of this book?
Dillon: Yes, this is exclusive. My whole career I’ve been shooting polaroids. The past year and a half, I bought a dental polaroid that is normally used to look at our teeth before they had x-ray cameras. I’ve been shooting on this discontinued film and I’m on my last pack now so once that’s done, a polaroid book will be coming out.
Don’t miss the chance to purchase a copy of this amazing photo book that leaves you wanting more!