I’m pleased to be able to introduce today’s fresh interview with Ezequiel Grimaldi, film photographer based in Spain’s San Sebastian.
I’ll keep this short so you can spend as much time as possible on the images below. Enjoy!
Hi Ezequiel, what’s this picture, then?
EG: This is my first picture in 35mm. She was my girlfriend, and now is my wife, mother of my son. We were young, we were in love, and she’s posing in my grandma’s backyard, in a small town in Argentina, with a new dress that my grandma made for her. For what reason I would have to take this picture in digital.
Ok, so who are you? (the short version, please)
EG: I’m a grumpy caveman who feeds on silver emulsions.
When did you start shooting film and what drives you to keep shooting?
EG: I started in my mid-20s, when digital was already mainstream. However, I began shooting 35mm film because I met Malena Russo. She had been studying in Barcelona, and when she decided to return to Rosario she opened her own institute where she was teaching photography lessons and darkroom courses. She was a great teacher and a great friend.
Who or what influenced your photography when you first started out and who continues to influence you today?
EG: At the beginning three filmmakers-photographers: Raymond Depardon, Johan van der Keuken y Robert Frank. Today, I would say Henry Wessel, Bertien van Manen, Mark Steinmetz, Araki…
Are you a mixed medium photographer? What drives your choice to use film or digital from one day to the next?
EG: No, every now and then I insist with digital, mainly because shooting color film is became expensive and requires a good lab near you (if you, like me, don’t own a Pakon or Frontier), but every time I walk away discouraged with the process.
What’s your next challenge…your next step? How do you see yourself improving your technique? What aspect of your photography would you like to try and master in the next 12 months?
EG: These days I’m using paper negatives in a 10×15 folding German camera. However, my main gold for 2019 is experimenting less with the materials and focus more on the images itself. If you are doing the entire silver or analog process (expose film, process it and print it in the darkroom) like me, making a small change means a lot of time and energy wasted in learning how to master that new element.
Do you have a subject matter or style you always find yourself being drawn to? Why?
EG: Yeah. People surrounded by rough nature it’s a weakness of mine. I guess it’s a regular fantasy for us who were raised in the country and now live in the city.
You have 2 minutes to prepare for an unknown assignment. You can take one camera, one lens, two films and you have no idea what you’ll be shooting. What do you take with you and why?
EG: Being logical, a Nikon F100 with a 28-70 and T-MAX 400 or Portra 400. I guess it’s the most versatile combination around. I rather take my Contax G2/45 thought.
You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location for the rest of your life. What do you take, where do you go and why?
EG: For sure you could see me through the fields of the Argentinian pampa searching for scenes, portraits and landscapes. On black and white film, of course. It is the place of my childhood and, now I’m far away, frequently the place of my dreams.
Although very good photographers had work the area, I still think that there’s room for new work on the subject. It’s challenging though, you can certainly think of that place like an inhabited plain surface.
You can never use film again. What’s your last roll of film, where and how will you expose it and why?
EG: I would expose the people I care the most. I will spend a T-MAX 400 on my family and friends.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about film photography today and how would you set it straight?
EG: The people mostly think of film photography like an unstable and unpredictable process: this is far from the truth. Like any other thing, you have to learn how to use your instruments and know your materials deeply. And for the YouTubers out there, please, stop making videos about “the look” of an emulsion after exposing only one roll.
You can talk about the characteristics of an emulsion only after treating it in different scenes, with different developers. The “look” of a film mostly depends on exposure and development, so the same roll of Kodak T-MAX 400 can look like classic Tri-X or Kodak T-MAX 100 depending on its treatment.
Francisco Paz, Argentina. 2012. T-MAX 400, Minolta XD11
EG: I see plenty of reasons for which maintain the enthusiasm for film photography. These days, we all mostly work all day long in front of a computer monitor, so the people looking for a hobby can really appreciate the darkroom experience like something relaxing, almost spiritual.
The darkroom’s rhythm is impossible to achieve in our daily lives without considering meditation lessons. The constant changes in technological paradigms enhanced the stability and the archival qualities of film. The resolution war makes us appreciate better the smooth tones of film on the people we love.
Digital is still a very much young technology, in development. Film is a mature technology. If we treat it with passion and dedication it never let us down.
I’ll be back with another fresh interview in the new year. In the meantime you have a whole week of listicles coming up next week, as I take a much-needed break in sunnier climbs.
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