Interview with QUIM FARRERO, SPAIN

It’s up to us to keep film alive.


Quim, mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography?


Quim : Film photography is the way I started in photography. My father was a passionate amateur and I guess I got something of it. I studied photography at IEFC (where I'm now teaching) and then the only way was film. I always loved the photographic process from the beginning (shot) until the end (darkroom). So, film was inherent to fhotography when I started.


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


Quim: I’ve been using viewfinder cameras almost from the beginning. Of course, I started with SLR cameras, zooms and so on, but when I started to analyze the kind of photography I loved (and still love) I realized that most of the photographers I admired usually worked with those kind of cameras and fixed lenses. So I sold everything I had and restarted with a M4 Leica, a 50mm lens and a lightmeter. When working with film (always if I want to shot BW) I’m working with an M6 Leica camera. From my point of view “the perfect camera”: you’ve got nothing but the essential with a non-bulky camera that work with the best lens ever, it can work even without battery and, last but nor least, is a very beautiful object that even sounds nice when you shot.


I usually work with a 35mm lens that sometimes can be a 50mm. Years ago I worked with a 21mm lens but I got bored of those exaggerated perspectives (Translation of space is now very important for me).


About film, I started with Kodak Tmax while I was studying, but I discovered soon Kodak Tri-X and I got stuck with it: I love the grain, the latitude and, in general, the texture and aspect of pictures with this (almost magic) film.



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



Quim: Is just a different way to approach photography. It’s easier to concentrate in what you are doing because you have less distractions, you don’t think too much about what you’ve done because you can’t, and you stay focused on what you are going to do. In terms of editing, it’s easy to evaluate a picture if there’s some time between the shot and the moment you can see it. Finally, with film, there’s something physical with the picture you’ve made: you can touch it since the first moment the image is born (negative), and you have to be careful, respectful. Anyway I don’t think is a question of “better or not” between film or digital, I just think that they are two different ways to get something similar. It’s like painting with oleum or aquarelle, they are different techniques, but after all, it’s all painting.


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

Quim: I always print my own photographs. I have my own darkroom and this is a part of the process that I really love. Seeing a photograph coming out of a blank paper in a tray under red light is something that has to be seen. More than that, enlarging a photograph is something that requires time and some acknowledge, so you are going to do it when you are sure that the photograph deserves it. That’s very important because the easiness of digital world means that lots of images that should have never be seen they are finally showed, and that’s not good for a photographer, because a photographer is not what he shots; is what he shows.


What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?



Quim: What motivates me is simple: I know how to do it and there’s no reason to stop it while I get pleasure in doing it. I don’t think you have to choose between film or digital. Digital is one more option for photographing. I do it and I enjoy it. But if I had to choose, as an author, I would choose film, because is more intimate, because is more exigent in the moment of taking the photograph, for it forces to observe more before shooting. You can do that also in digital but, statistics demonstrate that it is not so easy: you can shoot without limits, you can see what you’ve done.


More than that, I actually associate film with BW. I love it and when I feel like shooting in BW I always do it with film. Always. I don’t want my BW pictures being “converted” in color never. When I used to shoot color film, I always felt that there was something that lacked, and it was the possibility to control the whole process, something that I can do now in digital when I shot color (most of the time for professional purposes).


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


Quim: Lots of them. My colleagues usually jokes telling me that I’m a “classic”, and that’s really good for me because most of the photographers I admire are actually “classics”. It doesn’t mean that I don’t admire some actual photographers, of course. If I have to say some names, the one that probably comes first is Henry Cartier-Bresson. After him, I can name Koudelka, Kerstez, Davidson, Erwitt,  Salgado’s early works, Trent Parke. I could make a very long list.


Do you see any value shooting with film? 


Quim: I don’t think it's a question of merits, it's just a question of pleasure. Photography is a very intimate act and to reduce it to a question of “merits” is not the point. After all, shooting film or digital doesn’t make you a better or worst photographer, is just the way you approach it.



What do you think your future is like with film photography?


Quim: Well, I hope film is going to have a still long life. It’s up to us to keep it alive. After all, it's just a question of business, while someone is making money with it, it will exist. It's that simple.


What’s your dream photography project?

Quim: As an author, most of my long-term projects are based on film. I have lots of ideas; some are hard to produce and probably will never be. Nowadays, at least in my home, is harder to approach some kind of projects because there’s too many people registering images without any kind of respect, and that makes harder to explain who you are, what a photographer really is and what do you want to do.


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?



Quim: The first thing someone who wants to try film must understand is that there’s no obligation. Just do it if you feel good with it. Don’t think in terms of production but in terms of quality, you don’t need to shoot as a machine gun to get a good picture. Be patient: results don’t come from the beginning and you are going to need to be very critical about yourself (and realize that all of this also works for digital). In terms of money, although in can be a problem, it is often a question of priorities: I prefer a roll of film than a Gin-tonic.



Cheers for sharing your thoughts and these excellent set of photographs with us, Quim.


Quim is a freelance photographer and teaches photography at the Institutu d'Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya (IEFC) in Barcelon, Spain. He regularly exhibits his work and you can find a list of those in his website. His work “Don’t forget ’93” is currently on exhibit at the Igualada Fine Art Festival in Igualada (1hour from Barcelona).


You can check and follow him on Instagram. But before that, you might want to drop by here first, and check some of his work.


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Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Quim Farrero. He devoted his time, and worked hard making these photographs. It's seriously wrong to copy, download, reproduce, reprint, modify, distribute, publicly display, license, transfer or sell content retrieved from this page in any way without prior written permission of Quim Farrero. Bugger off! 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 everyone 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.


Don't forget to subscribe to this page so you can login and add your comments about Quim's work. Be sure to be nice and constructive.


Cheers!

Mel


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