Interview with HIRAYA LOPEZ, PHILIPPINES

Don't be afraid of film.


Please tell us something about yourself and your photography, Hiraya.


Hiraya: I got into film photography a year ago when a friend of mine helped me find batteries for a film body that have been sitting in the closet for a couple of years now. Started making new friends as well as reconnect with distant ones who were also practicing their photography with this medium.


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


Hiraya: I circle between my 35mm SLRs and a TLR! I tend to lean towards Kodak Portra and Lomo CN for their ability to compensate for exposures, and Ilford HP5, as well as Kodak TRI-X for its flexibility and characteristics as black and white films. They've never failed on me before and I don't see them going away anytime soon especially with their popularity for both amateurs and professionals alike.



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



Hiraya: It's hard to answer that question, honestly. When I initially got into film photography, I ended up becoming one of those film snobs where they go "HAHA FILM IS SUPERIOR TO DIGITAL" and I just had to stop being that person because it wasn't helping my photos or myself. I think film is superior to me in regards to making you appreciate the value of tactile work. I'd argue about film having that distinctive "look" but then digital photographers have more or less emulated 70% of that "film look" so it's really about the value of tactile work that makes it so great against digital. 


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

Hiraya: I trust the labs when it comes to printing my work for digital files and hopefully myself for my own work in the darkroom. I'm a big fan of Ilford MGIV B/W paper for its overall quality.


What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?



Hiraya: Regardless whether it's digital or film, the thought of my work getting to people, creating that connection between myself and that person is what motivates me. Watching movies, playing video games and listening to music helps too.


(oh and training myself not to get sucked in by social media all the time) .  


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


Hiraya: My personal art heroes would be Jan Scholz (micmojo photography) and Ryan Muirhead. I discovered their work when my life went to a point where I was really in a terrible place, and ever since I discovered these people, I never looked backed ever since. There's also Ted Forbes on his The Art of Photography YT channel , as well as Matt Day, who were also huge inspirations for the work that I've been doing right now.


Do you see any value or merit shooting with film? 


Hiraya: Film is good at teaching you to be conscious about your photos, and to be more patient with its process and yourself in the long run. Archiving your negatives and slides can last longer than digital files that are always prone to dangers like corruption and errors whereas its film equivalents can stand the test of time with proper care.



What do you think is the future of film photography?



Hiraya: Absolutely no idea, no idea at all. The funny thing about being an artist and a millennial is that they never gave us a life plan of some sorts and that horrified me. I'm just doing my best to be me while trying to connect myself with others through art. It's the only plan that I have right now that works.


Any dream film photography project in mind?


Hiraya: Being primarily an indoor portrait photographer. Nude portraits is something that always appealed to me, and i hope to get to the point where I find myself being honest about these things without making it look too sexualized.


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?



Hiraya: Don't be afraid of film. Research. Search the Internet. And if possible, find a mentor who lived before the advent of digital photography. Seek out their inputs. Learn. Keep on morphing as an artist and as a person.


It's critical to find a mentor that will commit to developing skills and provide motivation necessary to aspiring film photographers. And, Hiraya, exudes confidence of a potential mentor, and he innately understand the discipline of film photography.


Hiraya is a part of Sangandaan Art Collective in the Philippines. You can catch him hopping between Instagram and Facebook.


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Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Hiraya Lopez. He devoted his time, and worked hard on these photographs. You know very well it's wrong 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 Hiraya Lopez. Be good. 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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