Patrick Downer, also known as The Visionary P, is a 29-year-old cinematographer and analogue photographer based out of New York. He first started getting into photography about six years ago and has been obsessed ever since, which is what eventually led him to turning what was once a hobby into a full time job as a director of photography.
Recently we got to talk to him about his shots on LomoChrome Metropolis both in studio and on the streets.
Hi Patrick, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Hey! My name is Patrick. I was born and raised in The Bronx and have such admirable love for the borough. You can definitely call me a Bronxite. I played basketball throughout high school and college. Then, once I headed back home to NYC, I fell in love with photography. At first I shot digital because my dad gave me a camera that he found at a pawn shop. Once Covid hit, I invested in a 35 mm film camera and haven’t looked back since!
What made you start dabbling in photography six years ago? Was there a specific moment early on that really fuelled your obsession?
When my dad gave me that first camera six years ago, I went outside to shoot and capture some shots. After looking at my pictures, I thought to myself, “Damn, I suck.” So, naturally because of my character and behavior I wanted to get better. I would just take day or night walks a few times out the week to shoot. It turned from a hobby, to a passion, to a love and my actual full time job in this creative field.
Does your background in film photography inform your work as a cinematographer or vice versa?
Film Photography has changed so much about my cinematography work! From understanding the lighting that’s needed to create the perfect shot, to the framing on camera. I usually bring my 35 mm camera with me on my DP jobs so that I can also get a shot through a viewfinder. Each year that passes with me being into film has helped me grow to be a better cinematographer.
How do you approach shooting on LomoChrome Metropolis either in studio or on the street?
LomoChrome Metropolis is such a unique film stock. When I first shot it, I was doing some street photography. Since it has a range from 100-400 ISO I decided to go with 400 because I usually love being able to shoot outside with that level ISO. After I got those scans back from that first time I did it in the streets, I needed to shoot this in my studio. I saw an article or picture that gave the tip that the film stock “works well with red.” I considered that and created a set design that included a red backdrop with other drops of colors in there and actually decided to push the film +1 stop to see how it does. I came to the conclusion that this is a film stock I will be using more in a studio setting.
Do you have a favorite photo that you've shot on LomoChrome Metropolis? Could you tell us the story behind it?
My favorite photo I shot with LomoChrome Metropolis has to be my “Portals” photo. I was going on a photo walk next to my studio and discovered this path that leads to Randalls Island from The Bronx. As I am walking by this the first thing that came to my mind was, “How did I not know about this!?” And then second thing that popped up was, “Oh yeah. I definitely have to capture this.”
For your portrait work, how do you typically go about designing a shoot?
Any portrait work that I do, I always have either a Pinterest concept saved, Posts on IG saved, or ideas from movies that I watch. I then decide to create a board using this app called Milanote (which is phenomenal). Once I have a concept or two ready I either reach out to someone to shoot it or if a client reaches out to me, I present the ideas to them to see which they are most comfortable with and then we proceed from there. Once it is time to hit the studio, I get there at least an hour or two before the client/model gets there in order to play around with lighting because we all know lighting is always experimental. I always try to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible.
What's your current camera set up?
My usual camera set up for film photography is either my Mamiya 645 or Fuji GW690 for medium format. If I’m shooting 35 mm, I always go with my canon F1. As for cinematography work, I use a cinema rig set up with my Fuji XT-3 and sometimes a dabble with the Blackmagic camera.
Any tips or tricks for anyone interested in shooting on LomoChrome Metropolis?
A tip that I would give for shooting Metropolis would be to just go out there and shoot. This film stock has so much latitude that you can play around with it and find exactly how you like to shoot with it. It always reminds me of that vintage color and look whenever I shoot with it and I have to say that is my favorite part.
Any advice for those who want to pursue photography or cinematography full time?
If anyone is trying to get into photography or cinematography, I would say just pick up any camera and do it. It is a journey worth going on. It teaches you about yourself, about the art, and about pushing the limits. The only way to learn is to experience and just get up and shoot anything that is on your mind and create something from that. As you do this, you grow as an artist.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I am currently working on shooting an action horror short film called Brain Dead and a few short documentaries that will try to go through some festival circuit runs. I have also just applied to a residency at The Metropolitan Museum of Art so that I can possibly create a docuseries, use it for projects, or maybe something else.
Anything else you'd like to share?
The last thing I would like to share is just be free and do your thing. You will always criticize your art and who you are, but the more you push to be yourself and be free, the more you will love the process of all of this!