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Seven Stories… Mattias Westfalk

Photographer: Mattias Westfalk


Based in: Tokyo


1 Cvlt Nation

I’ve been shooting the underground heavy metal scene in Tokyo for many many years. I started before the digital revolution with a 35 mm camera, then hooked on to the digital bandwagon and used this medium professionally up until very recently. I decided to pay tribute to photography itself a couple of years ago by shooting a Zine project with my medium format film camera (Hasselblad). This proved to be a respectful gesture to the hardcore DIY way of artistic need and creativity these bands stoically carry on in all weather.


2 Cvlt Nation-1

I was one of four local Tokyo photographers doing a “One Roll of film” Project, where we spent one day shooting one roll of 120 film. One roll gives you 12 frames and the aim was to see if we could go back to the basics of film photography and put the thinking process that this technique requires back into play after shooting digital for so many years. A process that many times takes the true essence out of hands-on photography, shooting digital, where any mistake can easily be post-processed and makes no monetary difference. Turned out to be a challenge, and I shot my roll in six hours, walking around aimlessly in the wet urban environment. The “One Roll of film” Project is on YouTube, I believe.


3 Cvlt Nation

My good friend Motoyan started doing photography on an amateur level maybe around 10 years ago…I dunno, maybe earlier? Within a very short time, he developed his own unique style and technique. His vision and personality regarding a lifestyle with photography inspired me very much. He now runs one of Tokyo’s most unique and specialized skateboard and bicycle shops. Heaps of respect goes out to this man.


4 Cvlt Nation

How bleak and absolutely distant we men refer to wealth and prosperity.


5 Cvlt Nation

A scare format requires so much more thought in terms of composition coming from a 35mm “rectangular” field of view. To gain balance and strive for the less-is-more approach is a worthy challenge. No one saw and mastered this with more rawness than Vivian Maier, if you ask me. Look closely and you will see funky chemical traces from the developing process.


6 Cvlt Nation

Handheld on a windy evening in the heart of Tokyo. Slow film with little light equal slow shutter equal blurred image. Used a small LED light to get the eye to give me just a hint of reflection.


7 Cvlt Nation

I love that with shooting with an old film camera, the image seldom turns out perfect. But then on the other hand, it is more than perfect, above measurement. The film might not wind properly, there might be weird light leaks, definitely developing mistakes, wrong camera settings and light readings, wrong film etc. You then find out you have a personal and one-of-a-kind piece of raw negative in your possession. This is a self-portrait, kinda.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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