Five US-based street photographers reached out to us earlier this year about their plans of going on a photography-trip to Mexico City. While they all share a passion for analog street photography, they each have different photographic style, and hence different preferences in film stock. So we set them up with a mix of Lomography Film to take on the trip. We've already shared the results of Adam Powell, Lauren Roche, Tyler Woodford and Cat Byrnes, we now get to see the photos of the final member: Christian Linares, a New York-based photographer with a very special connection to Mexico City.
Please introduce yourself real quick and tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
My name is Christian Linares and I am a photographer from Brooklyn. I was originally born in Mexico City but moved to New York City when I was seven years old. Adjusting to a new language and culture taught me how to look at things with a different perspective. It wasn’t until high school when I discovered my love for art, my aunt found a dusty old Canon Ae1 35mm while cleaning her closet. She told me I could have the camera after I asked to borrow it probably thinking i could get more use of it then her. It is always an exciting challenge to capture the vividity of my childhood communities in Borough Park. Although my style has changed over the years of practice, my philosophy has always been the same: to establish an emotional connection with my surroundings that I hope will be transferred from me to my audience by way of my photography.
How did you get into street photography and what's exciting you about it in particular?
Flipping through old photographs from my mother’s family albums, history books, and daydreaming during class was one of my favorite pastimes as a kid. I was inspired and took to documenting my neighborhood. The more I was exposed to street photography, the more I became interested in creating my own body of work. Also the energy of New York City is contagious and inspires and invigorates me every day.
You normally shoot in the streets of New York, where people are probably a bit more used to being photographed or at least most of the times not really shocked by it. Did it feel different to shoot in Mexico City? Were you more hesitant to take people's pictures or did you go about it just like you do in New York?
It was the first time returning to my birthplace in over a decade. It was surreal at first; to return to a hometown that was only present for half of my childhood and also so vastly different from my life in Brooklyn. However, it did not take long to feel accepted and comfortable in Mexico City once again. The people there were incredibly welcoming and kind throughout my visit that I instantly felt a deeper connection with my culture. There were some situations where people did not like their pictures being taken. But most encounters resulted in an exchange of smiles, conversations and personal stories. These interactions gave me a huge boost of encouragement to continue to interact with the people in the city.
What's important for you in a good street photo?
I’d say a ‘good’ street photo is one that feels honest to me. There are so many elements that help form a successful or impressive photograph. Such as eye contact, motion, body language and color palette. It’s hard to decide what makes up the best recipe - sometimes it’s empathy.
Do you have a specific photo in the group with a memory or story attached to it? Tell us about it.
The photo of the little boy crying while his older brother is picking up his fallen bike [see below] was one situation I remember fondly. It was mid afternoon on a hot day, i was feeling hungry and mostly just wanted to sit somewhere and eat. I was eventually in Plaza Garibaldi walking down a small side street and saw a woman sewing mariachi buttons to a garment in front of her home. The buttons were gold but not too large, they added so much class to the mariachi suit. I asked if i could come in and take photos of her garment work. It was wonderful to get a glimpse of this woman's life and it made me respect mariachi clothes in a different way. This interaction eventually led me into a courtyard where I spotted the two kids sharing one bicycle. The smallest boy was riding in the back and couldn't hang on to his brother who was riding really fast. They both fell to the ground pretty hard, the smallest boy began to cry while his brother took off. This photograph is one of my favorites, there are endless stories to tell and pictures to go along with them.
Film changes the look and feel of this series of photographs. Why is shooting on film so important to you?
Shooting on film provides a timeless quality to photographs while also adding depth in ways digital can‘t. I enjoy the traditional feel of handling film and the act of forming a relationship with the technicians processing and printing my work. Digital is almost too perfect for me and too impersonal for my intentions.
Make sure to check out more of Christian's work on his Instagram