I shoot with film because of the value it brings to my images; most importantly, because I learn a lot more by shooting film. I also got bored of digital because of its immediacy, I like the slow process, taking the time to appreciate and analyze the shot before clicking. It’s just more fun to me.
Interview with German Moreno, photographer on AYE MAG new photoshoot.
Who is German Moreno?
Sometimes I’m a designer, sometimes I’m a photographer, sometimes someone in between different types of creative practices and mediums. It’s hard to be framed you know? All I can say is that I love creating visual communication pieces using my camera.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Colombia. I made my first steps into visual communication by drawing comics and making layouts for them. I moved to Montreal when I was about 20, not knowing much of the English or French languages, and to be honest I didn’t know what I was doing at that time. It just felt right to move! To my surprise, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m currently focussing on a personal project called O B T U R A. I started the photo journal in summer 2016 taking portraits of people that are close to my social circle. We go to a location I find interesting and we have a conversation about random things while scouting. Basically, my subject and I get to know each other and interestingly enough, this allows me to get more sincere images. It almost became part of the ritual and the way I work. After a couple of shoots, this project slowly but surely made me discover my voice as an image maker, and I am really happy about it because this is one of the hardest things to achieve as an artist. Give it up for personal projects!
Film photography or digital? And why?
Ha! The million-dollar question… It’s a no brainer for me: FILM! Sometimes the end justifies the means, and I would like to elaborate on this because it could cause a whole debate. I shoot megapixels for commercial purposes only, or just to get test shots for my film shoots. My personal projects are all done in film and there are many reasons for this:
- Digital images feel generic to me and I don’t want my work to look that way.
- There is no point of comparison between the feel that the film grain produces compared to megapixels.
- To me, digital images are way too ephemeral, from the very moment of shooting, to the moment they are deleted on the computer. I take photos on film because what I’m photographing is valuable enough to be captured on film. There is something about the materiality of a traditional photo negative that brings value to the shot.
- The most important reason why I shoot film is that in my case, digital photography doesn’t allow for a thorough understanding of good image making… It’s simple, many photographers when shooting with a digital camera don’t think about what they are doing. I have the bad habit of bursting the shutter of the digital camera without taking a moment to think about how I really want the image to look like. In my mind, one of those images eventually would come out ok, and that’s kind of a pity. Film is slow and allows you to think before shooting; the outcome is the realization of why a great image works, how it is achieved, and the understanding of how you can achieve it again. This is how I get better. Film is the best mentor.
What was the challenge during this shoot?
First, crafting the feeling of the photos and communicating with the team on paper what we wanted to achieve before going on location. The images needed to translate what AYE is about, this is always hard to do. While shooting, those colored smokes… They vanished so fast! Cocking the shutter of my Hasselblad fast enough to get the shot before the smoke vanished wasn’t easy. The flag was hard too, but Trina saved the day! Thanks Trina!
What would be the artistic project or collaboration of your dreams?
I would like O B T U R A to become that project of my dreams, I’d love to exhibit my work here in Canada and also in Colombia. I’m working hard on it; we’ll see what happens. I would also love to see one of my images in the Montreal metro billboard ads, I love our metro and its advertising.
Recurring themes in your work, or a subject that really matters to you?
Youth and fashion, that’s mainly what I am exploring at the moment. I used to shoot documentary, but it has been awhile.
What inspired you the most recently?
I was recently in London visiting my girlfriend, and we went to a photo gallery called Beetles+Huxley. We saw prints from some of the very best photographers like Horst, Steve McCurry, Terry O’Neill… Really inspiring! I got a book from a Chinese photographer called Wang Qingsong,.. It’s brutal!
Also, seeing that film is alive, not only in fine art, but in fashion. It’s coming back, I keep seeing it more and more. That inspires me to keep shooting.
Which artist aesthetic inspires you or had inspired you the most, or inspires you these days?
I like the work of Alva Bernadine, a mix of graphics and grotesque; I see how musicians rip off his aesthetic a lot in their music videos. One of my teachers from Dawson College in Montreal, Jorge Camarotti, is also very talented. I love his work.
Shot with an Hasselblad 500cm with a 90mm 2.8 and a Nikon f100 with a nikkor 60mm micro – Kodak Portra.