Hope everyone has had a great weekend. It’s Monday, and that means it’s Artist Spotlight time here on the blog. Snap It See it has been up and running for almost a year now. We have featured some amazing artist in our spotlight during that time. Well, today we feature one of our own. Francisco Gerardo Chavira de Auguilera is one of the co-founders of Snap It See It and is our voice on Twitter. I met Francisco on Instagram and quickly became friends. When I first had the idea for a blog, he is the first person I mentioned it to. Through him, we have been able to introduce our readers to some amazing photographers. You can find Francisco Online at the following links.
A little about yourself, where you are from and what you do.
I am a 20 year old photographer from Sacramento, CA. I am a Studio Manager, Associate Photographer and Assistant for a Photography, Design and Film Studio, The Goodness. I was born in Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango. I am immigrated to the States, when I was 3. Anyway, I started shooting when I was 16 and actively pursued my career when I was 18 and through lots of hard work am where I am. I am very optimistic and love to chat about peoples dream and passions. I truly believe that we are all capable of more then we think, all we are missing is applying ourselves and a little push. If I or the Snap It See It can help any of you in any way please let us know.
How did you get into instant photography?
Well it’s a funny one. I was born in Mexico and we migrated to the states when I was 3. We didn’t have much spending money growing up, only the essentials. One day we were walking to school with Mama and we spotted an old Polaroid 600 box camera in a pile of trash. We where beyond elated, my sister and I had always wanted a Polaroid. From then on we would save our pennies and dollars to buy packs of film at the pharmacy. Sadly we only shot no more the 10 packs I would say. I constantly wish that was not the case, but to be honest. If Polaroid would still be around I wonder if I would have the same appreciation for instant film still being made. I guess it took Polaroid going away, for me to really love it know. Still I’m unsure, because Polaroid film was popular and when they announced the discontinuation, people world wide believed it was dead and many still do to today. Sorry, I’m rambling.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
OY! Easily the hardest question. The camera I use the most is my stunning SX70. The camera itself is designed so beautifully that it inspires me. I am OBSESSED with things past and old graphic design. The camera, to me, is the most gorgeous camera ever designed. I also have to admit that shooting instant film via my 4×5 is definitely my second favorite thing to do. The main reason being the sharpness and manual controls. I am still obsessed with shooting integral film in my 4×5 and it takes Impossible film places you wouldn’t dream of! I wrote and shot a how to video on how to do this, check it out here!
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
Okay this is entirely embarrassing to admit to the instant film community. I have never shot with a Manual Land Camera, like the 180 or 190. I am just so happy shooting my 4×5 and my Automatic Land Camera 450 that I haven’t started searching for my own. I would love to shoot one sometime. Side note, I am also obsessed with getting cool portraits taken of me on interesting formats. I would LOVE and just basically die, if I could ever have my portrait taken on the famous 20×24 Polaroid Camera and be let to take a photo of my favorite model with it. I would seriously die, like, is this real life? What is happening?…
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
UGH here we go with another hard question.Sadly I started shooting instant film far after Polaroid stop producing and have never shot a lot of Polaroids original stocks. I have how ever shot every film produced by Impossible since December 2011. I have shot some Polaroid stocks. However, my ultimate favorite instant shooting method is of the alternative process, such as tintype and daguerreotypes. My goal is to take one tintype portrait of myself a year.
I am so in deeply in love with the new color film be Impossible Project. Their latest Color film for 600 cameras. I just shot their color frame special edition film and man is it insanely gorgeous. I have yet to notice a faster developing time but the colors are soooo amazing and accurate. I helped write a review on their latest film films, check it out here! I could not be more excited to shoot their new black and white film! NO MORE SHIFTING! What! I know, is this real life? Yes it is and we are living in exciting times for instant film. My favorite pack film is fp100c, especially in direct sun. OH man that color rendition is like no other film out there.
