Member Moment: Mario Cabral

Film Club

Mario Cabral is a long time Film Club Member. He is always dropping off film at PhotoLounge and was recently featured in our past gallery show Test Shot. The photos featured in the show truly caught our attention so we decided to reach out to him to see more of his work and talk with him about his photography.

Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: It was kinda one of those things that just came to me. I always had cameras growing up and my parents always got prints made. They kinda were just shots of memories, not something that I would consider art. I’ve always wished I could paint or draw because I thought that was the only way to achieve creating a scene or picture in my head. After a few years of casually using point and shoots, I started to experiment, taking photos of shadows and buildings. So I guess the realization that I could use photography as a medium of expression was what got me interested.

Q: There are both color and black and white images in this series. What qualities do you like in both black and white and color film?
A: It’s not necessarily what I like, but how I think a scene should be photographed.I primarily use black and white film to capture and express emotions and most of the abstract work I do. Other times, when I’m photographing in color, I want to create a scene where the viewer feels like they’re there. Give it life.

Q: Many of your photos of people seem to tell a story through the action or position they are captured in. What do you look for when photographing people that brings out this story telling quality? Alternatively, your photos of architecture are very still and geometric. What do you look for within buildings that makes you take a photograph?
A: It all comes down to the context around them. I always ask myself, “what’s happening here?”. More like documentation, I guess. Sometimes I like to take vague photos where I let the viewer make up their own story. Like the photo of the woman crossing the street. There’s so much going on, you can’t really pin what’s happening so there’s always a million scenarios that could be floating through your head.

I also really enjoy focusing on the architecture of the city, especially finding symmetry on the corners of buildings where it seems the sides are mirrored. I try my best to incorporate both capturing a moment with some sort of landscape to add layers to it.

Q: Out of all of these images do you have one that you are most proud of? If so, which one and why?
A: The photo of the house with the green bikes, for sure. There are so many little details in it. It was one of those lucky photos that kinda just falls in your lap. It’s such a simple photo that captures a classic south Philly home, yet speaks so much.

Q: Many of your photos are taken of street scenes. What have you found to be the most challenging about street photography? 
A: The most challenging part is the wait. You have to be really patient because most of the photos taken on the street are by chance. Kinda like being at the right place at the right time.

Q: Do you have something in mind that you would want to continue to photograph or want to try?
A: So many! I couldn’t necessarily think of one but my ongoing project, Intersections, is something I see myself continuing to pursue for a while. Being out on the streets and documenting Philadelphia as much as I can. It’s an ever changing city with so much always going on and I think it’s important to try to show that to the world.


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