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Film photography motivates me to learn.

So, Vladimir, tell us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography.

Vladimir: My Name is Vladimir Rios, I'm from Panamá in Central America, I got into photography back in 1998, in the school i was. I use to have 1 photography class. The school have a darkroom and it was awesome, I never seen anything like that. It was very special time.

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

Vladimir: I use 3 films. Kodak 400 TX, because of the fine grain and tones of gray the film have. I often use it indoor with natural light through windows. Iford HP5, high contrast, rough grain, and I use this outdoor. I develop this film with HC110. I love the contrast. Ilford Delta 3200. Just grain, any type of light, I love it.

Cameras: I prefer my Leica M6 with a 50mm Summicron 2.0. But I use a Hassellad 500cm, but I don't like it much. I don't like reflex cameras. The Mamiya RB67 is my medium format of choice. I use a Toyo 45a sometimes, but i think I'm going to sell it and the Hasselblad too. I want a Mamiya 7II pro Rangefinder. I don't like reflex.

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

Vladimir: The process, the step you have to do. Have the film, put it in the camera, think what you want to shoot, shoot, take the film out, develop, developer, stop, fixer, water, photo flo, wait to dry, make a contact sheet, choose one, or two, put it in the enlarger, focus, make the first print, find the time in the paper, make a second print, burn some areas, cover others, dektol, stop, fixer, wash the print, dry the print, framed. DONE. 

Digital, shoot 1000 photos, put the card on the computer, choose 10, lightroom, ctrl P. to easy

but this days the world move to fast, film photography is too slow. I get it.

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

Vladimir: I do all by my self. I have a darkroom. Noise Darkroom. Ii develop for people and I teach some of them. 

What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?

Vladimir: The motivation is the learning process. You never stop learning. Every day I discover a new process of developing; a developer; other cameras; format to print; big cameras and small cameras; enlarge on glass or wood. The motivation is to learn.

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

Vladimir: I have a few. I'm not very good with names. So, by influence of masters, let me think. David Hamilton, Vivian Maier, Ralph Gibson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Mike Blabac, French Fred, Christopher Thomas, Jan Scholz. Look i have a few great minds. I also have influence of people i know. Josue Watts, Antonio Navarro, Jose Manuel Castrellon, Eva Mondehard, Philippe Roberts, Olman Torrez, Daniel Solis Vuurmans, Maria Jose Andrade, Juan Sanchez, Rafael Gonzales, Susana Toch, Pepe Calavera, Ivan Marquez. Great people, excellent Photographers.

Do you see any value shooting with film? 

Vladimir: Yes, of course.

What do you think is the future of film photography?

Vladimir: I think it's gonna be great. Every day people get more interested in film. Kodak have a new face. Polaroid is back. ILFORD never stops. More people are doing collodium. It's great!

What’s your dream photography project?

Vladimir: I'm doing what i like in this moment. I want another darkroom outside the city. It's a new project I'm working.

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?

Vladimir: I'm not so good in giving advise, but I can tell by personal experience. Work hard, learn everything you can, and be humble. Just because you're doing film, doesn't mean you have to be an asshole.

Vladimir will start working on a project about the urban legends of Panamá, and tales told by his family. He'll be having an exhibit by the end of December as well.

Thank you for taking time out in sharing your insights and these breathtaking photographs, Vladimir.

Look Vladimir up and follow his astonishing work on Tumblr and Flickr.


Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Vladimir Rios. 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 Vladimir Rios. Show some respect. You don’t want to go to jail, do you?

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 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.

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