When did you first become interested in art, in general?
I don’t know exactly. When child I enjoyed drawing a lot. I had a folder full of my drawings and I remember to enjoy pay attention to details and perfecting them. I also remember that I used to look back at them to admire my own creation and evolution comparing with my previous drawings.
For some reason I stopped drawing but I never stopped admiring visual arts. Later on I started collecting postage stamps from all over the world and I used to spend hours look at each of them with a magnifying glass because I loved their drawings.
When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?
When I was about 13 I often travelled with my mother and brother. The camera was always on my hands and I used to photograph as a challenge for for a creative visual record of my trips.
And when I was about 16 I used to look for paintings and photographs in the internet and collect them in a folder saved in my computer, To look at them every often and again.
In what other forms of art do you also work?
I used to draw and paint on canvas but now a days I am more focused in Photography. I have a novel which I wrote based on photographs pictured on my mind which I want to shoot and make alive to illustrate the novel scenes. But I need to find a model to play the character and rent some places for the images background. I hope to have it done and published eventually.
On which style of photography do you specialize?
I am specialized on Black and white treatment. Some people may don’t know but it is a style used by artists focused on the processing and printing quality. This is interesting to me because black and white is not about represent reality and this is why it is more suitable as art work. And the print, specially traditional print, have its on quality which can impress the visual perception when well crafted in the dark room.
In my case it comprises of landscape, portraits focused on body expression, art nude, still and street photography.
Has your style changed from when you first began?
When I first start, for real, I wanted to be a fashion and portrait photographer. I used to photograph with digital camera and have hundreds of images from a single session. Then I realised that the fashion and portrait I was being inspired is the kind of images that have being used to elude people into consumerism. And reading about visual influences in society I was annoyed by how it is used to make people feel less than what they see in photographs and how the publicity and culture influence people to try feel better about themselves by becoming like they see in the marketing image strategy. I didn’t want be part of it any more.
Then I slowly migrated to art nude. But it was when I purchased a medium format film camera that I was sure that I wanted to slow down, appreciate more what I was photographing and work with negatives and prints in a darkroom.
I don’t know to tell exactly how my style has changed but with all this changing on tools, from digital to film, working on my on prints and take much less photos per session I believed it has changed.
What kind of equipment do you use?
I used 35mm film negative cameras for street photographs and sometimes portraits in locations my 85mm lens is almost always on them.
I use a medium format 6×4.5 frame negative for portrait, art nude and still life images. And a medium format 6×7 negative frame size for landscape with a wide angle lens on it.
I use only one lens each camera and they are all prime lenses. The 35mm cameras are the only ones that I change sometimes from 85mm to 50mm lens. But it seldom happens.
Recently I have being building and shooting with large format pinhole cameras too.
I develop my negatives myself, so I have a stock of chemicals and tools for it. And I print myself with a enlarger or making contact prints. I only scan and use computer to showcase my photographs in my website and internet communities.
What made you choose that equipment?
At first it was the visual quality from medium format. And medium format film cameras are much cheaper than medium format digital cameras which cost a fortune. Then I realised, and confirmed through discussions, that the film negative has a quality of it own which I preferred.
A part for the image quality I found it enjoyable working in a darkroom instead of working in front of the computer retouching images.
How do you choose what you’re going to photograph?
My portraits and art nudes are usually based of body movements and expression as well as feelings. Depend on my mood I start think of feelings expression that I want to photographs, or body movements. And this is the reason I enjoy photographing actors/actress and dancers.
I look at it as visual dialogue with scenes, movements and subjects. It means that I don’t consider myself as a hunter looking to catch what I want to photographs but as a listener of what the world is telling to me, or presenting to me.
When photographing dancers, because they know dance poses and movements, I tell them to just be themselves and feel free to make any dance pose or movement they like, some times based on a type of dance and sometimes based on a theme, or kind of expression and feeling. And it is not very different with art nude.
When photographing landscapes I am going out for a walk, trip or cycling. I like exploring town, woods, gardens, streets, etc. I don’t feel obligated to come back home with photographs. I usually take from 1 to 3 or 4 photographs a day. But sometimes I walk all day and I don’t take a photograph at all. Because to me, it is not about take nice pictures. It is about experience the visual, translate such experience into the photograph medium and spread such visual dialogue.
