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Eduardo Oropeza

Interview, 10/2023

Hi Eduardo, thank you for finding some time to make our interview. How are you doing lately? could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello, first of all thank you for having me! I’ve read your interviews and I’ve discovered some really inspiring work from photographers that I didn’t know about so I’m grateful for the opportunity.

My name is Eduardo, I’m 26 years old. I was born and raised in Puerto Vallarta which is a Mexican beach town situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas. This place has been a huge inspiration in my career; to be able to live by the sea and its spots where I’ve created some of my most memorable images. I’m a freelance photographer so I travel back and forth, especially to Mexico City, California and Chicago. I’m trying to stay busy lately cause sometimes I find myself having a lot of spare time between assignments which gives me space to work on my personal projects.

How did you discover photography?

My love affair with photography started in an early age on family trips where I was the one in charge of taking photos of my relatives, often with film cameras and since then I felt the responsibility to deliver decent looking pictures.

Then on my teens I met a girl around the time when the iPhones came out so I remember we were so into taking photos with all sorts of apps for the filters and whatnot, really just experimenting, eventually it turned into a more serious thing so one afternoon I picked up my dad‘s film camera which he used on his trips and we went out to take some photos, I remember we had a lot of fun in the process, then we took them to the only lab that was available in town. When the pictures came back we were surprised at how good the colors were on film, I mean… at least at the standards that I had at the time. Especially one photo really stood out, at some point she used it for a school project (I wish I still had the negative)

From then I started buying cameras from my savings, I got a video camera to record my friends skateboarding then I got a digital camera with a 50mm lens, then I got a fisheye so eventually I started getting more & more into it by the time I was 18 I got published in skate mags, articles on the web and such, got some good feedback from the work I was producing at the time and since then I never really turned the switch off.

Do you only shoot film? What are your thoughts about film photography in the digital world?

I’ve always been of the idea that whatever medium suits your workflow it’s the best. Whether it’s film, digital or a phone. As long as it gets the work done, especially during these days that film is becoming so expensive even I found myself coming back to digital for my personal work and being enjoying it even more so than before, though all of my work on instagram has been shot on film since 2019, I mainly use digital for commercial projects or editorial shootings.

Do you have a favorite camera and film stock?

I would say my favorite camera after trying many is the Nikon F2. I’ve taken that camera everywhere and it never failed on me. I’ve taken pictures in the snow, in the rain, during a sandstorm and I haven’t even taken it to service. It is still going. I feel it’s pretty reliable even though it’s bulky and kinda heavy, whenever I need to get the shots done that’s the one camera that I can count on.

As far as film goes, if I was able to pick two film stocks for the rest of my life they’d be Portra 800 and Ilford HP5 for black and white. As I stated before, film is becoming so overpriced that nowadays I would just use whatever I can get my hands on, recently I’ve been experimenting a lot with motion picture film such as Kodak Vision3 500t.

What does your typical day look like?

I don’t consider myself to be a very routinely type of person, each day for me it’s like a canvas that can be either full of brush strokes or empty blank space.

But here in my hometown I’d normally wake up and have some breakfast with my family then get on with my day, whether it’s to spend the whole evening editing photos/videos, writing or reading on my workstation, depending on how the day goes. I might go out, visit a beach to take some photos or hang out with friends, have dinner and sometimes I’d develop my own film at night.

When I’m in Mexico City it’s a whole different story, there my days are fully scheduled, certainly coffee in the mornings and drinks at night to cut the edge off the rush.
Either way I’m always trying to make the most out of my days.

Which are the moments throughout your life that have marked you (such as childhood, the place where you grew up…) to shape your style? or, on the contrary, has it been a very natural path that has led you to this point?

While I was studying visual arts in college there was a big pivotal moment in my career on a trip that I made to San Francisco. While I was there I got the opportunity to attend a Hasselblad workshop and to experiment with lighting equipment, medium format cameras and professional models. I remember I was the youngest in the room, I felt intimidated by the older folks, but they were all so nice and shared a lot of knowledge with me. That morning I learned more than what I’ve learnt in a whole year in college so when I got back home I quit school.

Also every trip that I’ve been to, every person that I’ve met, every experience positive or negative has shaped me to be where I am now and I’m grateful for that.

Could you take one of your photographs and tell us the story behind that?

This one photo that I’m sharing with you is one of the most rewarding ones personally, I remember that was a rather cold evening in Chicago so I was walking around, out of inspiration feeling so burnt-out, I couldn’t find anything to shoot so I just hopped on a train with the hope to get some shots out of it and then I stepped into this empty wagon so I sat across the unoccupied seats watching the windows overlooking the concrete canyons passing by, so I took like five or six shots and this one turned out to be just how I imagined it, the vantage point was perfectly aligned with the window everything was right on spot and I wasn’t even expecting it.

That day I understood what the French painter Henri Matisse’s famous quote meant: some days you just can’t wait for that bolt of inspiration to strike you, some days you just have to get out there, do the work and in the process something might come out of it.

Where do you get your inspiration from? is there any artist or photographer that particularly inspires you? which photographer would you like us to interview?

You’d be surprised (or not) to know that most of what I consider my best work it’s been anxiety-driven or coming out of strong emotions.
I really try to use feelings as a tool when I’m creating and I think that really reflects on my images, also some people in my life have inspired me to be a better version of myself. But of course cinema it’s a huge inspiration so is music, poetry and paintings. Whenever I get the opportunity to visit museums I try to absorb it all, I’d spend hours appreciating the work of the greatest minds.

It’d be nice if you could interview a female photographer named Pia Riverola (@piariverola). She shoots some very colorful and atmospheric scenes full of details, I just love her style and would like to know more about her creative process.

And finally, would you like to tell us about future projects or promote anything?

Currently I’m working on a photo book shot entirely on film, I want to release it sometime this year or next year. It really depends on a lot of factors certainly, but that’s one of my biggest personal projects that I’ve ever embraced.

Also I’m starting to get more into directing and cinematography so I’ve been working on some short films and experimenting with my Super 8 camera. Really just letting myself flow to wherever my work takes me to.

We’d love to bring you a miramono print version. It is not yet possible. Meanwhile...

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