"Besides the warm tones, high dynamic range, being able to do large prints with medium and big format and all that scientific rabble, my favorite part is how unpredictable it is," Carlos Sol Silva says and we, as analogue enthusiasts, agree to this, wholeheartedly.
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Carlos Sol, I’m 23 years old and I was born in Madeira island. I’m living in Lisbon where I’m finishing my Master degree, I try to help the Analog Nights site and I’m the founder of the Portuguese project, we love film. I don’t eat candies, ice creams, chocolats or any kind of sweets, my right eye can only see 30% and I used to be in a couple of music projects.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I always had this thing for photography. In most of my childhood memories, I see my father with his moustache and his Nikon FM, so that kinda always triggered something in my mind. The curiosity of understanding what was so special and glamorous about that object, all that process of putting film, taking pictures and develop them, made photographic cameras look so cool and unattainable at that time. As most of the people of my generation, I ended up starting with a digital camera. When I was around 15 or 16, I got my first crappy digital Minolta and the Nikon FM that belonged to my father and basicly everything started from there.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
Two years ago a great friend of mine died of a heart atack. It was hard and strange at the same time, we had all these years of friendship, so many things and stories together, but there were few photos of those days. Since that event, photography had a new meaning for me, I just wanted to keep a visual diary of everything.
Having this in mind, the most important and vast subject I like is people, those who surround me and I have this thing for double exposures too.
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
It’s hard to pick one but I really like this picture I took of Massimo in Oporto. We had woken up and he was preparing this odd breakfast, with beans, tuna and some other weird stuff for a breakfast meal.
I like the honesty of the picture, seems very sincere and natural, it wasn’t planned and when I look at it, feels like I wasn’t really there, like he was completely alone in that room.
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
This is a weird and hard question at the same time, I never thought about relating my photography to music. Music plays a very important part in everyone’s life and mine is no exception. I collect vynil from all sorts of genres of music but when I’m shooting, I’m mostly listen to post rock / ambient rock. I guess this would probably be the most suited soundtrack to my series of photographs, stuff like Riding Pânico, Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, Guilherme Canhão, Toe, The Album Leaf, Dead Combo, Tó Trips & Tiago Gomes, Mouse in the Keys, Enemies, Grails, Paus, etc… if I really had to pick just one song, I’d probably go with ‘White Flag’ or ‘Canyon Hymn’ from Grails, that would be perfect.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
Whether you’d prefer to refer artsy names, the main influences we have are our friends. The people that you have most contact and criticize your work, will be the biggest influences on how your work develops itself.
I’d point out two of my friends, André Sirgado and Pedro Simões. We started taking photographs at the same time, many years ago, so we all grew up together, making fun of each other’s work and seeing who would have the coolest looking camera.
Besides my friends I’m really into the work of the masters of photography like, Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Robert Doisneau, I really enjoy what Jacob Holdt did, Martha Cooper with her Hip Hop Files, Richard Avedon latest work, Eduardo Gageiro report of pictures before the Revolution, Patrick Joust, Samuel Bradley, Mike Ghost, etc, etc, etc.
With all the techonlogy we have today, it’s really easy to go through a lot of galleries. You just open flickr, tumblr, or anything similar and it’s really simple to find people around the globe, that somehow do a great job in photography and inspire you. If you take for example Vivian Mayer, she’s a superb photographer that no one knew, but became a worlwide sensation in a fraction of time because of the internet. Due to this fact, lately I’ve stumbled upon the work of people like Matías Montecinos, Leo Le Bug, Brett Price, Akin Çetin, that even not being famous photographers are really great.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
I’d probably take a portrait of my grandfather. He was a sailorman and I never had the chance to meet him. If I could choose any camera, I’d choose a Rolleiflex 2.8f, just for the kicks of doing a film roll in one of the world’s most famous cameras.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
Besides the warm tones, high dynamic range, being able to do large prints with medium and big format and all that scientific rabble, my favorite part is how unpredictable it is. You take a picture and you don’t have a LCD screen, you do a multiple exposure and you’re not seeing how the result is being created. There’s really a reaction when you fire the shutter, the light comes in and burns the film, somehow that seems more natural and organic.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite? / Which Lomographic camera would you like to have and why?
The only Lomo camera I had was this Kiev 60 TTL with the Arsat 80mm f2.8 lens. I sold it a few weeks ago in order to pay for my Mamiya.
I’d like to do a roll or two on the LC-A and I probably will. I’m allways selling my cameras and buying new ones to test them, unfortunately, I can’t have them all.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
Photography is the most honest way to create memories. In a couple of years, you’re memory won’t probably be as good as it is now, so all those stories you have inside you may start to blur. If you have pictures, you’ll allways have a physical proof that documents the places you’ve been, the things you did and the people you’ve met and at the end of the day, I think that’s the most important part.
Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
we love film is a small portuguese project, dedicated to gather film users and share film at cheap prices. In Portugal film is a bit expensive, so in order to get better prices, we’ll buy large boxes of film and share them.
Our main goal is to give the oportunity to everyone to use this form of media, to be part of their creative process and to create a small circle, where everyone may share their work and be inspired by others.
I’m working right now with my colleague, André Sirgado, in order to create the first exibition from we love film. We believe the world has many talented artists that for a variety of reasons don’t have the oportunity to show their work, so our main objective is to find a way to take their work to a gallery, art space, or something like that.
We believe pictures should be seen in walls and not on flickr pages behind laptop screens. Our first exibition is already late a couple of months, since we’re struggling to find a way to finance everything involved.