Photographer Amos Chapple Shoots Cold on an iPhone
From December to January, the sun never rises in Murmansk, Russia. Amateur Photographer journalist Peter Dench chats to the New Zealand-born photographer Amos Chapple about his recent reportage, Forty Days Of Darkness, shot on an iPhone.
Chapple likes the cold, Dench writes. He has photographed Siberia’s Ice Highway and Oymyakon, the coldest town on Earth in east Siberia where, in 1933, temperatures bombed to -67°C. Surprisingly, he doesn’t particularly like his homeland. “I left New Zealand for the first time and went to Russia aged 23, 24. New Zealand is socially oppressive somehow. In Russia no-one knew who I was or cared. I loved it there, I felt at home, I felt free,” Chapple says.
For his recent reportage, Forty Days Of Darkness, Prague-based Amos purchased a new iPhone 11 Pro and travelled to Murmansk, the biggest city inside the Arctic Circle. With the iPhone almost exclusively in night mode, he shot life in the darkness for eight days, which equates to 16 as Amos explains, “Usually you have just a few hours of soft light in the morning and evening, you have to work around that. When you’re shooting a city that is always dark, time is irrelevant. I can get out of bed at 1am or 1pm and it’s going to look the same. I was really able to hammer away at the assignment pretty much non-stop.”
Lights rippling above a cemetery and shoppers going about their business in blizzards. They take us inside nightclubs and introduce us to locals in the church, firing range and bars. In one image, a shopkeeper fills large plastic bottles with beer, a weekend supply for a customer and his wife. Does Amos partake in a wintry tipple on assignment?
“There were situations in Murmansk where, if I was not knocking back beers with the local people, there is no way they would let me take the pictures I was taking. They’re comfortable with me, I’m comfortable with them. Why would you exclude that advantage – when you start drinking with people, they let their guard down, you leave your guard down, cool situations happen. You want to be sharing the life of these people as best you can, everyone knows it’s supremely rude to turn down a drink, especially in Russia!”
Original article by Peter Dench, Amateur Photographer, March 8, 2020.
Photo by Amos Chapple.