As the years have gone by, Ocean has further demonstrated his passion for analogue photography, such as his use of the now iconic green-haired portrait created by Wolfgang Tillmans as the album cover for his sophmore album, Blonde, and the seminal issue of the accompanying zine, Boys Don’t Cry. Artists whose work was featured in this zine include Tillmans himself, Viviane Sassen, Tyrone Lebon, Michael Mayren, and various other photographers and illustrartos.

“Elements of 70’s and 80’s glam photography”.

Frank Ocean

Film Photography Fanatic?

Article by : Aren Roache

The image on the cover of Nostalgia, Ultra, Frank Ocean’s seminal mixtape, features what appears to be film grain, and dynamic range reminiscent of some sort of colour film emulsion. Though the image, nor the sweet 90s car featured amongst the foliage within it don’t belong to Frank, one thing that is unquestionable is Frank’s affinity with nostalgia, which includes vintage cars, analogue sounds, and film photography.

Those within the analogue photography community that aren’t familiar with the artist’s music, may remember the picture of him holding a Contax T3 at the Met Gala, which Vogue commissioned him to photograph, and the accompanying controversy that arose in the years since – all seemingly caused by a celebrity jumping on the growing hype.

However, Frank Ocean’s affinity with the nostalgia, a characteristic often associated with the appeal of film photography can be traced back at least as far as his first mixtape. An internet search yields a number of photos of the artist using different film cameras, such as the Leica M6, The Fuji GA645ZI and of course, the notorious Contax T3 and even a photo dating back to 2013 of the singer/songwriter pictured with a Contax G2 around his neck.

“One thing that is unquestionable is Frank’s affinity with nostalgia”.

Most recently, Frank Ocean produced a series of striking photographs, to promote his independent luxury brand, founded earlier this year, collaborating once again with photographer Tyrone Lebon. Images from the catalogue evoke feelings of nostalgia, drawing on the unique qualities of film, elements of 70s and 80s glam photography, retro colours and imagery.

If he wasn’t considered a ‘real’ photographer before, he has certainly done the work necessary to earn the inclusion of the title photographer on his Wikipedia page.

Aren Roache

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