Isaac Solano is different and he knows it. He likes doing what fulfills him and he wouldn't have it any other way. Photography is perceived differently by the photographer and the audience. Isaac cares about what he sees and likes to share it through his photographs. That is passion, that is dedication. What catches is attention and spirit is what you see on his photographs. And at a time when photographs seem to be more about likes, shares, and comments, it's refreshing to see someone actually taking photos just for the pure love of photography and the creative process. Cheers, Isaac.
Hello, Isaac! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Isaac Solano. I am 24 years old and I live in Mexico City. I'm an industrial eesigner and I'm dedicated to advertising and printing.
How would you define photography? What's your favorite thing about it?
Last year, I was immersed in the opportunity to experiment in analog photography. I suppose I would define my analogoue work in the same way I did with this topic: accidental. The magic of this world is the process. The silver, the developers, the halides, and the dark rooms, there is an incomparable magic, that feeling of surprise. Open the tanks and see the result is similar to opening gifts at Christmas, exciting. I guess that was what motivated me to enter this world.
Let's talk a bit about your work — how would you describe your photographic style/approach?
I started taking pictures as therapy, I had many cameras stored in a box simply because I liked them — they were mostly polaroids and things that worked with snapshots. It was a complex moment in my life because I was just coming out of an internment for depression, so it was a way to connect with my old passions. To find a way to convey what I was living, to project my day to day through images.
I do not know, maybe I do not have a way to describe my style, I just charge a camera on all sides and shoot when I like something, sometimes I do not know, sometimes I do, but I always try to show through the image that I felt when I took the photo, it's about freezing that moment in every way ... so much that you can even smell the photo.
Almost all the work I do, I do it with a limited budget, with very old films and movie-film (like Vision3 by Kodak) at home. I suppose that is why many of the textures, colors, and compositions of my photos — let's say that austerity gives that "touch". Everything revealed, expanded, scanned and processed by myself. It's the magic of the analogue photo, I think if you're not doing it yourself, you're not really taking a picture.
You have a really good eye when it comes to spotting interesting views. What do you usually look for in photographs?
I like that the photographs communicate something, that you feel something when you see them, even repulsion if necessary. A photograph that is not able to communicate something, from my point of view, has no meaning. It is necessary to find a way to communicate, to cross the time barrier and provide the opportunity to transport the viewer to a place without having to move from where it is. It is usually something that I always try to look for when I take pictures, capture the essence of that moment so that it can be felt some time later: freeze time in an image. Something that when people see it, produce something, no matter how small, I believe that if I achieve that, I have achieved my goal.
How do you compose your shots? Do you have a plan or vision beforehand or do you just shoot by instinct? Please talk us through your creative process.
I usually do not have any plans before taking pictures. When I'm doing a studio photo I usually make lots of light measurements. I try to take pictures with many hidden elements even if it's a simple portrait. I like to look for very much when I'm shooting at a studio — I feel there is a lot of creative opportunity when you control all the parameters of a photo but it can also be counterproductive. Sometimes that stalls creativity. Many of the studio photos that I shoot, I don't publish because they are usually for client projects with restricted use.
What I do most, and what I'm passionate about is sudden photography — the one in which you see walking and an interesting scene, you stop, adjust the parameters and pray for it to come out as you think. I really like to improvise when I'm taking photos, I like to play with the lights of the environment, with the elements that surround the subject. I feel that this is the true way to arrive at a good understanding of how to compose a photo — with what is happening. It is more complex but more satisfying, more real. I love to go out with my camera some weekend with my girlfriend, get on the subway and get off at any station, take two or three photos, go eat, keep taking pictures, go to the movies and take more pictures. I feel it must be an extension of everyday life to shape your perspective of life. I feel that it greatly enriches the visual heritage of an artist. I like that kind of process, the process that eventually does not have a process.
What's your favorite photo? Could you tell us the story behind it?
My favorite photo is that of the orange jellyfish, it is a photo that surprised me when I saw it for the first time. I sincerely never thought that such a radiant color palette would be the result of that shot. I was in Los Angeles on vacation, precisely in Long Beach, I was walking around in a shopping center near the aquarium and going around the pier and others, taking pictures, and enjoying the place.
