Giavanna Plaza-Martinez is a Film Club Member who is very active within the community. This week she shared with us a group of photos that were taken on a road trip as well as some that were captured in Philly. Scroll down to see the photos and read the interview.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
GP: It’s kind of silly but I’ve always had this fear that once icloud dissipates I’ll lose all these memories of my youth and all the beautiful things I did and saw so I made it a priority to have physical copies of my film and it kind of grew from there. My Abuela also used to have boxes full of developed film and growing up we had days where we would look through all the film and hear all her stories. That memory has always stuck with me and now it’s a gift I want to give to my future self. I have become her with my albums of photos and walls covered with film pictures and I really love that.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
GP: I’ve been pretty consistent about using the fuji film disposable cameras but recently I’ve had the opportunity to use the olympus stylus point and shoot that I borrowed from the photo lounge's lending library and it’s really sparked a need to buy my own. I used Kodak Portra 400 for the majority of the photos linked and I have to say it’s been my favorite so far.
PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?
GP: I like to find the beauty in everything, even the mundane. A Lot of my photos are just of my life, friends, and places I visit regularly. Everytime I see these people and places I want to capture their beauty because one day I won’t be in the same place with these same people but remembering how I loved and appreciated it all is so important. I’d describe it as a warm feeling, a big smile and giggle that makes me think this is important to me and I’d like to remember it forever.
PL: You mentioned that some of these photos were taken while on a road trip. What does it mean for you to capture these places/moments on film?
GP: It means everything!!! It’s a documentation of my life, of my experiences. Specifically for the road trip it was places I wouldn't see in that exact moment of space and time ever again and so it was imperative for me to capture these moments. The moments are also attached to memories and feelings that will forever be invoked just by looking at the picture. I just think the world is so pretty and vast, that we have to appreciate it more. Earth gives us so much and the little I can do back is capture the beauty and show it to others so that they can appreciate it as well. I also love to reminisce and visit old memories. I find it so grounding to see how far you’ve come and all the experiences you’ve had and film photos give that to me.
PL: Many of your photos do not include people. Is this an intentional choice?
GP: No, for the road trip specifically a lot of it was nature shots because we were driving for hours through just land. It was so great and it was nice to focus on nature and its vastness. The greens, oranges, and blues all melted together so wonderfully as we moved from one location to the next that I just had to capture it all. I do also love taking photos of people, seeing their smiles, and watching them pose when I ask to take a picture. It feels special and intimate like this time is ours and I want you to know I care enough to want to hold a piece of that in my heart.
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
GP: They are all my favorite but the one that I've been constantly staring at is the one I took in Pilsen, Chicago. It was of a church with the virgin mary surrounded by flowers and twinkle lights hung from tree to tree. We stumbled upon it just walking around the city and when I saw it I knew I needed a picture. I grew up catholic and am much more spiritual than religious now but there is something about the aesthetic of catholicism that I still find beautiful. The devotion, the statues, the stained glass all remind me of going to church with my abuela. We would go up and light the candles under the virgin mary after church and it brought me back to that. It’ll be 10 years this December since she passed and that photo just reminds me so much of her and what she shared with me.
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