It’s Artist Spotlight time! This is our weekly post where we showcase artist doing amazing things with instant film. This week we are featuring the work of Ashley Saldana. Ashley is a 19 year old Fine Art Photography student living in southern Maryland. Her work is such a mix of various techniques, I could honestly spend a day on Flickr admiring her art. You can find out more about Ashley and see more of her work at the following links.
How did you get into instant photography?
Well, about two years ago my grandparents had sent me a Polaroid camera that they use to use. I had never used a Polaroid or shot with any instant film for that matter. I did a bunch of research about instant film trying to find places online that sold film. Unfortunately that is also when I found out Polaroid didn’t make instant film anymore, but luckily there was The Impossible Project that I stumbled upon. That Christmas I received a few boxes from my parents and ever since then I have been using instant film regularly.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
My go to camera is my Polaroid SX-70 time zero autofocus model 2. I love that it has both manual and autofocus which makes it much more convenient when taking self-portraits. I also like to use a variety of 600 cameras along with my Polaroid Spectra System, which is also another top favorite. I love the timer and having the ability to create double exposures. Lately I have been experimenting with my Wista 45 Large format camera by shooting the impossible project’s 600 films. Shooting with the 4×5 really slows me down; it takes a lot of patience and time to think about the shot.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
I’d have to say the polaroid mini portrait. Four shots on one piece of film, I think that’s pretty awesome!
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
Although I am beginning to grow on the Color Protection films, I can’t get enough of the COOL films. I fell in love with them when they first came out and I’m still in love with them now. When it comes to picking a box of film out of the fridge I’m more likely to choose the expired pack instead of the fresh box that doesn’t expire for another year or so. Shooting with expired film leads to many interesting results, you never really know if the photo will come out entirely or just half the frame, whether there will be massive “divots” that decapitate the subject or tiny ones in the corner, sometimes I get these dark sections (normally three) running vertically on the photo. I’m just drawn to the spontaneity!
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
I recently purchased my first 4×5 camera that I was beyond excited about! I have been teaching myself and reading a lot about the different ways I can use the camera. That’s why I started shooting instant film with it. Not only am I experimenting with the process of shooting instant film in a large format camera without the proper back, but I’m also becoming more familiar with how to use the camera itself. There are so many things I have control over when shooting with a large format camera.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
I have been using instant photography mainly when it comes to photographing myself. I have become very interested in the form and natural beauty of the human body. This body of work is very different from anything I have recently done. I’m photographing myself in a completely vulnerable state. A lot of people may not understand it, but I do it because I want to share with the world what I think is beautiful.
Any personal projects we should know about?
At the moment I am working on a 365 project. I tried it a couple years ago but gave up half way through. It’s something that my dad and I started this year. He is in Afghanistan so I thought it was cool way to be able to connect with each other through photographs. I like incorporating different mediums in my project; I have used instant film of course, my good ol’ digital camera, videos, drawings, and a few iPhone pictures. My dad has mainly been using his iPhone, but my family got him the GoPro for fathers’ day, and he’s been having a blast with that!
What other photographers do you look up too?
Oh man, this list could go on! My top three would have to be Edward Weston, Man Ray, and Imogen Cunningham. All of them have created such beautiful work that I will forever look up to. I have met so many talented artists through various social networking sites especially Instagram and Flickr. I love connecting with others who have the same interests as me, everyone that I have met through social networking sites have inspired me in some way to continue what I’m doing.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
Be patient. Just because you cant get it right the first time doesn’t mean you can’t do it all. There are a lot of things you need to remember when shooting instant film. With more exposure, comes more experience.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
My inspiration comes from various places and people. It’ll be the little things that set it off too. I find myself seeking it out when it has already found me.