I came face to face with the aquarium, it was like 5:00 pm. The aquarium was in fact about to close. I paid half of the admission because the aquarium gives discounts in the last hour of service. I went in and looked at the place: impressive. I took a couple of laps and had two cameras, a digital one with an 8mm fisheye, and a Nikkormat with a 50mm 2.0, a pretty basic lens, I remember carrying several magazines in my backpack, but in the camera I brought a Kodak 100, a roll that's pretty common. I entered the jellyfish section and there was not a person, the aquarium was about to close, the silence was heard and I saw a black fish tank highlighted by a pair of peach colored jellyfish. I adjusted my camera for a kind of long exposure and an overloaded shot on a railing.
The fish tank itself was with a black background and the colors were not so intense, it was the only photo I took with my analogue camera. I did not pay much attention or much intention to the photo, but when I saw it for the first time after leaving the lab I fell in love with it. It was a photo that I had no idea that it would be like that, but I sincerely feel that it is the photo that I liked the most, not because it is the best, but because I did not expect much from it.
In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?
Do what you like. It is useless to take very technical photographs, with an incredible theory and with perfect lighting if you are not passionate about what you are doing. In general, I feel that a good photograph is the one that the author likes, and afterwards if the public likes it, it is great and it is an extra. Without a doubt, a photograph that is not good for those who take it, loses all sense. We can talk about technique, lighting, composing a whole life, and yet that is subjective. Art, graphics, photography is very subjective, there is a world outside currents, styles, and proposals. In short, it has to be good for those who do it, you have to like it and then the rest will be responsible for approving or not ... everything is subjective.
If you could work with any artist/group, who would it be and why?
I really like the work of Emanuele Ferrari, I love his portraits. He would have no problem with being the one who loads his equipment. A brand that I would like to take pictures of is PopKiller, it is in the center of Los Angeles, and as I entered its store, the concept left me with my mouth open. Without a doubt I think we would make a good click.
Who are the artists that you follow on a regular basis?
I really like to see the work of @rescuedfilm, it has that charm of returning to life photos of several decades old, it's how to wake up a zombie. I really like the illustrations of @slimesunday, there was a time where I made digital interventions to my photos and I was very inspired by their images. @pacodelosmonteros is also on my list regularly, I like the abstraction of his photos, the ability to capture a totally sterile moment. I don't know, it has something that I like and I still struggle to find it.
What was the most memorable advice you've been given in your career as an artist? Or what advice would you give to photographers/creatives who are looking to start a career in photography?
I sincerely feel that the best advice that anyone can give and receive is always do what you are passionate about, and respect your ideas. Do not allow the environment to change your beliefs and what you are passionate about doing. In any field it works. Ff you love what you do, it will simply be worthwhile to follow the path insipid as it seems to others, the important thing is that it fills you.
How do you stay creative?
I listen to a lot of new music always, I let YouTube take me wherever I want. I let my brother update my iTunes music lists, music is always giving me great moments of inspiration. I am always thinking about new things to do, how to do my job better, and how to complement my hobbies with my personal life. Exercise, keep busy...a busy mind does not have time to get lost in simplicity.
What's your favorite camera/film?
My favorite camera is the Nikon F3, there is no better Nikon camera, I love it with a 50mm 1: 1.2 lens. The film that I like the most is Vision 3 of Kodak, it's a film for cinema. a producer sold me a couple of cans a while ago. I can reveal them in color or in black or white, pure cross-process. I like to experiment with that film.
Name one song, book, and movie that stuck with you.
My song, Armando Young - Loved Ones (Saudades.) My book, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). My movie, Atomic Blonde.
How does a perfect day look like for Isaac Solano?
Many photos, lots of food, nice people by my side. Do what I always like, keep me real.
What's next for you?
Keep me real, and life will take care of the rest.
Any last words for our readers?
If you are not having fun with what you do, stop doing it. If you are not passionate about what your life is, run to do what you do.
We would like to express our gratitude to Isaac for letting us feature his images on the Magazine. If you're interested in his work, you may visit his Instagram for more.