Film Photography and Chemical Reactions: Interview with Mexican Photographer Rogelio Jiménez

Creativity knows no bounds, and in the case of film photographer Rogelio Jiménez (@RJ14), his passion for film has only amplified his appreciation for his chosen profession as a chemical engineer, and vice versa.

In this interview, we get to know more about the Mexican photographer's background. He also talks to us about the intersections between his profession and passion, and his cinematic photo which was chosen as one of the winners of the 2022 LomoMission: Just Like the Movies.

Credits: rj14

First off, can you tell us about yourself? How and when did you start shooting film, and why do you continue shooting on film now?

Well, I'm a beginner filmmaker. Recently I finished my studies in cinema at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), but I'm a Chemical Engineer, too. Now I work as a freelancer for a small company that I founded with my friends, La Sabandija, and sometimes I write for some internet media.

When I was an engineering student I used to study design at the same time, so I started to focus on photography for my love of cinema. In 2010, the digital cameras used to be really expensive for me, and I had already used movie cameras since I was a child, so I started to sell candy in school to buy my first professional film camera – a Canon EOS Rebel T2.

After that, I started to be addicted to film. I never stopped buying and using film (and a lot of cameras too). Now I'm developing film by myself, and scanning too. I continue shooting on film now because I love the process. I like the chemistry involved in it and I have many possibilities to create more than digital.

Credits: rj14

You mentioned that you're a chemical engineer right now. Do you think there's a relationship between you being into chemical engineering and also being a film photographer?

Definitely! My first career is chemical engineering. When I was studying that, I became good friends with a photography teacher of the design courses in the faculty, so after a couple of years he asked me to help him in class, because it was easier for me to explain the whole chemical process. That made my love for photography stronger.

Later, when I was finishing my first thesis project, I was studying the chemical kinetics of some developed process. But I couldn't finish it, for different reasons. Anyway, that made me more involved in the chemical process of constructing an image.

After that I was thinking I could never dedicate myself to cinema, or earn money from photography (actually it's really hard), so I focused on keeping my chemical studies. I took a Masters in Science at a research institute, so I could understand all the organometallic chemistry and catalysis better. That of course involved photography, so my passion was revived, and after finishing my masters, I decided turn back to film photography.

I'm still learning, but I feel more secure about myself and the tools that chemistry gifted me to understand the things that I really love better.

Credits: rj14

What do you like taking photos of and what's your film photography creative process like?

Everything. I love choosing the camera and lens, thinking about what kind of light I will have, choosing the film that I think is better for that light, and seeing the final results of a particular development to scan and digitalize in a darkroom. That takes time, so I really enjoy when some pictures create memories. I remember by the pictures. I don't know a better way to.

The experimental cameras increase my creativity all the time, I like to work with limitations, and Lomography is my favorite way to transform my reality. So it's hard to describe my creativity process, because it depends on my humor, feelings and of course the goal in that moment.

Credits: rj14

What's film photography in Mexico like right now? Is there a solid community that you hang out with?

I think that right now we are getting out of a dark era. Thanks to some distributors we can find a lot of films on the internet (like "filmin dreams"), and some physical places in Mexico City, Puebla or Monterrey, but even now it's quite expensive. Despite that, you can find a complete street on downtown Mexico City dedicated to photography and more than half is for film, so I think it's a good business again. Seeing all the stores selling film again fill me with joy.

Across the country you will find some groups of film photographers, but I think the community is in Mexico City and Moterrey. It's very solid, and for more than 15 years I've hung out with them. You just need to post something on Facebook and the people will arrive.

Credits: rj14

We noticed you've shot a few Lomography cameras. Which is your favorite?

I love the panoramic cameras, but my real love is the Lomo LC-Wide. I think it's the best camera ever made. Recently I bought the Lomo LC-A 120, and maybe it will be my favorite too.

I really love Lomography cameras because they give me another possibility to create, a limitation, and an invitation to have a close relationship with the camera, to control the image.

Credits: @rj14 II LomoMission: Just Like the Movies Winner

You're also one of the winners of the LomoMission: Just Like the Movies contest, congratulations! What was your reaction to winning, and can you tell us the story behind your winning photo?

I was really surprised and thankful, I actually used the prize code to buy my new LC-A 120.

That photo is one of my favorites ever. I was walking across the Chinatown in Dubai with one of my favorite people. I used to make street photography all the time, wherever I was, so when I saw the mister in front of me, I just followed the rule "don't think, just shoot"... and voila! I like to think this photo was the product of my state of mind in that moment; I was in love.

Credits: rj14

Lastly, do you have any plans or projects you'd like to share with us?

I really love Lomography and film photography, and I like to help to support this kind of life, and support myself too in this way. With La Sabandija, I started to film some camera reviews and film processes on YouTube and TikTok. Maybe you can pass by and check it out to tell me what you think!

We thank Mr. Jiménez for sharing his stories and images with us! To keep in touch, visit his LomoHome or follow him on Instagram.

written by sylvann on 2023-05-05 #people #places #mexico #lc-wide #rogelio-jimenez #lomomission-just-like-the-movies

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