Lia Candelario on Embracing Vulnerability in her Mixed Media Art

Lia Candelario is a digital creator weaving analogue photography with handwritten thoughts and poetic musings. She pulls from a large archive of many a spontaneous moment knowing just which words to overlay to create meaningful pieces that people aren't always able to find the words for.

© Lia Candelario

Hi, please start by telling us a bit about yourself and what you do.

My name is Lia and I reside in the Philippines. I’m currently working as a virtual assistant specializing in Social Media Management. Apart from the digital world, I enjoy painting/sketching and being a cat mom to Orion! When I don’t work on my traditional art, I mostly spend my time making mixed media animations, portraits, and other experimental art.

How did you get started with analogue photography?

I remember starting with film photography early in 2006 with the assistance of my father who had a film camera he used to document family events. I had completely forgotten about my undeveloped rolls taken with that camera, and when I returned to analogue photography of my own accord 12 years later, I finally had those first rolls developed and fell in love! I purchased myself a Lomography Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera and color negative 400 films and shot things that I wanted to keep memories of. Eventually, I transitioned to an SLR camera and explored other film stocks.

© Lia Candelario

You also shoot with the LomoApparat. How is it? Do you have any pointers for someone using it for the first time?

The first thing I would advise anyone when shooting with the LomoApparat is to have fun with it! Be they a beginner or a pro, it’s a camera meant for spontaneous moments and “I-didn’t-plan-this” shots. Make use of the color gels and every single feature! The possibilities are endless with the LomoApparat! Also, this one’s important: bring it with you everywhere you go. You never know what interesting thing you will want captured with your lightweight camera.

What do you like about analogue photography? Is it difficult sticking with it in this economy?

I love the tangibility of film photography. I know a lot of people have already said this, but the time it takes to “create” a photo instead of “taking” it is incredibly liberating to me, and so very personal. There’s a certain kind of joy that film photography brings even when you don’t get the shots you expected. They may turn out wonky, discolored, with light leaks, but you remember how you felt and what you saw when you took your photos.

In the current economy I do find it hard to sustain this hobby. I’ve resorted to shooting less C41 film and bulk loading with b&w reels of 35 mm film. That way I can still shoot film while sticking to my budget!

© Lia Candelario

In a time when vulnerability is starting to become more accepted, not only in the creative sphere, but as a necessary part of healing, your work offers an important space for people. Why do you think your work resonates with so many people?

I started incorporating my handwritten poetry and prose on my photographs in the beginning of 2020 when COVID just started. Personally, I felt a little lost during that time - I was a restaurant manager and the hospitality industry in my area shut down at the time. I felt so many things and found that photography and art was the outlet for me. I realized then that what I was making was somewhat important to strangers on the internet as my photographs got recognized (drawing inspiration from Geloy Concepcion and artists alike) because I was writing and creating things that people usually aren't able to find the words for, or maybe don’t have people to confide in about. I liked that idea, that I could be their distant, passive, supportive friend.

What heartfelt sharings I’ve seen on your Instagram! I would imagine, an artist that has such an open dialogue with their audience experiences something quite different to artists who mainly receive feedback from art circles or a certain group. Can you say a thing or two about your experience?

It’s always a mix! Since my general online audience are people on the internet who like or randomly see my work, I get messages and comments about their personal experiences that are similar to my writing. Some responses I get are of the “I don’t believe that” kind, or “I don’t think this is what everyone experiences” or “I don’t relate”. And I’m all for it!

Even through social media, I learn about people’s stories and experiences through what I create. And I enjoy the open mindedness of strangers, being able to talk about why they agree or why they don’t. My favorite experience is when a post travels to far places, and everyone supports each other in the comments section. It’s like a big group hug!

© Lia Candelario

What is your process when creating your mixed media work?

I don’t usually think too much about the photos I take before snapping them. I keep an archive of all the photos I take and save the most personal ones for myself. I also journal daily, and take snippets of my journal entries, then eventually overlay my handwriting onto the photo that fits the words. Sometimes when I have burnout, I browse through some books I’ve annotated and share some words from authors that I love reading from! Either way my goal for every single thing I post is to connect with people from around the world, letting go of the fear of vulnerability. I have this thing that I advocate for: positive vulnerability and healthy communication.

What is one thing you have been dying to explore further? What is your dream project?

I’ve been meaning to explore underwater photography since I live just about 1.5 hours from the beach. I also want to learn more about street photography! My dream project is to form a cohesive body of work revolving around surviving grief. I would love to reach out to people and hear their stories, create something meaningful and beautiful with them, and share them with the world. I think that these trying times hinder people from opening up and feeling their feelings. I want to do something about that.

© Lia Candelario

What new projects are in the works and what’s on your mind?

For future projects to be released, I’m exploring making passion projects with video! I’m currently not working on anything and focusing on my freelance work for fellow artists, but I’m brainstorming daily for the aforementioned and upcoming one! Being an independent artist takes a lot of courage when it comes to executing big projects. Planning for a lot now, and I’m excited!

Where can we find your work?

I’m on Instagram and Facebook! Both with the handles of @kosmiklia. I also create graphic design pieces centered on auras and affirmations on Instagram @newwavecatharsis.

© Lia Candelario

Anything else you would like to add?

Since most of my work revolves around positive vulnerability and healthy communication, I hope everyone who reads this is doing okay. Take pictures! Make art! Do things you enjoy! And keep going. All love!

Thank you to Lia for sharing her work with us! Be sure to keep up with her art on her Instagram.

written by soundfoodaround on 2023-05-11 #gear #culture #people #philippines #lomoapparat #apac

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Meet the LomoApparat, the totally EXPERIMENTAL, incredibly WIDE and super EASY TO USE 35 mm film camera with a 21 mm wide-angle lens!

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