In this age where attention is short and resources are numerous, multitasking begins to turn into a skill that only a few can handle. But for artist Carina Santos, a few more slashes in her name won't really matter.
24 years young and from the Philippines, Carina Santos is a designer, writer, photographer, and a self-proclaimed fan of dumplings. Her work, distinct and pretty much all over the internet, is very hard to miss. Web designs, collages, and some writing here and there, Carina juggles several in her hands yet it’s nice to know that she keeps intact with her passion for film photography.
It took us quite a while to snag some time with this lady but we’re glad that we’re on it now. Know more about Carina and her art plus take a look at her lovely film photographs in our interview below!
Name: Carina Santos
Location: Manila, Philippines
Film cameras she owns: Nikon FM-2, Nikon FE, Nikon F50, Lomo LC-A+, Lomo Bel-Air, Lomo Oktomat, Lomo Supersampler, Lomo Sprocket Rocket, Lomo Diana Baby, Olympus Pen EE, Yashica Electro 35CC
Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living? What are your interests?
I’m a visual artist and I usually do web and print design, but I’ve also had a few art exhibits over the last three or so years. Sometimes, I write, too. I have a lot of interests, but mostly I just like making things and reading books. I’m also into dumplings.
How did you start and how long have you been doing film photography?
I received a Crayola 110 camera for Christmas when I was very young and didn’t understand that you can’t expose the backside of a film camera to people if you want your shots to show up.
My first shots were from a periwinkle blue Pentax point-and-shoot that my dad gave me. I joined a Photography club my junior year of high school which introduced me to SLR photography, then the rest is history.
We’ve heard that you were once a graphic designer for Lomography — how was it?
It was a cool experience since I hadn’t really done a lot of designs for e-mail campaigns prior to that. I really had to learn how to get a certain message or mood across. It was really awesome, too, because I became more exposed to the Lomography Community online. Before that, I just shared my photos on my LiveJournal and various blogs.
We see that you also do digital photography. Any thoughts on it especially when they say that ‘film photography is dying’?
I don’t necessarily think that it’s dying. Maybe people are losing interest in it because it takes so much patience sometimes. Technically, you can replicate a certain look with a filter or some color corrections, but ultimately, I believe that film photography has an inimitable quality of intimacy, spontaneity, and candidness that, sometimes, digital photography can’t really capture in the same way.
I love and use both, for different reasons.
Any memorable experiences you’ve had on the course of doing film photography? Kindly share them to us.
It’s always a real treat when your photos come back to you beautifully. I remember talking to Shine who explained the focal system of the LC-A+ so I’ve been better at estimating focus and that was momentous for me.
I’ve had a lot of film experiments that didn’t turn out so well, which is always sad. I remember documenting a soccer game in high school (for my own purposes) where I would run along the sidelines to catch the players in action. I had a wide lens, so it didn’t really matter, but I had also forgotten to change the settings, so all my photos turned out to be a mucky green.
Who are your inspirations when it comes to art and photography? Your favorites?
My favorite artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Saville, John Baldessari; the list goes on. Locally, I love the work of Roberto Chabet, Nilo Ilarde, Nona Garcia, Mariano Ching, Yasmin Sison, Geraldine Javier, Bernardo Pacquing, Juan Alcazaren, and of course, my parents’ (Soler and Mona Santos) work. There’s really too much to mention, as I admire a lot of local artists’ work.
For photography, I’m not really that familiar with a lot of professional photographers, but my favorite is Lee Friedlander. The work of my friend, Tim Serrano, really resonates with me as well. A lot of my favorite shots are from Lomographers, too.
We see that you currently handle two (or maybe more!) blogs. Kindly tell us something about it.
I have a handful of online accounts; it’s kind of embarrassing. My main one is a personal blog where I post photographs of art and music shows, and some from my travels. Personally, I find blogging really cathartic. There isn’t really an aim to get more views or anything. I just really like telling stories in that medium, though it always feels really good when strangers connect with you through a shared passion or interest.
Currently, I am working on reviving Recovery, which is a project that my friend and I started. We post reviews of Philippine Literature, and we ask visual artists to “recover” their book covers, as often they are uninspiring. It’s sort of looking at something in a new way or perspective, both visually and as a reader.
The Manila Review is a publication that my friends started. I’ve been designing both print and web for it, and that’s an independent project that I’m invested in as well.
What should we look forward to from you? New projects? Another exhibit, maybe?
I’m currently working on some client work, but as for passion projects, I’m trying to set up an online shop with my sister. My next exhibit is in February, and I’m keen on incorporating more of my photographs in my pieces.
Your song of the now?
I’m deep into a Ryan Adams mood right now and I’ve had “Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.” on repeat!
Any tips on film photography?
Don’t think too much about it; just take the shot.