I’ve also had my portrait taken on Impossible’s rare color 8×10 film and have used one sheet of Impossible’s black and white 8×10 to take the portrait of Troy Bradford in the gallery. Their 8×10 to me represents such a monumental achievement and speaks to the state of instant film in our days. It is such a unique and monumental film I hope everyone is dying to shoot more of it, as I am.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
My life is instant film basically. At times I think it is to much, but then I tell myself I’m crazy for thinking that. I mean come on! Owning 30 instant film cameras isn’t an obsession, psshhhhhhh, yeah right. I’m just getting started baby! In all seriousness. For my professional work, digital and film live in harmony. I will basically shoot 95% all film or digital, and when I see an image that will be perfect for instant film I shoot it. Three mediums that live in perfect harmony.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
In no way does it differ, because when I started photography I basically started with instant film, film and digital all together. SO, I have built my foundation, my voice on these three mediums. I will admit I prefer film and instant film more because of the life and uniqueness they give my images.
Any personal projects we should know about?
I am currently working on a Kickstarter campaign to shoot my hometown, the project is titled Tierra Natal. It will explore what it means to be an immigrant that was raised somewhere else for a better life. I will be documenting my hometown of Santiago Papasquiaro and my journey of discovering where I am from. I’ll also be giving back to these small communities and people I meet along the way. My plan is to give back by giving them a portrait taken on fp100c. Many of these people have no access to professional photography and it is important for me to try and change that. I have very few images of both of my parents because of that same lack of access to a photographer.
The idea is that there are many people like me. It is definitely a personal story but one that many can relate to. I plan to launch later this week and will have a stunning book printed by Artifact Uprising along with other great rewards. The entire project will be shot on my favorite medium, film. I can not wait to do this project of a lifetime and tell this story for everyone. The project is on its last days, check the video about it more here!
What other photographers do you look up too?
I study the masters and photography on a daily basis as it is my life, so to say that I have a few inspirations is a lie. However, I am currently obsessed with a classic fashion photographer, Cathleen Naundorf. She photographed stunning couture clothes at places like the Musée Rodin and Coco Chanel’s old apartment. The photographs where taken from 2007-2010 and taken on very now rare and classic Polaroid films. I love this blog post on her work and if Google image search her you’ll find pure glory.
I am also a huge fan of Mathias Heiderich, a self taught German photographer working from Berlin. He is a minimal genius, his stunning, vibrant and colorful architecture photography will blow your mind. perfectly composed and very stark. I have heard he shoots with a Hassy and a digital back along with Kodak Ektar. The lack of people in his photographs play upon my love of photographing empty buildings and shooting on holidays because everyone is in doors. Check out more of his work here.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
I have been shooting instant film long enough, with a small emphasis on Impossible film, I know what the camera will do and if a certain situation will work. I place an emphasis on Impossible film because I have heard of COUNTLESS photographers disappointed by the film. The thing is that when you are shooting Impossible film, especially those photographers that shot Polaroid film, you have to treat it like you have never shot an instant shot ever before. Think about how it took you a long time to learn to shoot film and you had countless bad rolls and ruined images. Yet, you kept at it and now you couldn’t imagine your life without it. That is Impossible film. Keep at it, you will master it and your results will make you so happy you stuck it out.
Where does most of your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
I love to play with the juxtaposition of drama and simplicity. I am obsessed with the lines and drama of classic fashion photography yet am inspired by minimalism. So, my vision is very spread out. Working on my photography and in the photography business every day keeps me sharp and inspired to keep working. Yet my favorite ideas and projects naturally come to me either by the past or suddenly hit me. Like a ton of bricks vision hit me, probably my favorite part of this thing we call inspiration. One of the pillars of photography and staying inspired for my clients is personal work. I couldn’t emphasis that enough. Personal work will keep you full of energy and ready to shoot. In many ways that personal work can even lead you to more jobs and clients. Personal projects, do them, stay inspired.