Armed with SLR cameras and mostly expired films, Aleyn Comprendio from the Philippines captures beautiful photographs with the serene, ethereal quality that is unique to film. In this quick interview, Aleyn tells us more about herself, her fascination with film, and her dreamy photographs.
One look at the pretty photographs taken by Aleyn Comprendio from the Philippines and you’re sure to realize one thing: they exude the dreamy quality that many try to emulate, especially for fashion blogs or editorial shoots. Instead of working with digital filters, however, Aleyn turns to a couple of SLR cameras and mostly expired films to give her photographs that ethereal feel.
In this quick interview, Aleyn shares with us some bits and pieces about herself, her work, and love affair with film.
1. Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Aleyn and I may be suffering from a mild case of Peter Pan syndrome. Okay, maybe just the part of being in love with childhood and nostalgia, and the idea of refusing to grow up.
I love trees but I also love to be surrounded by everything that is made of paper. This idea always got me pondering.
I love being on the road (on air as well) and meeting new people. I always feel renewed after coming home from each trip.
I love taking pictures because that is the only way I can share my thoughts to the world. Words always fail me.
2. When did you start shooting film, and what was the first camera you used?
I started shooting in film about 2 years ago. A friend of mine lent me his Pentax ME since he is using his DLSR while we were on a mini photoshoot that I organized. Without knowledge whatsoever on how to use the camera, I just kept on pressing the shutter. I didn’t even realize there were only 36 shots! My friend saw how I was so attached to the camera that he lent it to me to use whenever I felt like shooting. When we saw the shots from my first roll (they weren’t the best but they weren’t so bad either) he thought I could make good use of his grandfather’s camera so he gave it to me. I ditched using DSLRs that I just borrow because I don’t own any digital cameras either, and never went back since.
3. What inspires you to keep shooting with film?
The fact that I haven’t gotten hold of using all the analogue cameras in the world and all the films still in existence, kept me inspired to keep shooting in film.
4. Your photos have that serene, ethereal feel that highlights your lovely subjects and shooting locations. Do you choose and rely on a certain camera or film to achieve this quality?
Thank you so much! I mainly use my Pentax k1000 and I haven’t used any other camera besides this and my Pentax ME so I’m not sure if it’s the camera that is giving me this quality nor the films that I use because I just use any films I can get my hands on; often fresh, but mostly expired ones because they are way cheaper. I guess that my inspirations and the things that influence me greatly affect the quality and style of my work.
5. I would have to say that you have an eye for capturing beauty in its simplicity and subtlety. Is this something that you learned from someone or trained yourself to do?
Thank you! I am often asked this question and I always find it hard to explain how I come about capturing these moments you see in my work. Honestly, I just press the shutter button whenever I feel like that moment is something I would want to freeze and stare at over time. I just follow what my heart tells me to do.
6. I noticed that most of your models are ladies. What do you usually find in a model or muse?
I shoot girls mostly because I find it hard to shoot boys. When I choose models, I usually go for girls with blank expressions and doll-like faces.
7. Your photographs are usually shot indoors with lovely interiors, or outdoors with patches of greenery. Do these locations, in any way, inspire or help you create concepts before a shoot?
I am a lover of nature and pretty interiors so I can say yes, locations inspire me greatly.
8. I find it hard to choose a favourite among your photo collections, but maybe there’s one that is closest to your heart. Can you share the photos with us and tell us more about them?
I find it hard to choose as well! But if I really had to, the ones I love most are those I’ve taken of people in my travels. There’s a sense of fulfillment and a joy in my heart that I cannot utter whenever Im able to capture these people in their natural ways.
Children are my favorite people to photograph whenever I travel. I just love them way too much.
9. Has the imperfections of film ever helped you “create” some memorable or compelling photographs?
Light leaks often give such dramatic effect to my photos but I don’t think I have compelling photos to share as of the moment (or maybe that’s what I think. There’s my website and blog, you be the judge!).
10. Lastly, what would you say to those who want to try shooting with film?
Make use of whatever you have and whatever you can afford and start from there!
If you happen to be in Manila, Aleyn Comprendio is one of the photographers who are set to showcase their work on Bloom Arts Festival, one of the Philippines’ most anticipated art events this year. It’s going to be held on September 29, 2012 at Cubao X. Check out the Bloom Arts Festival Facebook Page and When in Manila for more details!