Field Notes: Analog Sunshine Recorders

Field Notes explores Honolulu’s vast and varied scenes and subcultures. This month: the Analog Sunshine Recorders.
Full roster of members: Joseph Abad Jr, Ikaika Akana, Kara Akiyama, Bobby Asato, Jaime Balugo, Megan Bent, Aaron Van Bokhoven, Andrea Charuk, Christian Cook, Elizabeth Curtis, Ualani Davis, Alex Delapena, Eve Enriquez, Melody Euaparadorn, AJ Feducia, Ara Feducia, Keli'i Grace, Jordan Harrison, Isabella Hook, John Hook, Samantha Hook, Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki, Darcey Iwashita, Lenny Kaholo, Ashley Katamoto, Kenyatta Kelechi, Chris Kim, Klaus Knoll, Austin Larson, Evan Loney, Scott Matsumoto, Chad Mcquire, Yosuke Moriya, Nathan Nachtigall, Natalie Nakasone, Brandon Ng, Sandra Ng, Aaron Nicholson, Eric Ordorica, Jessica Orfe, Justin Ornellas, Zach Orpurt, Christian Phleger, Nina Pullella, Vincent Ricafort, Chris Rohrer, Andrew Rose, Gary Saito, Liana Sano, Travis Sasaki, Tommy Shih, Bronson Kyu Shimabukuro, Katie Small, Cassy Song, Rachel Spain, Chad Steve, Nichole Sterman, Peter Suzuki, Keisuke Takahashi, Crystal Tezuka, Amanda Vernon, Eric Wehner and Leann Yamamoto.
photos: courtesy of the analog sunshine recorders


What it is

A growing and ever-evolving collective of local photographers, artists and creatives with a passion for shooting film photography. Named after a scientific device that records the amount of sunshine at any given location (and a song by the Scottish band Boards of Canada), the Analog Sunshine Recorders are a loosely structured group of between 25 and 40 film buffs who regularly collaborate on art exhibitions, photography expeditions and even road trips to shoot photos on the Mainland and abroad.


“We’re not photo snobs, we just love shooting and developing film,” says Chris Rohrer, a member. “We go to different places and take photos. Sometimes we put up shows.”


The rules


Unlike a digital camera, which is capable of taking thousands of images with corrective technology, shooting with film is unpredictable and imperfect. But such is life; the Analog Sunshine Recorders embrace this spontaneity. The process is the goal worth celebrating here, not necessarily the final images.


“The resulting photographs are unexpected expressions of moments easily missed in a culture of instant gratification,” says Recorder Megan Bent. “We are a collaborative effort to discover the hidden in the obvious, as well as the obvious in the hidden … We are able to partially relinquish our control as photographers and let the resulting photograph inform
our pursuit.”


Anyone is welcome to join the Recorders on their adventures; all that’s required is a friendly attitude, an interest in photography and, of course, an analog film camera.


Picture show

Exhibitions are loosely structured, nontraditional and pop up two or three times a year at various locations, each with a different theme, style and approach. “We’re usually staying up the night before to finish the show on time,” Rohrer says, with a chuckle. One recent exhibition was held at the creative arts shop Treehouse on Ward Avenue, showcasing touristy images that the Recorders captured while roaming through Waikīkī. Another show featured images taken with pinhole cameras and arranged in massive scrolls that ran along the walls of the former thirtyninehotel in Chinatown. A recent project, “Drift Wood,” featured various photo prints on 96 wood blocks that dangled in a spinnable grid on display at MORI by Art + Flea in Ward Village.


Each of the Recorders’ exhibitions features images by a variety of photographers whose names are listed on a single sheet instead of mounted beneath each photo. The emphasis, according to Rohrer, is on the ensemble showcase itself as a product of the like-minded group, rather than just individual rotating contributors. Says Rohrer, “It’s really cool seeing people come together to build something big.”


the recorders

Travis Sasaki, 27
Preferred Camera: Certofix medium-format camera

“The most beautiful part of the Analog Sunshine Recorders is when we all develop our rolls of film and get to see everyone’s different perspectives on the same subject matter. Each photo is always awesomely individualistic.”


Kara Akiyama, 27
Preferred Camera: a homemade matchbox pinhole camera

“The original concept always evolves into something different, something more than we expected. Also, going out and shooting with a big, diverse group of film-passionate people is always a good time!”


Natalie Nakasone, 31
Preferred Camera: Fuji Klasse W

“The best part of any Analog Sunshine Recorders project is the collaboration. Everyone is involved in every stage of the process, regardless of skill level or seniority. The individual images are interesting, but the work always stands strongest when viewed as a whole.”


Did you know? Holga cameras have long been a cheap introduction to shooting film. Grab one now, though; they’re no longer being produced.


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