In a city that never sleeps, film photographer Juan Marino (@JUANMARINOARG) has found the perfect moments to capture. What started out as a way for him to experiment with film photography during after-office hangouts by featuring neon lights prominent in Buenos Aires' streets in the nighttime, has also enabled him to share his love for film with people he's close to.
In our previous interview with Juan, we found out about his penchant for film soups and experimentation in general. In this interview we were introduced to another side of the Argentinian artist through portraits of friends he’s taken, and other projects he’s been up to involving friends and figures in Argentina's film community.
Can you tell us about your Friends at Night album? Was this an official shoot for you or were you really just hanging out with friends at night and decided to take photos?
At that time, I worked until late hours and the moments I had more time to take photos was when it got dark. In particular, the moment I found was when I left work and went with friends and co-workers after office. We left the office to drink and dance and I carried the camera. The night is full of neon signs and my friends were the subject so it was perfect.
I always take advantage of any opportunity to take photos and also since I arrived in Buenos Aires I was very interested in the color of the neon lights. Buenos Aires is a city that does not sleep and that makes it shine.
Obviously I did all this for myself, to experiment, to learn, but above all to share, not for money. The most beautiful thing about photography is sharing it and what better way to share what I love with people.
Then I started taking portraits of my friends every hour because the objective is to take more and more photos, it doesn't matter when or where. I think the project changed from “Friends at Night” to “Portraits of Friends.”
What was your theme and inspirations for the shoot and how did you choose which gear to take with you? (P.S. the whole album gave us Blade Runner vibes!)
I used a Nikon FM2 with a 50 mm 1.8 lens and Kodak Vision 3 500T. The 1.8 lens is great for night and the 50 mm focal distance is beautiful for portraits. The Blade Runner Look comes from the film roll and then I added saturation and contrast in post that really works with neon signs. You should check the “Invasion” Project that has more Blade Runner vibes. Invasion is part of a project called B shoot were I take photos while the commercials are being recorded. As you know I work in advertising so I found a great opportunity to shoot while I work.
I don't have only one setup. I have plenty of them. All my projects need different cameras or lenses. Tools always condition the result, and in every project I am looking at different things, so my setups can go from very simple to very complex. When I shoot natural light, I love using Mamiya RB67 with the 127 mm lens. I use it for portraits and other projects where I take landscapes.
When I am doing portrait shots with flash in my home studio, I prefer using a Nikon F100 with a 50 mm 1.8 lens with autofocus because that gives me speed, and I don't have to think in focusing.
During a recital I took pictures using a Nikon F100 with a 18-55 kit lens because that gives me much more freedom in only one lens. Also because I don't have a 24-70.
For parties and friends, I love using Reto 3D that gives a cool look and a Canon Sure shot A1 and I share it with them to take pictures. You can see this pictures on my website or my Instagram account.
For other projects I am working on right now I am using a Nikon FM2 with filters. “Nunca aprendí a pintar” and “Neon Speed”, for example.
You’re a pretty versatile film photographer, experimenting with different photography styles and techniques, and your film soup experiments are fascinating, too! What fuels your interest in experimenting through film photography?
I like to take pictures, period. It's not that I'm interested in a particular topic, but on the contrary. Photography helps me get interested in other subjects or I see it that way. Perhaps there are latent themes that I express my interest through photography.
It's as if the camera lens helped me see things differently and that's why I focus on different topics because I want to look at them differently and learn.
After all, from my point of view, every photograph is a portrait. I like to portray everything. Express my point of view. But above all I want myself to understand my own point of view, to discover it.
Do you have other projects, in or outside of photography, that you’re working on and want to tell us about?
I am always with many projects. In general, I don't like to count beforehand because in fact I end up shaping them by making them. My process has more to do with doing first and then conceptualizing.
In what remains of the year my intention is to publish more than to continue taking photos. Edit, print, exhibit, make fanzines. Everything that has to do with showing it and getting it off the screen. Make it real, each one in its own format. For example, “Broken” I think deserves a fanzine. “I never learned to paint” is a project that I recently exhibited in collaboration with Tokyo Photo Lab.
The second thing I'm doing is setting up my lab at home with my friend Shoao. We are already revealing color and black and white. Now my old man gave me a 35 and 120 enlarger that I am adapting. In Argentina it is a bit expensive to buy rolls so we are also winding rolls and we want to make a club between us and gradually add people. We are making the image and the idea is that the rolls have our label, just for fun.
We are not looking for an economic profit, rather, but to forge a community because we truly believe that you learn by sharing and there is a lot of talent and people from whom I want to learn.
And third is that I am doing several courses in an incredible place in Buenos Aires called Imagen Invertida. I learned Chlorotyping and Anthotyping, and this weekend I start on a Cyanotopia course. I feel that I am in a moment of experimenting and learning a lot.
I recently took a wet colloid class with Pablo Kolodny and I found it fascinating. A unique experience and I feel that it is a technique that I want to continue, but I’m already dealing with many things.
It is very important for personal growth to find motivation, and my head is thinking about what I can learn, what I can improve, what I want to tell. It helps me a lot to know that there are people to learn from and share. That's why when I find people like Nahuel who directs Imagen Invertida or Juli, Nacho, Pato, Manu who are part of Tokyo, I don't let them go, they are fuel. It is energy that flows. It is essential to surround yourself with people who want to do and share.