Tonilynn Cappabianco on Capturing the Magic of the Ephemera


After re-exploring film photography during the quarantine, there’s a different kind of sorcery going on through the lens of photographer Tonilynn Cappabianco – and it’s one where light, time and space deviate and make their own rules. Capturing the transience of a moment has that magical look in her colorful photographic palette.

© Tonilynn Cappabianco

Firstly, how things are for you lately as a photographer?

Things are going well for me at the moment since I've had so much more free time than usual and I've been able to put a lot of my time and energy into exploring my style as a photographer as well as leaving a lot of room for experimentation that was only a luxury before. 

Let’s revisit the past. How did you get into photography and film?

It's been something that I've been interested in most of my life starting simply with disposable cameras and getting those developed at the store. Eventually, I got my first instant camera which was an I-zone camera then as things progressed I got my first point-and-shoot in high school and then a DSLR in college. It wasn't until the quarantine that I've begun to explore the analogue side of things again and I started using the SLRs (Canon t-50, Pentax ME, and Pentax k1000) that I inherited from my grandpa and I learned to develop my own film at home. 

© Tonilynn Cappabianco

We love your creative compositions. Can you tell us more about your experimental approach? What photography elements do you consider important?

I'm really a sucker for small ephemeral details and fleeting atmospheres so my photos tend to gravitate towards that. I really like to utilize a shallow depth of field generally and use natural lighting as best as I can.  

When painting an image, what do you instantly look for when composing a photograph?

I seem to have made it a habit to try to include as many minute details in a frame as I can to try and capture the feeling of what I'm experiencing in person which is usually my driving force. 

What subjects are you most drawn to?

Well, as I'm located in rural Western Pennsylvania I find most of my subject matter reflects that. I photograph a lot of nature; plenty of flowers, the occasional human, landscapes, as well as abandoned things. Most of the time these are industrial in nature such as factories or mines since it is not uncommon to find these things hidden in plain sight after being reclaimed by nature.

© Tonilynn Cappabianco

We mentioned that your photography is very unique – can you give us a few tips on how we can find our own unique voices as photographers?

I definitely suggest following the things that catch your eye. Even the small little details that appeal to you, appeal to you for a reason and chances are other people will also be drawn to them as well. There's no right or wrong way to share these experiences.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

It's rather cheesy but I'm very inspired by just the momentary beauty of the world. With everything being so inherently transient it's good to kind of just reflect on the time and space you're in at the moment and the feelings it gives you. Photography seems to be the perfect medium for attempting to capture that. 

Lastly, what are you up to next?

I'm hoping there will be some more travel in my future soon but even then I'm going to keep on doing what I've been doing, exploring and taking photographs. 

© Tonilynn Cappabianco

For more of Tonilynn’s works, visit her website and Instagram.

written by cielsan on 2020-07-15 #people #places #film-photography #tonilynn-cappabianco


  1. lomo_analogue_film
    lomo_analogue_film ·

    Beautiful work!

  2. jm60
    jm60 ·

    I like what she has done, but sharing in the techniques used would have been nice to have known for a "compare and contrast" type of discussion starter, Lomography is about sharing ideas after all. In looking at some of them, it does look like she used colored theatrical gelatins in front of a strobe or two, for those images that do not look completely like Lomo Purple. A few also look like they were shot through various color filters on the lens and then overexposed a few stops to bring up the white in the daiseys as one example, I have shot similar digitally with an "FLD" filter in the past with similar results to the image of the Daisieys. I am not trying to steal her thunder, or reveal anything that isn't already out there in other discussions. Just covering a few details to hopefully inspire others to try something that they may not have quite enough exposure to, to get results that they like and encourages them to be more experimental.

  3. telesynthetica
    telesynthetica ·

    @jm60 Hey there! It's Tonilynn. As far as my techniques used, All of these shots use natural light and no gels were used at all! All the film is Lomochrome Purple however my post production editing is done digitally so that's where it strays a bit! My fault for not expanding more!

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