A (Musical) Photo Diary on Film by a Handsome Ghost

It takes two to tango, and for the musical duo, Handsome Ghost composed by singer-songwriter Tim Noyes and multi-instrumentalist and producer Eddie Byun, working together helped them get the best out of each other. Tim started in 2014 by himself and released the first ballad, but four years later, after being joined by Eddie, they released their debut album, Welcome Back. Blending acoustic and dreamy notes with digital and raw sounds, Handsome Ghost has another album in the works, releasing a few singles to tease their audience. But the band also has a special affinity and relationship with analog photography, adding a visual layer of emotion to their album. Using a Lomo LC-A+, the band captured the behind the scenes of their studio sessions, stolen moments of creative work, and moody pictures of their Massachusetts landscape.

Diary Entry"Tim tracking guitar. Most of the rhythm acoustic guitar parts are three takes layered on top of each other which isn’t anything unique really… But our studio is right next to a semi-busy street. Sometimes we’d have the perfect take, only to realize while listening back that a truck drove by and decided to test its brakes or something. " ©Handsome Ghost

Hello Handsome Ghost! It's great to have you here at Lomography. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves Tim & Eddie?

Tim and I are both Massachusetts boys. Just two best friends making music and trying to get by!

Going from a solo project to a now-famous and acclaimed duo, what are Handsome Ghost’s milestones?

We started off playing music together 9 years ago in a folk band. Sometimes it feels like we’ve come a long way since then, sometimes it doesn’t and that’s okay! Famous and acclaimed both seem generous... we’re just trying our best to make music that matters to us.

Diary Entries, from left to right, top to bottom: "Electric guitar plays a much more prominent role on this record than anything we’ve done before. There were points when I really wish I had a few electric guitars to choose from for a part. But sometimes limitations force you to be creative | The studio gets to be a big ol' mess when we’re recording. That’s one of the downsides of doing everything at home. Nothing’s keeping us tidy. We took that mandolin out once to try it on something… we didn’t end up using it, and we never put it back. Some say it’s still sitting on the floor to this day. (It is) | They reunite! How sweet." ©Handsome Ghost

Can you tell us a bit about the new album? Where did you draw inspiration for it?

Our new album is a big shift for us musically, it’s a lot more intimate and quiet than our previous releases. The album is called Some Still Morning… it’s a collection of songs for mornings. They’re reflections on memories but from a place of peace that you get to as you get older, wiser, more handsome, etc.

How did you get into photography, and analog photography?

I found my dad’s old Canon AE-1 at a time when cameras were getting smaller and smaller and smaller. I loved the heft and the process of taking a photo: advancing the film, setting the aperture, focusing, and the sound of the shutter/ mirror. Honestly, I think I liked the process more than actual photography at first.

Right Photo Diary Entry: "Tim in the vocal booth (bathroom). Usually, we record vocals with the door closed. But ya gotta get that shot, right?" ©Handsome Ghost

What role does photography hold in your journey, especially analog photography?

Analog photography really forces you to take your time, and slow down, which I always need. I also love how you have to be more deliberate about your shots; you can’t take 15 of the same shot and delete 14. And when you have only one or two versions of a shot, you have to find a reason to appreciate what you’ve got.

The pictures you sent are both nostalgic and dreamy, as well as being intimate. How do they reflect your music?

I’m glad you feel that way about the photos. We really wanted the visuals to feel like our record and to be an important part of telling the story. We took most of our photos with 35mm cameras in the morning to get that combination of graininess and soft lighting. We wanted the songs on this record and the accompanying visuals to feel like photo albums; a collection of memories put together, each with some story to tell.

Top row Diary Entries: "Took this photo while putting a new roll into the LC-A+. Sometimes little mistakes are nice. I think it looked cool. | This is the Ghost Girl. She’s very concerned Tim is stuck in the bathroom, howling away. | Initially, we wanted drums to be a big part of this record. But we ended up only using the snare for little brush textures. " ©Handsome Ghost

Why was it important for you to document the recording of the album?

We took all these photos in the morning throughout the recording process. The soft lighting I thought really showed our headspace while working on these songs. Partially because we wanted to share that with others, but also because it’s important to remember the past.

Diary Entry "This is me tracking some piano parts for “Massachusetts”. The green cloth in the piano is a shirt I had to tear up and put in to damp some of the weird noises an old piano makes. That piano’s a cranky old man."©Handsome Ghost

Do you have a favorite picture from the batch you sent us? Could you tell us the story behind it?

I love the photo Tim took of me recording some piano for our song “Massachusetts” in my bedroom. A lot of little memories crammed into a seemingly bare photo. The piano is my girlfriend’s childhood piano, the blue on the bottom are my unmade bed sheets, those plants on the bottom are fake plants that came with the room, the cloth on the piano is a shirt from middle school I cut up to help dampen the sound of the hammers on the strings.

With what gear did you take the photos?

All of these photos were with the Lomo LC-A+ using either Kodak Ultramax 400 or Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400. The majority of the photos we share are with either the LC-A+ or Canon AE-1.

Could you describe a day in the life of Handsome Ghost while recording?

The benefit of having our own studio is that we can really set our own schedule, take our time, and be at our own pace. There isn’t really a typical day, we just kinda go with the flow of each song. The downside is that we can spend half a day recording one shaker part because I start over-thinking my entire life once the mic is on.

©Handsome Ghost

What does the future hold for Handsome Ghost?

Our record Some Still Morning is out this year and we’re excited to share it and tell the stories behind the record. We’ll get back to the studio soon and start working on something new.


You can hear Handsome Ghost's latest singes on all musical platforms or on their website, and follow them on Instagram.

written by tamarasaade on 2020-06-26 #people #videos

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