Photographer Feature 5questions x 5images: Nando

What made you start shooting film? 

"I had to start shooting film because Still Photography in 35mm was a class on my first semester of Film School. At the time, I took the class and paid very little attention to the medium, to the workflow, or the results. I really started shooting film 3, 4 years ago, when I took on the moniker Analogue Vignette, I wanted to educate my mind’s eye to the aesthetic and appreciation of film, to its finite possibilities based on exposures and stock. I now wanted to know and understand how to take good photos, and even more important, why some didn’t deliver the results I had hoped for."

Who or what are you most inspired by? and why? 

"Inspiration comes from several factors, mainly collaboration, community, and sometimes vague ideas that force me to zero in on what they’re really about, growth. Collaboration and community go hand in hand, as the main series that’s kept me busy, the Mixtape Fotográfico, is a visual project to document, celebrate and highlight the players of the Chicago independent music scene. Going to shows, experiencing live performances, meeting fellow creatives in other arts, talking about struggles and little moments of artistic joy— that itself is inspiring enough to get you out of the house. Now I get to work with these folks and have a creative rapport. Vague ideas, sometimes they wanna chased and pondered over, others they just need to tackled head on. And in the process of all that, I find myself growing as visual artist."

How did you educate yourself to take better pictures? 

"There’s books and internet tutorials, but personal experience, Trial and error, is the best way to learn. It counts the most, especially when mistakes are made because you are then confronted with the antithesis you didn’t anticipate. So you go back, you look at your field notes and you see “that was a very long exposure for a high speed stock” or “pushed the film too much and didn’t have enough light to help in the process”. You also aim to do the same thing with slight variations, or bracket exposure times within a roll. But those were all things that cost me a roll or two of unusable images. Self doubt is very present, no lie, but in those dark moments, you look at where you’ve succeeded, nod to yourself, take a step back, and say “lesson learned there, lesson learned here, now what’s the next one?"

What does photography mean to you? 

"Had to think about this... I don’t think about it, what Photography, my photography, is or means a lot. I definitely leans towards the idea that photography is an art, it’s a form of communication, that is a science: a wonder of chemistry and physics when it’s analog and 21st century’s top engineering and coding prowess when it’s digital. But as an art form and a document of time, the time we all live as photographers, it involves a lot of responsibility to be both a centered artist who creates a vision of their world and a responsible, unbiased chronicler of truth. Maybe that’s too over the top and pretentious, but we lost a lot the behavior and etiquette of photography, even for family, when we take photos at arm’s length and don’t gift physical photos anymore."

What’s your dessert island camera?

"I’ve only used a handful of cameras, and the Nikon FE, a camera that was first introduced back in ‘78, is the body I been using for over 10 years. It belonged to my father before me. This little guy has done  w o n d e r s  for me, so I would salvage it from a shipwreck and have it by my side in a dessert island, and if I could, plenty of Kodak TriX to shoot with it! You can’t go wrong with that stock either!"

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