What kind of editing do you perform on your photographs, if any?
Since I do traditional work everything starts with the film choice. Each film negative has its own look quality and characteristic. I use colour filters on my lenses to control effects and contrast on black and white film negatives. Then I control the contrast, sharpness and even the quality of the grain during the film development. And finally I can work on the details when I am printing.
The images I scan to put in my website I just adjust the contrast.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
Sometimes it can takes from 3 hours to 5 hours or even more, like when I am photographing still life, it takes about 1 or 2 hours to take 15 photographs (6×4.5 frame size) and finish the film. And about 1 hour to finish the development process. Then it takes between 10 and 30 minutes to print each photograph. But it can take more than one hour to print a single photograph sometimes, if you have to do many manipulation. Then I have to wash the prints and depending on the print I have to toning them which takes even more time. And I am not counting all the settings and light tests that I do before the photo session which can takes 1 hour about.
When photographing models in studio it is more or less the same, but when I am shooting outdoor it takes even longer.
With landscapes it takes about between 1 to 4 weeks to take 10 photographs (6×7 frame size) and finish the film And sometimes I try alternative development that can take hours to conclude. The same with 35mm film negatives when doing street photographs.
But I don’t print every single image and often I don’t print any image. Because of the costs I wait for a buyer to order a print or I print when I want a image in my portfolio or to give as gift.
How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?
To me it is 100% finished after print it because it is the final result that matters. But there is always something else which can be improved. But I am not the type of photographer who will spend the entire day manipulating a single image until get it perfect. First because it is very costly and second because I don’t like things too perfect like those renaissance paintings or classic Greek sculptures. I like it more human and expressive like Gianbologne’s sculptures or like Gothic architecture.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
Physical activities and entertainment helps a lot when trying to develop a concept for a body of work. But during photo session the more I try to overcome blocks the more difficult it seems to overcome it. For this reason, if I find myself in this situation I prefer to slow down, have a 5min. break, walk around to see if I can “look at it from a different angles and perspective”, and restart fresh.
But it seldom happens during sessions because they are planed on many aspects before start. But because I often work with models without experience at all in the creative field like acting, dance and modelling, it can be very challenging get results from them. So I spend much more time directing and helping no experienced models get into the character and scene than photographing.
Challenging is always good anyway. It stimulate our creativity.
How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?
I hear all kind of criticism and it helps me to understand more about who are criticising than about my work. I don’t mind much what others think though I am glad when people like it.
Who is your favourite photographer?
I never think about it but when asked the two first names and works that comes to my mind are Sally Mann and Helmut Newton. They represent the body and the nude expression in a very opposite ways, the first is natural and innocent representation about body and the second has a perverse approach concept, but both very artistic and beautiful works.
Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?
Yes. In 2010 I had my first exhibition in New Zealand thanks to a friend who introduced my work to a gallery called ‘The Digital Darkroom’. And in 2011/2012 I had some of my photographs exhibited in a gallery in Ireland called ‘Oisin Gallery’.
Have you done any courses to help you?
I think oil painting classes helped me a lot, but when I was studding Journalism in college I was introduced to history and aesthetics of art in a more deep approach which I think was important too. And I joined a introducing course to photography at the beginning.
Apart from that, I never attended workshops or more specific courses. Most of what I learned was through books, internet communities and experimenting myself. For example, I learned developing film negatives through Skype with a guy from a photo community in the internet. He helped me to develop my first film and then I could experiment and try different results with different ways on “how to do”.
What do you do to market your work?
I am always thinking on something but I actually do very little. Most of my marketing are in social medias as Facebook and Google+. But I think the right place to market my prints are in magazines about decoration, art, culture and even economy.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I publish news and projects in my facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marcio-Faustino-Photographer/156305431090911
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes. Specially artistic works.
Where are you based?
In a small town in Germany Called Haitersheim. Very near the Franch and Switzerland border, in Baden-Württemberg.
© 2013, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.