Artist Spotlight : Jon Duenas

Jon Duenas

Jon, by Chelsea Wilde, Polaroid 779 Film, Polaroid Sun 600

Welcome back to another Artist Spotlight. This week we are featuring Jon Duenas. Originally from Houston,TX, Jon now resides in Portland, OR. He is a editorial fashion photographer and shoots fine art weddings on film. We were captivated by his work and feel you will be to. You can find more of Jon’s work by following the links below.

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(1) How did you get into instant photography?

Several years ago I found an old, cheap 80’s Polaroid camera at a thrift store. At the time, I was just beginning my interest in photography, and Polaroid still made film for crazy cheap (compared to prices these days). It was a lot of fun, but also a challenge considering the lens was fixed focus, exposure was automatic, and the flash went off every time. A little while after that though I got really lucky and found an even older Polaroid 220 Land Camera that took peel apart. The charm of that old camera with bellows hooked me. Eventually I bought my first SX-70,  and there was no going back.

 (2) What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

My SX-70 original model.

 (3) What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

One of the manual pack film cameras like the 180. That or a maybe a Mamiya Universal/Polaroid 600SE. Or a Mamiya RZ67 with a Polaroid back. I’ve used a Hasselblad with a Polaroid back, but the film only gets a small 6×6 piece exposed rather than the larger square that fills up more of the frame with the Mamiya.

 (4) What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

The new Impossible Project PX70 Color Protection is phenomenal. Pack film, I just love 669, but I used up all of mine years ago.

 (5) How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

I tend to not incorporated my Polaroids at all. I enjoy Polaroids on their own. They’re usually devoid of a full “shoot” type context. But when I do bring it with me on shoots, I will only take a handful of shots, and again I really tend to enjoy them on their own rather than within the context of the rest of the shoot. They’re like my “teaser” before I get my 35mm or 120 film developed because I can share them right away, especially since I get behind on blogging shoots a lot or I have to wait till it’s published before sharing. A lot of photographers use Instagram the same way (which I do too). But I think of Polaroid as like my “analog” version of Instagram.

 (6) How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

I’d say it doesn’t differ really, apart from the fact that the different cameras make me see things differently. My work really comes down, in a nutshell, to my desire to experience beautiful moments. Whether it’s an event that’s happening in front of me, a beautiful view sought out, or a mood created through styling a scene and model, I just love experiencing these things I’d never experience if I didn’t have a camera in my hands and get to know people in a way few people do. I just put the camera up to my face and press the shutter every once in a while to keep it for posterity. But, I guess the difference with instant photography is that the result is, quite literally, unique. When you hold that original print in your hand, that’s it. You can’t really duplicate it like you can with prints from film or digital. And I feel like that is the closest to representing the actual moment better than any other medium. It reminds you of the preciousness of it all.

 (7) Any personal projects we should know about?

I’ve been focusing a whole lot on professional projects lately. I haven’t had much time for personal projects. I’ll start something up again soon hopefully. One that I’ve had waiting for a while now is to learn how to develop and print black and white in the darkroom. The other is to somehow obtain and use a large format film camera. I’m also wanting to get back more into peel apart Polaroid film cameras and experimenting with negatives from Fuji FP100C and FP3000B. But I need to get a working camera again before I can dive back into that. Both my 220 and 450 died on me.

 (8) What other photographers do you look up too?

So many from so many different genres. Tim Walker, Paolo Reversi, Jose Villa, Tec Petaja, Mariam Sitchinava, Jan Scholz, Julia Galdo, Parker Fitzgerald, probably even more, but those are definite standouts for me.

 (9) What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

When you first start, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll hate it. (Ha!) It can take some getting use to. Trial and error. Depending on the film and camera you start out with, there are a lot of nuances to learn about how they both interact with each other. Especially if you’re starting with a camera that has auto exposure like the SX70. You have to learn how the camera sees the light, and then how the film captures that light. So, don’t give up at the start! Keep at it!

 (10) What is one question you would like us to ask on a future interview?

Where does most of your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

 

Like these Artist Spotlights? Want to see more? Let us know who you would like to see, maybe it’s you. Email us at featured@snapitseeit.com

 

Comments

  1. LOVE THIS! Thanks Jon!

  2. Thank you so much for the feature! Happy to be in on the beginnings of this awesome blog.

    • Jon, thank you. We enjoyed your interview, and I’m sure are readers did too. We only plan to get better. With support from artist like you and our awesome readers, we will.

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