Interview with LUIS SÀNCHEZ MARTIN, SPAIN
You feel every single picture with film.
Hi, Luis! Tell us who you are and how you got yourself shooting with film.
Luis: My early background is very technical, since I studied Industrial Engineering. I discovered my passion for photography some years ago when I was recovering from a serious illness that made me change the way to see life, and the world in general. Photography and music helped me feed my artistic inquisitiveness within a technical and industrial environment.
Film photography was always unconsciously present in me through admiration of the Masters. But it was not until I run into the wonderful and distinctive works from some contemporary film shooters when I really knew that I should go into film photography. I started a never ending intense and strict self-teaching.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Luis: I love analogue cameras in general— I have got a few along and I always try to keep them active. Nevertheless, I have a couple that I really love, they always come with me. The huge Pentax 67 medium format my favourite over Mamiya RZ67. Its looks; the definition; its bokeh; its ease of manual focusing at any point of the frame make a real pleasure shooting. The “David Burnett Combo” Graflex Peacemaker with the amazing Kodak Aeroektar f2.4 for my large format. I also use Nikon FM3 together with the Eos3 in order to be able to use some of its wonderful glasses. I also own a Polaroid 180 landcamera for instant film.
Kodak Tmax400, Fuji Acros100, and ILFORD FP4plus are my favourite B/W film. I usually push them and I like the results I get from it. I love how they render with HC-110 developer. X-tol and Rodinal (R09) for stand developing are also good options for me.
For colour, I shoot with Kodak Portra400 and Fuji400H depending on the lighting conditions and the mood desired.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Luis: I admit that under certain circumstances the look of film can be fairly simulated. There are software that can do that quite easily. However, I am still amazed and delighted about how film performs in the highlights, how the latitude and the chemical process gives distinctive result— it's magical.
Film is organic. With its grains and tones, I couldn’t get many of my scenes directly using digital. All in all, film, the gear, and the process make a beautiful and creative kind of ritual.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Luis: I like to control the majority of the process. So I develop and scan all my black and white and colour. I sometimes send some of my colour rolls to Carmencita Film Lab, they do a great and consistent colour work that is difficult to get with domestic scanners.
Nevertheless, I am process my film directly from home. I feel comfortable using labs for printing.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Luis: . I love to shoot emotions and beauty, and you feel that with every single picture you take using film. Film, my cameras, and the process challenge me to do that.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Luis: Contemporary film shooters made me think this is still alive and I should go this way. The first two guys I personally met introduced me in this. They are photo journalist and great artists, Alvaro Ybarra Zavala and Kosuke Okahara. Their passion and magnificent work are really inspiring and motivating. It's contagious! Many other great film shooters have also been my reference and inspiration, I would like to mention the guys from the Framed Show Film episodes: Ryan Muirhead, Jan Scholz and Tanja Lippert.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Luis: I think that all the formats are valid to create art. For me, film is the medium I feel comfortable with and it is about the look and the process behind it.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Luis: I don’t refuse digital, but everyday, I feel more comfortable and happy as a film shooter.
What’s your dream photography project?
Luis: In the future, I would like to focus more on documentary and social photography projects. I also want to go into large format more.
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?
Luis: My advice is to enjoy film photography. Keep things simple in a sense that you use just one or two cameras, and one or two different films.
In terms of learning, I think it's a good thing to understand how film performs first. How to expose, the latitude, and so on. It is also important to get basic understanding on how the chemistry plays, it will be very helpful for the developing process.
Hop on to Luis' Flickr and website and check out his outstanding work there.
Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Luis Sánchez Martín. He devoted his time, and worked so damn hard making these photographs. Please do not 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 Luis Sánchez Martín. Don't be malicious. 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 email@example.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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