| Dec 3, 11:00 AM
Hello, instanteers. Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our popular instant film Q&A series. This week, we happily bring you wonderful California photographer Francisco Chavira…
1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?
Like most photographers, I get GAS or Gear Acquisition Syndrome; It’s incredibly easy to get! There are Polaroid cameras everywhere at my place. However, I was challenged by a fellow photographer to stick to one camera and one film, to learn everything about that one camera and that one film. So, I shoot almost exclusively with an SX-70 Sonar. I’ve learned that the sonar doesn’t work most of the time, so I manually focus all the time. Sticking with this one camera, I’ve grown very comfortable with it and shooting it has become very natural. It’s truly an amazing camera, the depth of field and the sharpness of the SX-70 is stunning.
2) Why do you like instant photography?
As a film photographer, having an instant photo at your disposal is incredibly rad. Not only do you get the satisfaction of seeing how your images will look right away, but your subject gets the feeling of accomplishment as well. All the effort your subject put into makeup, hair, posing ect. is worth it. Instant film is powerful, because it has a unique ability to alter someones mood. To think how this one tiny square image, can uplift and excite is amazing. Having that power to instantly uplift your subject on a portrait shoot is powerful.
3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?
Well it’s a funny one. I was born in Mexico and we migrated to the states when I was 3. We didnt 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.
4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?
My favorite film is the newest PX 70 Color Protection. I was able to test it out before release and it is amazing. I shot 4 packs in no time and I feel I’ve really learned it. No crystals, sharpness increased, color is better, no more light patches from improper shielding. Seriously what more can we ask for? The PZ 600 Black Frame is killer. The best integral black and white film I have used by Impossible. The cinematic quality of the spectra coupled with the sharpness and wonderful tones of this film, create so much beauty.
5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Portraits are my strongest point. As much as I have tried to make my vision full of dreamy, surreal images. I know I am not that. I have to be true to my voice. My voice is all about portraits so I am focusing on mastering portraiture and creating minimal captivating images of people.
6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.
There are two main projects I am set on. One is a personal vision I have been planning in my head for 3 years. It’s a bit complicated because it involves a custom gown and a perfect cliff overlooking the ocean. Another project is a new Instant Film Photography blog called SnapItSeeIt.com a few buddies of mine are making. It will feature only instant film and help promote the use of it and include things such as shooting techniques, film reviews and featured artists. It will launch early next year.
7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
One of my all time favorite portrait photographers is Mark Seliger. The incredible minimalism his portraits have is just phenomenal. His fashion work is so minimal and big at the same time. There is an incredible attention to every detail that makes even the most basic portrait have an incredible amount of content. I strive to one day master portraiture the way he did.
8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
Being born in Mexico and have migrated here at a young age, I missed out on having a real connection to it, aside from small family vacations we took there later in life. I dream of traveling to Mexico taking portraits of everyday people, along with making meaningful portraits of my relatives, I’ve come to know by phone calls. Sadly, the current state of unrest Mexico is in keeps me away. I also would love to get my hands on a couture gown for this vision I need out of my head.
I live in Sacramento, California. I am a photographer, second shooter and assistant to various wedding photographers. A part-time barista as well.