Like we always say, film photography is a personal journey. All of us have reasons to pursue it and those unique whys make the journey all the more important and fulfilling for us. For photographer Moreno Sudaro, choosing to shoot with film is a conscious choice and he wouldn't want to trade it for anything else. His frames of empty spaces become beautiful scenes with his indelible approach to film photography—with soft, colorful tones and a tinge of nostalgia.
We are always grateful for being able to find new photographers to speak with regarding their processes. This conversation with Moreno is one of the most thoughtful pieces we've had the pleasure of working on in a while. Join us as we learn more about him and his work.
Hello, Moreno, and welcome to the Magazine! What do you do and what got you started with film photography?
Hey Marc, I'm very honored to do this and I want to thank you for this opportunity.
What I do—I work in logistics and in my spare time, I try to take as many pictures as possible. This is not always easy because I also have two small children and my wife works shifts.
My vision of photography has changed a lot since two years ago. I had a digital camera for 15 years and tried all kinds of photography, I especially made a lot of trips where I could find beautiful photo locations. All those years I also used Adobe Lightroom and I spent a lot of time on this, actually too much. I was spending more time on the computer editing photos than actually taking them and I got tired of it. I also had children in the meantime. Of course, I took a lot of pictures of them but traveling had become difficult, partly because of this I had lost the pleasure of photographing.
Until three years ago, I saw someone on Instagram using an analogue camera. I don’t know why but it immediately appealed to me and it brought back old memories from my childhood. I bought myself an analogue camera that same week. Since then a whole new world has opened for me.
What is your favorite thing about it?
I love the nostalgic feeling film can create and that I don't know what the picture is going to look like. The moment I take the negatives out of my development tank is the best moment for me. It's like I'm opening a new present every time.
What makes you stay with film photography?
The photos. I recently gave digital photography another shot but I keep coming back to film. I have tried many kinds of digital devices including a medium format digital device and still, it could not convince me. If I could get the same results digitally I might consider switching but I know that is never possible. So my only option is to shoot film.
How does it fit into your life and career as a creative?
It is not always easy because of my work and my family. Film photography takes a lot of time and especially because I develop and scan my film rolls myself. Fortunately, I have the best wife I could wish for. She supports my passion and makes sure that I can put in the time I need to express my creativity.
We love how mellow your captures look. The color and mood feel so inviting. How did you get to that level of consistency with your shots?
Thank you for the beautiful words. To be honest, I used to try all sorts of things to find my own style and never succeeded until I discovered film. With film, I felt I didn't need much to give it my own touch. Film gives me all the nostalgic feeling that I want to create. The only thing I want to add is the feeling I had when I made the picture. Here, especially the colors and softness are important to me. With colors and softness, I can recreate a feeling or mood that I had at that moment, almost like an old memory or dream.
My development process and scanning process are always the same, I try to keep them the same as much as possible. The conversion of the negatives I do with the help of Negative Lab Pro in Lightroom, here I always use the same settings and try to get some softness in the pictures. After converting, the only thing I change is the colors and sometimes the contrast in Lightroom itself.
We are intrigued by the scenes you capture. How do you choose your subjects and what goes in your mind while you frame your shots?
I love to shoot urban and those typical Belgian scenes. Most of the time I try to shoot in the early morning because I try to avoid other people when I’m shooting, I have been approached many times to ask what I am doing and many people just don't understand.
I used to think that I had to travel a lot to take beautiful pictures but I have learned that this is not true at all. I always thought this place was boring but I discovered that Belgium actually has a lot of beautiful authentic places and I try to shoot these places before some of them get destroyed or renovated. Using light and composition, I try to capture everyday objects beautifully or make them even more interesting. For me, the composition does not always have to be perfect. It’s more important for me that the photo radiates a certain nostalgic atmosphere. When I frame my shots I always try to avoid modern objects and people in the background. I love it when you can't tell what era a photo was taken in.
What do you wish to communicate with your photography?
I hope that with my photographs I can take people to another world. A world where it seems that people no longer exist. From this no man's land emerges a certain nostalgia—a feeling of peace.
What makes you want to create art?
I just want to take photos. I don’t know why. I feel better when I can create something.
What would you be doing if you weren't a photographer?
Honestly, I have no idea. Photography is the only creative thing I've ever done. Before I started photography I never did anything creative.
What is the most important thing to you when you take photographs?
To forget everything for a while and explore this little country with my cameras. This gives me so much peace and pleasure.
What does a perfect day look like for Moreno Sudaro?
Getting up early before the sun comes up and my kids are awake. I always try to leave early because then I can take pictures undisturbed. Before leaving I always drink espresso and choose the cameras I want to take with me and of course the rolls of film. After this, I leave by car in search of photo locations. Usually, I don't know in advance what I'm going to shoot, I just drive around until I find a location where I can take a walk and take some photos. After 3-4 hours I come home and I spend the rest of the day with my wife and kids. When the kids go to sleep I start developing my film. That’s it, I don’t need anything more. I wish every day could be like this.