Melisa Soysal has been a long time customer at PhotoLounge as well as a dedicated Film Club Member. Her images have caught our eye on Instagram as well as in our Member Shows so we decided to get to know her better! Read on for an interview and to see some of her photos.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: Growing up my mom was always taking photos.I remember she would take so many to document memories and send prints back home to our family (in Turkey). At one point she gifted me her old camera and I began to document everything. Nothing happened that I didn't take a photo of. I got really into scrapbooking shortly after and now I have scrapbooks at my parent’s house filled with the most random content. Photos or rocks, shoes, items in our pantry, you name it all covered in scrapbook glitter lol.
Q: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
A: When I’m shooting film (which I have found my way back over the last few years) I use my Nikon F3. I generally will use any film I get my hands on. For a while I was just getting random rolls, some expired, some not, from family friends finding rolls during house decluttering. That was really fun, because I was never quite sure what my photos would look like in the end.
I’ve been on the market for a nice point and shoot camera that I can take with me on road trips/camping and I recently was gifted an Olympus Stylus Zoom 140 for my birthday. That has been a total game changer for me. It’s so light and portable I pretty much have it on me 24/7. It’s really elevated my street photography. I used to have to plan to go out and shoot, bring my camera, think of a location, etc. ya know? Now, I’ll just be going about my day, see something (usually someone) really interesting and just take a quick photo. That’s been really fun lately for me.
Q: There are a mix of black and white and color photographs within this collection. What qualities do you like in color film and black and white film?
A: This is a tough one! Both are magical in their own ways. I love black and white for shooting photos of people and street photography. I think the “lack of color” and starkness of the b&w really force your focus onto the subject of the photo. When I start to bring color into the mix, my eyes tend to shift to other things in the photo like the scenery and what’s going on in the background. So I generally prefer color for landscapes and nature shots. All that being said, I am a huge sucker for the dreamy effects you can create when taking color photos of people and places. So my long winded way of saying I like b&w for its starkness and forced concentration on one aspect of a photo and color for dreamy/airy feeling photos where your eyes float around the image.
Q: Many of your photos are of people. What do you enjoy about photographing people? What is challenging about it?
A: I love taking photos of people! Especially people I don’t know. I really enjoy capturing someone in a really specific moment of time. I have tons of photos of people who I walk by on the street or see out somewhere. I have no clue where they are coming from, going, or what they were thinking about right before I asked to take their photo. It’s something you can never recreate in the exact same way. I really enjoy that aspect of it. I guess what can be challenging is the unpredictability of movement with people. You never quite know what someone will do, but sometimes that makes for the best pictures.
Q: These photos seem to have a great sense of movement and a vibrant color quality. How would you describe your style of photography? What do you look for when you are out photographing?
A: It sounds a bit corny, but I would describe my style as a digital story teller. I like to think of my photos as mini documentaries. They are documenting a really specific point of time. Usually a person doing and thinking about something, somewhere, that will never happen in the same exact way again. I tend to just look around me when I’m out shooting. I lean towards capturing everyday life. I try not to look for a specific person, place, or thing. It allows me to be more open and present in the moment, which is when I usually end up taking my favorite photos.
Q: Out of all of these images, which photo is your favorite and why?
A: At the moment, I would have to go with the kids playing in the fountains. It has a nice feeling of nostalgia and longing to me. Longing for warmer weather, simplicity, and fun. I feel like I can feel the warmth of the sun and hear sounds of laughter when I look at it.
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