Artist Spotlight: Justin Molina

Justin Molina Snap It See It It’s Monday, and time for another Artist Spotlight! If you are new to the blog, this is our weekly post that features  people producing awesome work with instant film. Today, we are featuring a young chap from Union City, California who makes up 1/3 of the Snap It See It team.

Justin Molina has been with the the blog from the beginning. Soon after Francisco and I had chatted about starting Snap It See It, he told me of his friend Justin and thought he’d be a good fit. Heading up our Instagram account and monitoring Flickr, Justin is the man responsible for bringing you weekly inspiration in the form of our Featured Friday post.

You can see more of his work and follow along with him as he shops for classic vinyl and attends concerts for bands you’ve never heard of at the following links.

Instagram | Tumblr

A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do

Hmmm, I’m really bad at talking about myself. I don’t like it… but I’ll try. I live in the Bay Area of California. Union City, to be exact. Just 45 minutes south of San Francisco. I’ve lived here all 24 years of my life. I’ve been shooting casually, off and on for a couple years now. I’m not good enough to do it for a living, but I gain a lot of joy from it and meet a lot of amazing people doing it. I’m more the type of person to capture moments as they come rather than set things up and shoot, though I do enjoy the occasional photo session from time to time. Not sure why, I just seem to work better that way. I just finished up a degree in graphic design and a photo minor at San Jose State University and like creating things, obviously. I try to flex my design muscle by creating the visuals for Snap It See It, which Chris and Francisco very nicely let me be a part of. Though lately I’ve taken more of a liking to photography and definitely do that a lot more; That’s my main creative outlet. When I’m not shooting, I’m either listening to music, sometimes on vinyl since I’m quite the record hunter, or I am going to a show. League of Legends also seems to take up quite a bit of my free time. I’m nice, I think… and yeah. You should be my friend… please.
How did you get into instant photography?
Like most people, I grew up with polaroids but never really saw it as an artistic medium until I met our very own Francisco Chavira and he introduced me to The Impossible Project in 2012. I bought a cheap 600 box camera on eBay and some Impossible film and took it to Santa Cruz and shot around in an empty Boardwalk and since then I was hooked. It was instant film that got me more seriously into photography and, with Francisco’s help as well, I got into shooting film of all kinds. So instant film was a springboard into the my photography “career”, so to speak.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
I haven’t used too many instant cameras, so I’ll go for the typical and say the SX-70. That and my SLR 690 are among my most prized cameras, with the amazing sharpness and incredible depth of field, all in a foldable SLR camera that shoots instant film. Genius. It’s perfect for the style of portraits I like to shoot. The second i heard about these things, I had to get one and when I finally did I became even more hooked and involved with instant photography.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
An 8 x 10 for sure. I see the Instant 8×10 stuff that some people do, like Troy, and the stuff looks amazingly sharp. 
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
I’m gonna be another one of those guys that says “PX 70 Cool” Seriously though, that stuff was amazing. The dreamy quality and the imperfections and being able to easily manipulate it made it something so unmatched and versatile. Aside from that though, the recent color stuff from Impossible is great, especially the recent color frame packs. Very sharp and saturated in color.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
Since I shoot casually, I don’t really have a “workflow” per say. However, I always make sure i have my SLR 690 or SX-70 with me, whether it’s walking around San Francisco or going to have lunch with my friends I always like to capture moments on the fly rather than plan something out. Also when I take an iPhone photo or a shot on roll film that I really really like, I like to capture it on instant film too. I usually end up with the same shot on a variety of mediums haha.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

Instant film is more of a compliment to my vision rather than something that is a separate entity in my work. Portraits are what I love to do most. For some reason, I don’t work too well with color on roll film and I’d rather work in black and white. With instant film, namely Impossible’s stuff, it’s the exact opposite. I love working with color on instant film. The film captures it so vividly, and although sometimes not very accurately, it’s very appealing gives the color palette i love to work with that is hard for me to get with roll film. So when shooting instant I tend to pay more attention to vivid and appealing colors more than i would otherwise.

Any Personal projects we should know about?

None at the moment. I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve been into uploading my work to tumblr recently. All of the stuff I shoot and that I feel is good enough gets uploaded to my tumblr, whether it’s roll film, instant film, or even iPhone shots. Other than that, nothing too exciting. Check out my tumblr though:

What other photographers do you look up too?

Such a long list. It’s not fair that I can’t list them all. Ryan Muirhead and Parker Fitzgerald come to mind right away… especially Parker. He’s probably had the biggest influence on my style and vision, as far as portraits go. I love his work. Also, because of the blog I’ve recently taken a liking to Jarrod Reno and Matt Day, who put out some amazing work. Follow them now. And doing the Featured Friday posts have turned me on to some amazing photographers that post on flickr regularly, namely .penny, Bastionk80, Peter McCabe and Toby Hancock. My friends Sophia de Young, Martin and Fabian Carlos, Francisco Chavira, Chris Kale, and Anne Bowerman are also very influential and keep me going with this. The list goes on and on. Pretty much everyone within this little yet thriving community has influenced me in some way. 
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
I have nothing too profound to say, or can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said before. But yeah, don’t get discouraged. You will mess up, there will be bad packs of film, cameras will tweak out on you, things will go wrong that you can’t really control. It takes a bit of time to know the quirks of your camera and what it can handle and what it cannot.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
Well aside from keeping up to date the the aforementioned photographers’ work, I search a lot of blogs on tumblr and other art blogs. Music is also a HUGE influence on my creative thinking; certain types of music (namely bands like Boards of Canada, Have A Nice Life, Chelsea Wolfe, or Wolves in the Throne Room, among other atmospheric styles of music) give me very vivid visuals in my mind, usually  of nature and such, and I try my best to translate that into my photography. Also, nature itself is very beautiful and inspiring so I try to go out and enjoy it as much as i can.

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