Interview with ALYSSA BALUYOT, PHILIPPINES

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Photography in general, has been some sort of a therapy for me. I love taking long walks with my camera and together, we meet and capture a part of a day in the life of random people.


Welcome, Ysa! Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into film photography?


Ysa: I was a quiet child (that I carried up until now), I am an only child which is why I'm more comfortable doing things on my own. I grew up being inclined to arts, and one of my passion is photography. During my teenage years, I've been thinking about making photography as a career but eventually ended up as a registered nurse. It is only recently (2016) when I was able to purchase my own camera that I really got into photography.


On film photography, I am actually just starting. I met a few film photographers and I keep on wondering what it is about film and why they chose it over digital photography, so I tried it for myself and it changed my perspective a lot. I remember playing with my grandfather's old Minolta film camera and had no idea that I'll be into it years later.


What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?


Ysa: I initially opted to use black and white film because it's what I am primarily into. My first roll is an Ilford HP5 plus used with Ricoh 35s. But, of course, I'm still experimenting with different brands and kinds of film. I now have 3 film cameras: Ricoh 35s, a Pentax point and shoot and a Konica Siii which was gifted to me.



What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?



Ysa: It's the feeling, the anticipation and the surprise. When you shoot with digital, you see the results right away. You can edit, adjust, warp or whatever you'd like to do with your image right away, but with film, there's always this feeling of mixed excitement and hope about how your shot will turn out. When I finally got my first roll processed and developed, I couldn't believe it. I felt like a kid. I was so proud of myself even though most of the time I was shooting, I've no idea what I really am doing or if I'm really doing it right.


Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?

Ysa: I've a trusted lab where I send all my rolls for processing and scanning but I haven't had them printed yet. I'm still planning when to have them printed. Given the opportunity, (and budget!) of course I would like to learn how to develop and print my own photographs. I've been dreaming of having my own darkroom. 


What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?



Ysa: Photography in general, has been some sort of a therapy for me. I love taking long walks with my camera and together, we meet and capture a part of a day in the life of random people. What's even motivating about film photography is the never ending urge to do better. It makes me think and feel before I click the shutter. 


Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?


Ysa: I've been a fan of Lav Diaz' black and white movies. His scenic frames and angles. They're like moving photographs. Other than him, fellow Filipino photographers inspire me as well and it's a pleasure to have met and befriended some of them. 


Do you see any value shooting with film? 


Ysa: Yes. It highlights the value of skill over anything else. Since you have no idea how your shot would turn out, you tend to be mindful before you press the shutter. The longer you practice film photography, the more chances you have to improve and hone your skill. 



What do you think is the future of film photography?



Ysa: I think, as long as there are curious and passionate young photographers, there will always be film photography. I've talked to a friend about it and he said that a lot of digital photographers are asking him about using film and how most of those who asked have started using film, too.


What’s your dream photography project?



Ysa: A project on social issues. I want to be sent out to different parts of the Philippines and be able to meet people through photography.


Any advice for those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?



Ysa: First, never be afraid to try new things. The outcome will always surprise you. Second, do not be shy to ask others for advice and tips. Especially when you're purchasing a film camera for the first time. Remember that it is okay to make mistakes. That it's trial and error and that there's a possibility of having your first roll wasted.


I was really nervous the first time I loaded a roll on my camera. And then there's this incident where I thought I've loaded it properly and that I'm on my last frame only to discover that it's not winding at all.


Lastly, have fun and make memories with it!


It's not a lie what they say, that when you take long walks your creative juices will start flowing. It shows very well in Ysa's body of work. Look up @ysaaaaab on Instagram and check the rest of her photographs posted there.


So what say you? Pick up your camera and hit the streets!

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Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Alyssa Baluyot. She devoted her time, and worked so damn hard in producing these photographs. You are not allowed to copy, download, reproduce, reprint, modify, distribute, publicly display, license, transfer or sell content retrieved from this page in any way, for any public or commercial use or to any commercial source, including other websites, without prior written permission of Alyssa Baluyot. You don’t want to go to jail, do you?


Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at mapamelvin@gmail.com with the subject, "Interview me", and share your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.


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Cheers!

Mel


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