Interview with RAVE PAMPARO, PHILIPPINES†
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
True artists use film.
Tell us something about yourself, Rave and your story on how you got into film photography.
Rave: I used to be an athlete back home in the Philippines as a runner — having won several NCAA medals for my Alma Mater, San Sebastian College and joined several marathons here in the USA, such as the long beach marathon and the ultimate dream of all runners the "Boston Marathon". I also love to travel a lot as I am an adventurer by nature. So my love affair with film photography started as a hobby as I always carry film cameras during my travels. I also love going to camera shows in the USA and it is when my fascination for vintage cameras started, with some of the cameras I acquired are even older than me which i found challenging to try with different film brands.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Rave: I use various film brands such as KODAK, ILFORD, Fujifilm, Lomography and AGFA. While the film cameras I use are Yashica, Olympus rc 35, Leica M6, Pentax ME Super, Canon ae1 program, Canonet 28, and Pentax Spotmatic.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Rave: There is a huge difference as far as expenses, time, effort and skills involved between Digital and Film photography. You need to have a certain degree of knowledge and skills acquired through reading/studying and experience by applying the theories you learned to get the output that you want in film photography. Hence, it is more expensive as you need to buy and use several films as part of the experiment. And for comparison as to the different features that they each possess to know what goes well with a particular film camera that you use and of course there's the next step of processing and printing. All of those involve a lot of time, effort, time and money. Film cameras has no preview feature and thus trial and error has no room in film photography it's either you get it or not. If you don't, then the money spent for the film including your time and effort is put to waste.
While the opposite applies to digital photography as the only tool you need is your camera, a memory card and a fully charged battery. Digital photos can be edited using various applications and hence can be redone and even appears perfect in a few seconds even if the original photo taken is imperfect. You can always just delete the photos taken if you don't like the result. Then it is either ready for posting or printing. A lot of digital photographers resort to over editing that the true art taken is not reflected and takes another form. It is in this sense that I prefer film photography as the challenge and excitement of what is the outcome awaits you at the end of each film roll. As well as the accomplishment and happiness that you get when the expected output is produced is definitely priceless. The art produced from film photography is undoubtedly a labor of hard work, perseverance, passion and love for the craft. In my own opinion therefore, I can safely conclude that true artist use film.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Rave: I prefer having my film photographs printed in a lab especially fine art. As it is more practical and my focus right now is on shooting and processing film. Perhaps I will consider printing my own art in the near future as my experiment evolves from time to time.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Rave: Film photography is very challenging and the excitement and happiness that goes with it is priceless. For each film brand and kind of camera that I use, the results are different and it is this variance that motivates me to continue experimenting on different film brands and cameras to see the perfect combination.
In the process of engaging into film photography, I am able to unleash my adventurous and creative side. My artistry comes into full bloom each time I produce art using film. My curiosity and love for challenge is satisfied and the love for film becomes deeper and deeper as time goes by. It is definitely addicting to shoot film. So in sum, I learned more that I am the type of artist who is willing to spend money, time and effort just to feed my creativity and curiosity.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Rave: I have no particular artist in mind. As a young child I have the gift of visualizing art in my mind but considering my young age at that time. I naturally do not know yet how to put it into action or to express it as my interest then is into running as an athlete. It is as early at that time that I know that god gave me a distinct talent that is waiting to be expressed in due time. My art composition always comes from my current state of mind and emotions during shoot that's why I prefer shooting alone so the art that I produce is an expression of what's inside in my head and heart.
Do you see any value shooting with film?
Rave: Film will always be around from generation to generation despite the advance technology developed through time. I believe that a true artist will always yearn for the basic which is film and the corresponding challenge that goes with it. I am a firm believer that you can never be a good photographer if you have not even tried the most difficult and basic form of photography, that is film. When you say fine art it is definitely one produced from film.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Rave: For now I am enjoying what I do, which is shooting film. So the future for me with respect to doing this art platform is more travels, sharing my knowledge and experience through teaching and doing more fine arts.
Any dream photography project?
Rave: My dream film project is to share to the world my love and passion for film photography through exhibits in the USA, ASEAN countries, and other parts of the world. So the world will see the story behind each photo that I produced that is, a product of hard work, perseverance and the extent that someone will do just to express his creativity. There is no short cut to doing art and that is my message to the world and my dream is to spread that message.
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?
Rave: My message to those who wish to venture into film photography is simple: study/read and experiment by trying out different film brands and cameras. It is the artist behind the camera that produces art and do not focus on buying expensive camera. Camera is a mere tool it is the artist whose skills and knowledge are molded though time, effort and passion that makes good art.
Thank you for taking time out in sharing your insights and work, Rave, and rest in peace.
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