After showing you her photos that play with contrasting light and shadow, we now bring you a piece of photographer Clarissa Bonet's mind. Read on to find out what she has to say.
We recently got in touch with Clarissa Bonet after finding her series City Space and its amazing play with the juxtaposition of light and shadow. In this interview, she talks about her artistic process, how light plays a big part in her work and that she’s a fan of vintage cameras and jewelry. Everybody, say hi to Clarissa Bonet.
You may get this question in a lot on interviews but still we’d like to ask: how and when did you start shooting on film?
I learned photography with film and didn’t even get a digital camera until I was studying photography as an undergrad student. Now I use both digital and film, depending on the project. I see them as different tools—one not better than the other—with different strengths and weaknesses.
What makes analogue photography special for you? Is there anything specific about shooting on film that makes it particularly stand out?
I love to photograph in exceedingly harsh light, which can be difficult to do using a digital camera. The harsh light seems to be recorded in the softer manner I‘m aiming for when shoot on film. I also really love shooting with my Mamiya 7 II!
Your series “City Space” has a distinct look and feel to it. Please tell us more about it, perhaps the inspiration, vision, behind it, as well as the techniques you used, etc.
When I first moved to Chicago from suburban Florida—Tampa, where I was born—I was fascinated with the urban environment. Even the mundane aspects of living took on a whole new experience. I wanted to capture the essence of this in my images. I was really looking to make images about my experience, which is different than the documentation of what happened. Expressing a feeling or a mood is challenging to photograph; it’s not a tangible thing. So I used light, shadow, and color as a way to communicate to my viewers what my experience of the urban environment was like.
Do you have personal rules that you apply to your own work? Please share them with our readers.
I wouldn’t say that I have any rules, other than making sure to shoot in the right time of day and weather. All of my images are well thought out. I usually have a location and time in mind for each shot. Sometimes I have to wait a week or two to make a particular image because the weather is not cooperating. Lighting is a big part of my work, and I use natural light almost exclusivity, so I need the weather to cooperate.
What is your take on photography as an art?
Photography as an art form is freeing. There are no constraints to the medium other than the ones that artists place upon themselves. I see photography as a malleable medium that can to form ideas into tangible art objects.
Given the chance to collaborate with any artist or photographer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
I have been interested in pieces that are made up of multiple images in grid formation. I have always admired Curtis Mann’s works, especially his gridded pieces. Although our processes are very different, we are both constructing images. I work in a different way, although it would be really interesting to see what we could make together if we collaborated on a project.
When you’re not taking photos, what do you do?
I am on the Internet a lot looking at other photographs, researching for my project, researching grants or shows to apply for. Making the work is only a small part of my artistic practice.
Any tips for shutterbugs trying to find their style in photography?
Analyzing my favorite photographers’ work really helped me develop my own personal style. I really started to question what drew me to their work in the first place and what in particular I found captivating. I learned a lot about my own photographs by analyzing the work of others.
Which artists inspire you in your work? Any artists that we should follow?
Ray Metzker and Saul Leiter are two amazing photographers that inspired my City Space work. Although they are street photographer and work in a different process than I do, I learned so much from their methods of image making.
Do you have any other works that you’d like to promote?
I’ve been working on a project, Dark City, for about a year now and am really going to ramp up production this winter. There are few Dark City images on my website now, but keep an eye out in the spring for new images from that body of work.
Any guilty pleasure?
Shopping for vintage bags and jewelry.
Any last words for our readers?
You can head over to Clarissa Bonet’s site here to see more of her works in analogue and digital.