Passion brings us close as a community here in Lomography. Our shared experiences and memories only make us love our analogue connection even more. Pablo Giori, a photographer and film lover also feels that connection. Only he stepped it up a notch. Pablo started a worldwide film swap to bridge cultures and peoples with the use of the humble film roll. Read on to find out more about his passion for film photography in this interview.
Hello, Pablo and welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m an Argentinian photographer, curator, and historian based in Barcelona. I’m particularly interested in experimental photography and in the materiality of analogue film. I have a PhD in contemporary history and I work in an archive. I have a German passport and five nephews, no dogs, no cats, but several cactus plants.
How did #FilmSwapWorldwide start? What's the story behind it?
Two years ago I created the BADEM project (Barcelona Double Exposure Movement) with nine other photographers to reflect urban and human transformations in downtown Barcelona. I was working on the BADEM collective project when I thought: “Why are we working only in Barcelona? Why I can’t we film swap worldwide? There was no reason not to do it!”
At that precise moment I wrote to Angela Redondo (@35mmpostcard) by Instagram and I asked her to do a film swap. The result was so amazing (one of my best film rolls ever!) that I decided it was to time to create a new project. #FilmSwapWorldWide was born!
Why choose film photography as the medium for your project?
For me, film photography is the only medium to create something new: if you want to represent reality you can do it with your mobile phone but if you are looking for something different, you have to try film. I am not a fundamentalist, as my use of film photography is intimately linked with materiality, experimentation, and double exposure. You need the film roll to swap it, you need it to do this exchange of a magical object half touched by light to connect with others. No millions of megabytes can ever replace the film smell when it was used by another photographer on the other side of the world. The history of this object is the history of the future of photography.
How did you gather photographers to participate in this global film swap?
I have been working from the beginning with Instagram as a space to share, to learn, and to find complicities in my artistic projects. It was something really natural. I just started sending messages to all the people that I respect artistically and that's the way I keep working. Sometimes I write to them, sometimes I receive proposals, and sometimes I just create Instagram stories asking for photographers from some regions of the world. I have not been able to find film swappers in Africa and not really a lot of them in Asia and that’s because of economic reasons. As usual, that’s a limit for the expansion of this kind of creation. But at the same time, I was really surprised because they are really connected with what we are doing, but they can’t pay six dollars for a roll of film. I hope that’s something that is going to change.
What do you aim to achieve with your photo project?
My goal is to create a community and to do visual reflections about the reality we are living in. Experience is local but thinking must be worldwide. In that sense, double exposure and film swap are perfect for achieving my two main goals. I think that my photography is a kind of visual tourism but it's also a way of questioning the reality in which we live in. That’s why I don’t work with abstract photography but with what I call real fiction photography — what you see are two photos of reality without any external transformation or editing. You are seeing two realities that, when mixed, are able to create a visual fiction that can question reality.
What would you like people to think about when they see the multiple exposure images?
Defamiliarization. As Wikipedia says: “Defamiliarization or ostranenie is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar.”
We feel the passion and love behind your work. It's inspiring and exciting at the same time. What are your next plans for #FilmSwapWorldwide?
What I’m really working on now is organizing exhibitions and publishing a book. I think this project has been created in the cities and it must come back to the cities. I’m open to travel to look for art galleries, museums, and bars to show the project. At this moment I can confirm that it will be shown in Paris, Barcelona, FestImatge (a film festival in Calella), Krakow, Buenos Aires, Tucumán, and Washington; but I keep looking for more places worldwide.
I really think that it is a great idea to publish a photo book of this project because books are, in the end, what people can save forever as a memory of this experience. That’s the other aspect I’m working hard on in the near future but I’m having problems in finding an editor. If any of your readers know any place for exhibitions or a photo book editor, you are completely invited to join our #FilmSwapWorldWide community.
Let's talk a bit about your exhibition titled “Migrating Gazes.” What would viewers expect to see from the display?
It’s really hard to know exactly because every exhibition is different in form and content. In general, I can say that they will see images of the project that they can feel as familiar but defamiliarized in a creative dialogue with other realities. I’m also working hard with portraits because they are like unexpected guests in our dialogues between cities and photographers. In the end, we are images. We need to look twice to look at ourselves. We have to migrate the gazes, look from the outside to look inside.
What's next after the #FilmSwapWorldwide project? Please invite our readers.
I can’t think of new projects right now. I’m working so hard with #FilmSwapWorldWide that I can’t think about proceeding to the next step. Probably in a year, with our community extended, the exhibitions worldwide and probably the book published, I will then be ready for a new project.
We're sure that some of our Community Members would like to try the #FilmSwapWorldwide. How can they join the project?
We would like to express our gratitude to Pablo for letting us feature their images in the Magazine. All images and information in this article were used with the author's permission.