17 aoû. 2022Capturing the Youth and the Nightlife of Luxembourg
If you haven’t heard of Milo Hatfield before, you will now. The 19-year-old photographer has been a huge part of Luxembourg’s nightlife since last summer, capturing the Luxembourgish youth vibing at events by Lagerkultur, Ultraschall and De Gudde Wëllen.
How did your journey start as a photographer?
A friend of mine took film pictures and I wanted to do the same. I found a camera from the 60s in my attic and started practicing. It was a lot of fun so I kept going. I started taking pictures of Lagerkultur events because I really enjoyed them, I even bought a fish-eye lens to experiment with and I just loved the results.
Did you have a collaboration with Lagerkultur?
They were looking for staff for the bar so I sent my CV. They found other people but one of the founders, Philip, recognized me, he knew I was taking pictures for my own enjoyment. One night, I brought my camera again and they asked if I could take pictures for them, and the rest is history. I took pictures for some of the MALL events and also for the Nuit des Musées at the casino. I also had a stand with Lagerkultur at the Supermaart which took place at the Rotondes and I sold my first prints! I just graduated from high school and now I’m working as a bartender at De Gudde Wëllen. I love the people I work with and I also love the bar and the terrace, so I started taking a lot of pictures for the bar as well, just for fun. I also worked for Ultrashall Collective and Zären for their City Vibes event at Den Atelier. My network and experience keep expanding as well which is very exciting.
“Lagerkultur, last mall” by Milo Hatfield
Did you take an art option in high school? What drew you towards photography specifically?
I actually studied in the art section of the high school I went to. I consider myself a creative and hands on stuff type of person in general. I don’t think I would do very well with an office job, I’d probably feel bored. I scribble here and there, I used to draw a lot and my friends and I created a small band called Actiico and we made an album for fun, just for banter (don’t take it too seriously). Last year I participated in Inktober which is a drawing challenge during the whole month of October on Instagram. I started playing the saxophone when I was 8 years old, also a bit of drums and piano as well. I studied at the Conservatoire and was in the Fanfare Municipale Luxembourg-Bonnevoie. But I stopped music classes because it was too serious and technical. I do want to play the saxophone again though! I might do something with Skibi and Steiwesz… who knows. I’m looking forward collaborating with different people on all kinds of projects, for sure.
You just graduated, do you have any plans for the future?
I’m really enjoying working at De Gudde Wëllen, but my plan is to study interior architecture and furniture design at the Hague. If it doesn’t work out, I see myself still working at the same bar because I love it here. I once considered studying graphic design, but then realised that I prefer creating something with my hands directly, like designing and making a chair for example. I don’t know if I would like to do this for the rest of my life but founding a creative studio seems fun.
"De Gudde Wëllen" by Milo Hatfield
Do you have a role model?
The community that I’m part of inspires me every day. It’s expanding, I connect with new creative people almost every day which is insane considering that Luxembourg is quite small. Luxembourg’s got some “big village” vibes, you will always encounter someone who knows someone you also know. Thanks to De Gudde Wëllen I got to know Giamba, Loah, Yves (among many others <3) and Skibi who has released songs with a very good friend of mine, Matteo, who people might know as Culture The Kid. Love y’all. We laugh, rant about not getting paid enough as creatives, about how the work we put in is not always seen, about clients being silly. I’ve noticed that there is a lack of understanding and recognition for creatives, but it seems to be getting better, maybe.
The creative industry can be intimidating when you’re just getting started, how do you deal with being a beginner?
As I’ve mentioned before, there can sometimes be a lack of respect for the work that has been done. People tend to assume that you will be willing to do free work just because you are a student who’s just getting started, they can take advantage of your status and your lack of experience so you need to be aware of that and know your worth. It seemed to be a general mindset in Luxembourg but from my perspective it is getting better, there is a push to go into the right direction and treat all creatives with more respect. What I have learned is to never hesitate to ask for some paperwork, even the so-called professionals asking for your services don’t always know how to pay you because it’s a grey area, but that shouldn't be an excuse. It’s great to be hired for small projects such as designing a brochure or taking pictures for an event, but it’s even better when you get paid for it, right? Make sure you got yourself covered.
You mentioned having the option to study in different countries, if you do, do you see yourself still pursuing photography?
I will take pictures even if it’s just for myself, to post them as I use my Instagram account as my portfolio in a way. I don’t mind paying from my own pocket just because I want to and because it is fun, but I don’t think I will pursue it as a job while I will be studying. I started doing it here in Luxembourg, while going out with my friends just for fun and I want to keep that same energy. It happened by accident and my network expanded just like that. If the same happens while I’m at university that’s great and if it doesn’t that’s fine too!
Do you still use the camera you started with? What would you recommend to people who would like to start practicing?
I do yes! I have the Pentax Spotmatic SP-500 from the sixties which my dad bought at some flea market in Russia, and I use Kodak Portra and some Fuji for most of my pictures. I watched Willem Verbeek and Joe Greer to learn at the beginning. The first pictures I developed myself were from De Gudde Wëllen. I like film because it’s a lengthy process which can give insane results. You can obviously use your phone camera and take incredible pictures too but I like the patience and focus that is needed to shoot film. What I appreciate is that you have to think before you take the picture. I find film more special and unique because it’s imperfect, it gives more authenticity to the picture. I know that it’s very trendy now but it isn’t in anyway superior to digital cameras, it’s just a personal preference. Just use what you have, buy a secondhand camera, you don’t have to buy the most expensive one to take the best pictures, it’s all about practice. Whenever you want to take a picture just go for it, follow your gut feeling (you can figure out the rest later), be patient with yourself if you’re just getting started and most importantly, have fun!
"De Gudde Wëllen" by Milo Hatfield