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Niña Muallam and Her Penchant for Instant Photography

Niña Muallam is a Manila-based art director who loves taking instant film photographs. Her blog, Go Gerard!, is inspired by Amelie. She also adores Andy Warhol. Take a look at her photography and read the rest of the interview after the break.

Tell us something about yourself.
I’m Niña Muallam, 25 years old. My friends from the industry call me NiMu. I’m an art director based in Manila. I’m in the magazine industry for four years (I still am!). My job as an art director requires me to do layouts, stay long hours in the office, go to photoshoots, and make big decisions visually. I get inspiration from music, international magazines, photography, and art/design blogs.

How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
My college years marked the beginnings of my love for photography. I attended a Photography class where we learned the technical side of photography (aperture, shutter speed, lighting) using DSLR camera. I didn’t have my own camera during that time. I just borrowed my sister’s digital camera.

How/When did your project, Go Gerard!, begin? What/Who inspired you to do it? Which Fujifilm instant cameras do you use?
My fascination for instant photography is recent. I just discovered Instant photography this year, when a friend bought a Fuji Instax Mini 7s. After a few months, I managed to have a camera of my own. I chose Fuji Instax Mini 7s (in Choco) because of it’s infinite possibilities, cuteness, versatility, and it’s really really cool! I was very excited to try my first pack of film!

Why do you love instant film photography?
Instax films are quite expensive and so I wanted to create something unique about it. One of the closest friend, Beverly Dalton, introduced me to the idea of the “travelling gnome,” inspired by the movie Amelie. So I thought instead of a garden gnome, I’ll use my minibot. We all know robots don’t have a soul or life—so why not give mine one! I started Go Gerard! last March 2011, so I’m pretty new when it comes to this craft.

Do you have techniques when shooting in instant film?
I dont have a technique when i take photos for my blog (except for light settings-rainy, indoor, sunny). When I take photos, I always search for people’s spontaneous reactions when i hand them my robot. I don’t direct them on what to do—and the results are pretty good. I like the rawness of the emotions and the element of surprise that instant photography can give.

Just a wild approximation, how many instant film photographs have you taken already? Which is your favorite?
I have around 130 film photographs already. It’s impossible for me to choose one favorite photograph! I must have at least 10-20 favorites.

Do you use other analogue/film cameras? Have you tried/Do you own Lomographic cameras?
I tried Lomographic cameras like the Oktomat, the ActionSampler and the Fisheye. But I don’t own a unit. I decided to focus on Instax cameras.

You have photographed a lot of local celebrities. If you could take instant film photographs of any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
In college, I took up Digital Arts & Design and considered Andy Warhol as one of the many artists I look up to. Being a music lover, it would be great to photograph musical idols like Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars. Since I started using my instax for my blog, I had the privilege of meeting many of my Pinoy musical idols such as Lea Salonga, Gary V, and other local artists like Ebe Dancel and Raimund Marasigan. It was a dream come true to take snapshots of them and share their stories through my blog, Go Gerard!.

We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
I love Marvin Scott Jarrett’s photographs. They have these rough, indie and film-vibe. Plus, he’s an editor-in-chief! He usually take photos of celebs for their magazine cover which is totally cool! Locally, I look up to Toto Labrador and BJ Pascual.

Have you had an exhibit? What’s next in store for Go Gerard!?
I’m planning to hold an exhibit, maybe next year. I’m just collecting more film photographs.

Other than instant film photography, what are your other interests and projects?
I’m really into print—especially magazines. I really like my job as an art director. I get the chance to talk to photographers, stylists, and graphic designers. It’s nice to have the chance to get a point of view from the experts.

Any tips for those who would like to try instant film photography?
Don’t think to much. Let your creativity flow freely. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be clumsy. Just shoot whatever what’s fun, what attracts and excites you.

The Fuji Instax Mini 7S has simple exposure control, automatic built-in flash, and uses credit card-sized Fuji Instax Mini film. And you’re in luck, because this camera is now available in adorable pink! Check it out with the rest of our Instant cameras here!

written by basterda

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