27th July 2018
Q: Why do you shoot analog?
I love the process of slowing down and forcing myself to think about every photo I am going to take. The constant search for the perfect composition - knowing you only have 36 photos to take. Then, comes the anticipation to get the photos developed. Only after this do you know if your photos are any good. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But that only makes me go out there and practise more.
Q: Why is it important that you shoot in analog compared to digital?
You spend less time looking at the screen and more time analysing your scene or subject. You've have a limited number of photos available, so you’ve got to make sure you have got the right lighting, framing and camera settings. I find myself learning way faster this way too.
Q: Why and when did you first start shooting in analog?
I started shooting about two years ago when I saw some photos of rappers I listen to taken with point and shoot cameras by the guys at Places+Faces and I wanted to try that look. I was mostly just trying to record the places I was going and parties with my friends, because none of them were taking photos. It was nothing serious. Then, last year I did Erasmus in the Netherlands and found myself carrying my point and shoot every night.
Q: Do you have a preference in the film you use?
Fuji Superia 200 or 400 is where the fun is at for me. I love the saturated colors, the strong contrast, and that green shadow cast. During my exchange studies that was all I was shooting, it was so cheap.
Q: What’s your opinion on the analog ‘hype’?
It is good that more people are experimenting with the format. It makes the film manufactures aware that it is still a viable medium and they shouldn't cease its manufacture. There is also new people getting into photography because they liked the look of film. In the end, I feel everyone wins. As long as the price of the "pro" point and shoots doesn't keep increasing... haha.
Q: Would you say the difference in cultures has changed or shaped your photography since moving from Lisbon to Ireland?
I came here to finish my master thesis, so haven't been focusing on my photography as much. While in Lisbon I was going out more and had more chances to photograph, here I am taking my time to work my composition and experiment with landscape photography.
Q: most excites you about landscape photography?
I find it more challenging than people make it out to be. Sometimes you are visiting these beautiful places but can't translate that beauty to a photo. I find myself endlessly walking around, trying to find the angle that best captures all the colors and interesting lines.
Q: Has moving to a different country inspired your creativity within photography?
I always try to document my surroundings so moving to a new place means a new challenge creative-wise. Plus, opening yourself to new experiences and meeting people from different backgrounds, broadens your perspective and ideas flow more readily.
Q: What inspires you to go out and take photographs?
Coming from an engineering background, it is really stimulating to have a creative and artistic pastime. It is a constant pursuit of learning how to express myself through my photos.
Q: How would you express your art form without social media?
For me, printing is the last step of taking a photograph. My friend Laura taught me about dark room printing and it is something I want to do more. Maybe put together enough prints and have my own exhibition, ask some friends to come through and have some drinks.
Q: The majority of your images are very clean cut and minimalistic. Is that a representation of you through your art or are you more interested in aesthetically pleasing photography?
I draw inspiration from my memories and experiences while growing up: summertime spent in the south surfing, biking with friends... All of these come to me as times of reckless and innocent behaviour, which I portray with simpler compositions and candid expressions.
Q: How was your experience travelling to Shanghai, China? What captured your attention the most out there?
Having experienced visiting both a rural region of China (Fujian proving) and Shanghai, the later striked me as very westernized. There is a big cultural gap once you move to the more remote areas, probably due to less people speaking in English. Some adults have never had contact with a foreigner and you're guaranteed to get some funny reactions. It was there, where I came across completely different costumes and was surprised by the perfectly kept temples in the middle of the mountains. On the other hand, Shanghai is a modern city, more multicultural and open minded.
Q: Which place would you like to lose yourself in with your camera?
New York with an infinite supply of Cinestill 800. Growing up watching so many movies take place there just makes me want to spend my days there documenting the skyscrapers, the neons signs, the subway and the people.
Q: What artist(s) or photographer(s) inspire(s) your imagery?
When I started taking photography more seriously, Alasdair Mclellan had just directed the videoclips for The XX and I instantly fell in love with his work. The series Twin peaks from David Lynch and Frank Ocean's music are big influences too. I always found Frank's music very visual and the magazine "Boys Don't Cry" that released with his album features work by very talented photographers.
Q: Finally, what advice would you give to people starting out with analog?
Learn the sunny16 rule and how to zone focus, these will let you quickly guess the camera settings. Experiment different film formats and cameras, and develop and print your own film. By getting a solid understanding how film works, you can predict how each photo will look like. Look around for community darkrooms, there are several in Lisbon.
You can find more of Francisco's work here