This week we interviewed Film Club Member Ariadna Gonzalez. She regularly tags us in her photos on Instagram, submits to the photo contest, and has been featured in our Member Shows. Since she is so active within the photo community we thought it would be nice to hear more about her relationship with photography and see a collection of her work.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: Growing up in the 90’s, my family constantly had disposable cameras on rotation for all to take photos. We loved to document things, and as I got older I began to play with the medium more. When the photos were developed and enjoyed, I would store them in a big box that was filled with many more from years past, including those of generations before me. One of my pastimes was to take everything out, marvel at all these memories, and organize them again in timelines. It was always exciting to get the prints from the lab and sit down to study them, which made me want to keep doing it for years.
Q: What are some of the qualities that you like about film photography specifically and what are some of the challenges you face?
A: I love the rawness of film. It feels very intimate when I’m composing a film image at the moment, getting ready to press the shutter. It’s very exciting waiting to get the results of my work, and reliving the emotions of when I took the photo. The challenge is not having all the photos turn ok, which can be frustrating. But in the end, it still gives so much opportunity to keep growing.
Q: What kind of camera do you shoot with and what type of film do you usually use?
A: I began doing film again during lockdown, after 10 years of not doing so. I got the cheapest point and shoot I could find on eBay, an Holga K-280, using a Fujicolor 200 roll. Since I was so out of practice, I decided to not think about it too much. But then I was pleasantly surprised with the results! I used that camera a few more times until my mom sent me an old Canon EOS 500 that I had thought was lost. I began to experiment more on that camera using different films, but my favorite so far is Kodak ColorPlus 200. Unfortunately, the camera broke down and is beyond repair now, so I went back to the Holga just to keep shooting.
Q: There are a few photos that have a similar light leak in them. Did you know this would happen with the camera you were using? What do you like about these images?
A: I did, actually! These rolls are carefully pre-exposed by the great people from Psych Blues, so it wasn’t my camera that created the light leaks. I was very interested in creating dreamy and colorful images similar to how I felt about them emotionally, so this film was perfect for it.
Q: There is a mix of up close and more landscape photos within this collection as well as day time and night time photos. What is it about something that makes you take a photo of it?
A: Half of the photos I take are from sights I find interesting and beautiful, and the other half are things that have specific memories and emotions attached to them. I didn’t try doing night photography until I got the Canon and paired it with Cinestill 800, which blew me away since I was expecting it to not work out, haha. In general, I take photos to remember things, since I struggle with dissociation. Due to this I don’t have the best memory, so documenting my life is tremendously helpful to preserve specific moments and feelings. When looking back at photos, it allows me to retrace my days.
Q: Out of this selection of photographs which is your favorite and why?
A: That’s a hard one since they’re all important memories! But I guess the one of 5th and Passyunk in the snow is one. I was born in the tropics, so I struggle with cold a lot. But I still love snow! It is lovely when most people hide at home, and the streets go silent. I wanted to capture that moment of freedom I felt while venturing out by myself.