Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life Framer: An Instant - Interview with The Winner Victoria Trevino

A little while ago we wrote about Life Framer – A new monthly crowd-sourced photography award – and it seems to be going from strength to strength. Now into its 3rd month, the contest already seems to have become a magnet for creative photography, and thankfully there are some analogue shots to counter all the digital too!

The current theme is ‘A Human Touch’. Check it out here and enter for your chance to win a $400 honorarium, feedback from Julia Fullerton-Batten and your image printed and framed in a London exhibition.

We took a little time to speak with winner Victoria Trevino – Olivia Bee’s pick for last month’s theme ‘An Instant’ – to ask her about her inspirations, her ethos, and of course her experiences shooting film. All images © Victoria Trevino.

Over to Victoria…

What initially drew you to photography? Is this the same thing that motivates you to take photos now?

I honestly don’t know how to answer this without saying that I’ve just always loved photography, and the act of capturing a moment. For me, photography has always been innate. When I was a little girl, I remember visiting my grandparent’s house and being so ecstatic to use their Polaroid 600. Taking photos brought instant gratification. There was never a person that drew me to photography – I’ve just always loved taking photos. What motivates me to take photos now is really myself. I feel it is very important to document life from to day to day because a photo can always bring back certain memories, scents, and feelings. These things get lost sometimes and just by looking at a photo – it can bring all of that back.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t even think I have a “style”. Most of the photos I take are completely candid. I really love those moments where my friends have absolutely no idea that I am taking the photo. Shooting 35mm film has always been my personal favorite. I just really feel like film captures everything so perfectly. Also, not sure why but I’ve always loved taking photos of people without their face showing. I just have this idea that anonymity is so beautiful. Mysteriousness is very fascinating for me. I like knowing that others who view my work don’t know who the subject is.

How do you mix your time between film and digital photography?

I try to shoot film as much as I can. I especially love to shoot film when I travel out of town, when I hang out with friends, or when I just want to document things around me. I mainly use my digital for when I shoot shows or music festivals.

What's your favourite thing about film?

That I never know what to expect. My developed photos always somehow turn out better than what I saw and photographed in real life, which is odd to say, but I think that's just it. Shooting film allows my photos to sometimes have this dreamy vibe. Within this dreamy world, you can still feel life through the photo. The way film captures light, adds grain, and can make you feel the overall atmosphere of a photo is what I like the most. I feel that photos shot with film have much more depth to them than digital photographs do. You can't get light leaks with a digital camera! Doing double exposures are also really fun, because you never know how it's going to turn out. Film is just magical. The anticipation of getting film developed is so exciting as well, and it’sexciting that you can't go back and delete a photo. Sometimes the photos that are taken by accident are the best ones.

Do you set any rules for yourself?

I normally don’t set any rules or limitations for myself. I believe it’s pretty important to be as open-minded as possible when it comes to creating something. As long as I stick to my own touch, and try not to incorporate too much inspiration from other artists, the sky is the limit!

What’s do you think is the hardest thing about photography?

Capturing something the way your imagination wants to capture it, the way you initially had in mind. I think that is the biggest struggle for me. Our mind is capable of making up such beautiful, ethereal images, and putting those ideas into something concrete and real can sometimes be hard. I think that is why most of my photography is candid. As much as I adore dreamy and whimsical photographs, I also love raw, genuine moments.

What would be your dream commission / subject to photograph?

It would be a dream come true to shoot a catalog for Free People. I’ve collected their catalogs for years and am completely inspired by them. I really love the whole bohemian, feminine, and free-spirited vibes their style embodies. I would also love to shoot for Rolling Stone, or Spin magazine. Music is a huge passion of mine and I love going to music festivals and taking photographs. As far as subject, I can’t help but mention some of my favorite musicians like Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT) and Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). If I could just have one day to hang out with them, and photograph them in their natural element, I would be the happiest girl ever.

Do you have a favourite photograph? What is it about that one image that makes it your favourite? Can you share it with us?

My favorite photograph is of my best friend on our harbor bridge. Last summer my friend, her boyfriend, and I were downtown for an art walk. We showed up kind of late and everything was already closing down. We were in a very impulsive mood and jokingly, I mentioned that we should all walk up on our harbor bridge. I remember cars and huge trucks passing by and it sounding like thunder striking the ground. Our sweet summer night had turned into an adventurous one. They had just recently installed some LED lights on our bridge that made it turn different colors simultaneously. We threw a stick from the top of the bridge into the water below us and I just remember it taking so long to hit the water to make a splash. I had my Canon AE-1 on me and so I started snapping away. My best friend was looking towards the traffic and the silhouette of her body/ head just looked so beautiful to me. What I had in mind and how the photo turned out were two completely different things but I think I love what came out more.

Where would you like to be a couple of years from now?

I would love to start doing commissions for brands I really admire. I would love to be a staff photographer for some type of music magazine or online publication! I think that would be really awesome.

Anything else you’d like to add? The stage is yours!

I think it’s really important to keep doing what you love. No matter what obstacles get in the way, it’s extremely important to just keep striving. I never thought that a candid photo I took of my brother and his girlfriend at the time would end up in a London gallery. Take chances, get outside your comfort zone, and always stay true to yourself. “Find what you love and let it kill you”!

Thanks Victoria!

Check out Victoria’s portfolio here and find out more about Life Framer here. You can sign up to their newsletter to keep up with their news too.

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