Interview with CHRISTIAN BABISTA, PHILIPPINES

Experience is always the best teacher, and do recognize every progress you make through your journey into film photography.


Mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography?


Christian:  I got interested with photography when I saw my grandfather's prints. I saw all of his polaroids and films which triggered me the most to get into it. There's a different kind of excitement in film photography as compared to digital, it gives me that thrill of not knowing what my shots look like and how good or bad it will turn into. The more I understand the process of seeing the actual photo, the more interested I become. I started with expired films, a lot of people may seem to consider these useless but there a different kind of excitement taking shots using these. I find it amusing how colors are changed differently and I see this as another opportunity to experiment. But what I love the most about film photography is the discipline it gave me as it limits the shots I am about to take. It taught me to choose my shots carefully and make each of them count.


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


Christian: I often use Kodak TriX 400 for black and white films. I like how the contrast gives me discipline in terms of composition and how I can play around with the light that strikes my subject. It challenges me to think outside of the box at the same time give each photo I take a different look and feel. I like seeing everything around me in black and white, it's amusing how I can see each detail precisely feel its emotion on a deeper level.



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



Christian: Still, it's the discipline it gives you. It sets certain boundaries to what shots you should or should not take. It makes you contemplate very well as you do not have unlimited chances in taking photos as compared to digital.


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

Christian: I haven't tried printing my photos in a film lab since I have no idea where to find one yet. Although given a chance, I am more than willing to learn how it works and experience its authenticity. I am one of the few who still choose to print some of my photos, since majority nowadays has been choosing social media and other software to showcase their photos. As for me, I still prefer printed copies as I find it more genuine whenever I share these actual copies. Printed copies make these memories I took more concrete and I can see that people appreciate more too. I think it would be even more so if these will be printed in a lab, especially when they find out its process.


What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?



Christian: If there would be one person whom I can say the one who influenced me the most with film photography, I'd say it would be my grandfather. He used to take photos of our family and when I saw these photos, especially those ones that show what they used to do when they were still young. It's as if I'm time traveling to when everything is not so fast paced and I get to see what life was before I was born. It's amazing how photos seem to freeze moments in every shot and get to share it in the future then next thing you know, it takes you back to the same old feeling you had when that shot was taken. It gives every moment in our lives a deeper value for we don't usually get the exact experience over again. Also, I love how photos restore these memories. 


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


Christian: Yes and they are Henri Cartrier Bresson, Vivian Maier, Moses Saman, Daido Moriyama, and Kikuji Kawada. These photographers inspire the overall look and feel of my photos.


Do you see any value or merit shooting with film? 


Christian: Yes, and it is mostly the printing and archiving. It gives a different take in preserving memories and that particular feeling I had during that moment.



What do you think is the future of film photography?



Christian: I think photographers will not only have discipline but this will also help them explore. If they are into experimenting, this would definitely take them out of their comfort zone.


What’s your dream photography project?


Christian: I have always wanted to document Mt. Banahaw's mystery, it's in my hometown at Lucban, Quezon, in the Philippines and its story has been a part of me growing up.


Would you like to offer some good words to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?



Christian: Research would be the most important thing to do before diving into film photography. Mistakes done in this field does not mean deleting it with a single click but it would cost you a lot of money. When I was in 6th grade, my grandfather can't seem to figure out why photos are not showing on the films. Turns out, it was because I kept playing with the camera by opening it repeatedly, which hurts the film as it was being exposed with light. It's important to learn the basics, from there you can try experimenting little by little. Experience would always be the best teacher and recognize every progress you make, may it be a minor or a major one.


Catch Christian in one of his photowalks in the streets of Manila. In the meantime, go check his website and his work on Instagram.


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Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Christian Babista. He devoted his time, and worked hard making 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 Christian Babista. Don't be an ass. 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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