Alex Ramirez is a Film Club Member and new Student Ambassador for PhotoLounge. We were drawn to his Instagram recently and wanted to know more about his relationship with photography and what he likes to capture. Scroll down to read the interview and see his photos.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
AR: Well, I’ve been shooting digital for about 5 years now, and around a year or 2 ago I began to realize that my editing style became pretty focused on mimicking the way film photography looks. I just LOVED the natural hues and the deep contrast of film. I had some friends who shot film back then who’s work I loved, and after realizing how minimal their editing process was, I kind of felt like I had no choice but to switch over for the most part.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
AR: I shoot everything with a slightly busted Sears KS500, which is actually just a rebranded version of the Ricoh KR-5. In terms of film, I like to try out different stock every time I buy more, but I’ve probably shot Fuji 400 the most just because they sell it at Walmart.
PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?
AR: I love being able to piece together a narrative through a visual body of work, so I find myself most drawn towards the candid and short chronological series. I also love animals. They’re pretty much always candid because they just chill so hard.
I try to capture emotion in everything I shoot too. I think it’s inevitable to attach feelings to fond memories, and I try to remind the viewer of memories within their personal life when I shoot candid subjects. It can get really interesting when it comes to abstract imagery, since that stuff can be sort of detached from that concept, but I find that emotion always seems to bleed through somehow.
PL: Some of your photos capture concert scenes. What do you like about photographing this type of subject? What is challenging about it?
AR: I’ve just always loved music, and concert photography is interesting to me in that it captures the performance without “the point” of why everyone is there in the first place. It kind of teases audiences on what the experience of being enveloped by this music is like. All the best musicians become one with their work during performances, and this passion becomes obvious when you just watch them put themselves on display like that. Most reach a peak during their performance in which the visual aspect becomes essentially synonymous with their music, and I love being able to capture these specific instances that allow me to boil down the feeling of this auditory experience into a visual one. Some acts can be kind of detached from their music, especially when they’re just starting out, so that can make it a bit challenging to get to this musical “essence.” You have to be really attentive as a concert photographer. Moments can come and go really fast, and it can be really easy to miss something crucial.
PL: All of your photos are taken in color. What are some qualities that you like about color film?
AR: The colors themselves! Color was pretty much the main reason I switched over to film. I really appreciate the variety in color that comes with different rolls too, especially when it comes to expired film. I get really particular when it comes to editing color for my digital work, so I love being able to just let the film itself handle all of it.
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
AR: My favorite is probably Blossom, the really bokeh-heavy, out-of-focus night scene. There was originally a subject on the left third, and you can still see the edge of their hands and part of their arm. The light leak that covers them is completely accidental and means I need to get better at loading film, but it really adds a lot. I interpret the image as the feeling of aimlessness after losing someone who you kind of revolved your entire life around. The remnants of this person will always be there, but at some point you’re just left with everything that was previously described as “everything but them.” I also just think it looks cool.