1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
My name is Bianca, I currently live in the beautiful city of San Francisco. I am originally from a small town in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles at a very young age and was raised in the suburbs. I consider myself a highly sensitive and creative person (yes, I am a Pisces). I write plays and poetry, enjoy cooking and baking, I have self published a few zines and an animated poetry book. My favourite season is spring and I hate olives.
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
To be extremely technical, I picked up photography at the age of six or seven, when my dad gifted me a kid’s disposable camera manufactured by Crayola. It was the type of disposable that allowed you to color and draw on the camera. I took that camera with me everywhere. One of my earliest memories is of walking around a nature center in Los Angeles taking pictures and thinking to myself I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up.
As of recently, I picked up photography quite more seriously about two years ago when a person very special to me gifted a Canon AE-1 camera for my birthday. Before shooting with SLR, I shot with quite a bit of disposable cameras after learning stores still sold them. I took to shooting film very quickly. I fell in love with it. Now, here I am with a camera on my person almost wherever I go.
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
My absolute favorite camera still has to be my precious Canon AE-1, although I like to switch between that and a Nikon Fm, sometimes even my Polaroid Sun600, depending on the occasion. I like to switch between a 50mm lens and a 100mm lens, depending on where and what I’m shooting that day. My all time favorite film stock has to be Kodak ColorPlus 200 because it is perfect to shoot in any condition and the tones and contrasts are so vibrant; but overall, I am not picky when it comes to film stock, and I enjoy trying new film whenever I get the chance.
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
I enjoy shooting anything that captures my attention— it ranges from vintage cars, to natural landscapes, to clouds and sunsets and flowers, to pretty buildings or not so pretty buildings, to people I love, to strangers being wholesome, to memories I want to remember. I have no strict rules or guidelines of what I can or cannot shoot. I believe film is meant to be experimented with and not taken too seriously. So, I enjoy shooting things that make me feel something.
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
A lot of my growth and education in the subject is entirely based on taking chances. At the beginning of my film journey, I would document each frame with the corresponding camera settings I used for each shot and analyze how those features altered the pictures. As time went on I became more comfortable and confident in using my camera properly. Now, I like to experiment with pushing/pulling film and playing with aperture, etc. A lot of my film education has been trial and error. I think that is the best way to learn, in my opinion.
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
I experience self doubt on a regular basis. I think it is a natural, unavoidable feeling most people come across from time to time— especially within artists. When I find that I have become less confident in my work, I like to take breaks from everything: social media, taking pictures all together, and/or other creative projects I am working on. What I will then do is journal. Journaling helps me in exponential ways. I like to create a relaxed environment in which I can journal truthfully. Another thing that helps me overcome doubt is just being completely isolated from everything and everyone— being able to analyze my introspection without distractions from the outside world. This can sometimes be dangerous for me as I am comfortable being on my own for long periods of time, but nevertheless I always come back to positivity, creativity, and community— these are things I cannot live without.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
The most rewarding part of being a photographer is being able to capture memories, people, and places how I remember them. There is no greater feeling to me than capturing a moment between friends or strangers, and being able to feel what they feel through the lens. Not only that, but having those emotions captured on film forever and ever, and having the privilege to look back at that particular moment and be transported to that time and place. I get to keep an analog-passport of all the places I have seen, all the people I love, growing with me forever. The entire process of being a photographer is just so worthwhile to me.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
My favorite piece of work by far is the picture of the Cabrillo Lighthouse up in Mendocino County, California. For my birthday, my partner planned a small road trip up to Mendocino, a quaint and historic beach town a few hours north of San Francisco. We hiked a short, easy trail to the famous landmark that is the lighthouse and picnicked by the ocean. I took plenty of pictures and was
immersed in nature all day— which was the only thing I wanted to do for my birthday. My partner gifted me a 100mm lens that day, which is what I shot my entire roll of film with (this includes the picture of the lighthouse). I have never been particularly fond of birthdays, but my partner did everything to make that day especially special for me. The picture of the Cabrillo Lighthouse just reminds me of all the love I received that day and looking at it makes me so happy. It holds such a special place in my heart.
9.What gives you inspiration?
The support and confidence of my loved ones gives me true inspiration. Knowing that I am supported and believed in by the people that matter in my life pushes me to become the best artist I can be. I have also found a lot of inspiration through photographers I have met on social media. Seeing other people’s talent and point of view motivates me to try and learn new things. I love to witness other photographer’s grow with their work— that truly inspires me to do the same.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
I want my photographs to exude comfort, inspiration, and timelessness. I want my pictures to bring up any and every emotion. When I am shooting a subject, I don’t necessarily keep in mind the kind of message the image might be painting— I like to leave that up to the viewer. My only hope is that one day, someone will come across my work and be reminded of a long lost feeling. I hope one day someone will examine my photographs and come up with their own stories and sentiments. I want my work to say that if and when emotions arise, don’t ignore it— accept it, welcome it, use it to create and spread joy.
You can follow Bianca on Instagram @bottlerocketbabe