1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
Hello, my name is Xochi Perez or @Xochillfilm on Instagram. I’m a multimedia artist but most importantly a film photographer 24/7. I see the world and life as an opportunity to capture memories of places and experiences through the click of a film camera. I’m 22 and I recently moved to San Diego, California after living in Berkeley for four years.
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
I’ve been interested in photography ever since I can remember! As a child, I always had a little disposable camera that my mom gave me. Later down the line, I went to a middle school and high school that promoted hands-on creative projects. I was always the most excited when I worked on photography projects but we only had access to digital cameras. I wanted to try film photography but felt very intimidated by its beauty and complexity. In college, someone gave me their film camera and since then I’ve only been able to shoot film. In the beginning, I failed the first few rolls and I grew my skill set trying to understand where I went wrong.
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
I shoot with a canon Æ 1 and a 52mm Vivitar lens! My favorite film stock to shoot with is Kodak Ektar 100 and Kodak Color Plus 200.
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
So if you look at my page it’s evident that I still haven’t found my style. I enjoy shooting nature the most because it feels like I am capturing a time capsule of the way I felt in that moment. I love being outdoors and being able to share my sights and feelings of that specific moment with viewers brings me so much joy. Recently, I’ve been interested in a nostalgic film theme. I’m in the process of making a vintage themed film series that I’m super excited to share!
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I’m mostly a trial and error girl! If my photos don’t come out the way I want them to I’ll re-read the manual but other than that I try to learn by using the camera. My growth isn’t linear but I’ve learned A LOT from my film mistakes!
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
Oh definitely, doesn’t every photographer when they first make an ig account? It’s so easy to compare our work among other amazing creatives but that defeats the point of the art of film. Sometimes I felt like my work didn’t “fit” what the film community likes. There was even a point where I would be looking to shoot something I thought the ig community would like. I definitely don’t do that anymore and love the work I create. What helped me get over this is realizing that your work isn’t meant to look like anyone else’s! The world needs your unique approach and truly loving your own work first will naturally attract others to love it as well. I don’t set expectations for myself, I just create and grow. I don’t have any work that I ‘don’t like’, only opportunities to grow.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
The film community! I’ve met so many amazingly talented people on Instagram. It feels good to be a part of a community that supports and uplifts each other. The love is like no other, I’ve never felt a sense of competition, only love.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
I love this picture because it brings me back to the best highlight of such a tragic year, 2020. I went on a camping trip with friends to Tahoe. We had all been feeling anxiety due to the pandemic for months. So, we escaped reality for a bit and danced all night in the woods. The day I took this photo, we spontaneously rented a boat and it was pure magic. This picture captures the way I felt that day and during that trip. It felt like a sparkly dream I was able to capture on film. Whenever I miss my friends or these precious memories, I look at this photo for a dose of serotonin.
9.What gives you inspiration?
My environment usually inspires me but I don’t always have my film camera on me so I jot down places I want to photograph in my phone’s notes. Other than that, I usually don’t plan my photos, they’re all spontaneous and I find a lot of beauty in that.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
When I photograph nature, I try to capture not just the beauty of the scene but the feeling of that moment, a pure feeling of contentment. I hope that people can feel a sense of happiness or calmness when viewing my film photos.
You can follow @xochillfilm on Instagram 🙂