This week, as part of the POSITIVES 'N NEGATIVES series, Bianca Lozano (@bottlerocketbabe) shared two photos with me: the one of which she is most proud, and the one that caused her the biggest disappointment.
What are you the proudest of with this image?
“Typically, I have a difficult time shooting backlit photos, but by trial and error this photograph came out even better than I expected. I am drawn to the warm, vibrant tones and their contrasts, how the light hits the flower petals to offer a gentle glow, the composition of the bottle against the windowpane, and how the pinkish hue overtakes the image without feeling too saturated. The blurred setting as the backdrop against the flask works perfectly against each other. It gives me a Wes Anderson vibe, and this makes me proud because Anderson’s films are a huge influence of mine.”
How did you figure out the perfect lighting?
“I like experimenting with aperture for most of my photos. Especially when the focal point is one particular object or person, like how you see with the flowers in the flask above. I sometimes take the same photo twice, but change the aperture for both frames just to see the difference between the two. I mainly test different aperture settings while shooting a roll of film because I’ve learned it can change the interpretation of the picture all together, even if the shot remains the same with just tweaked settings. I took the photo above twice, but used different aperture settings in the hopes that at least one of the tested shots would teach me how to capture a backlit photo. This particular photo above is shot with a larger aperture, and I guess, honestly speaking, I figured out the perfect lighting by chance.”
What inspired you to take this photo?
“Creativity sparked out of nowhere on a lazy day. I love when that happens. I glanced around my room at all my trinkets, and my plants seemed brighter and the light was more vibrant than I recognized earlier that day. Everything suddenly felt alive. I grabbed my camera and made something out of nothing. I tossed wilted flowers from the living room in my flask and staged the surroundings and everything just seemed to fall into place. I had been wanting to make it a habit of creating something out of nothing-- not just focusing on the perfect place or the perfect time to snap a photo. It felt like I was accomplishing that when I responded to that spark of creativity.”
Advice for those at-home “making something out of nothing” shoots?
“Go with the flow and have fun with it. If something sparks your eye, don’t hesitate-- capture it. Make it work somehow, even if that means finding better lighting in different areas of the house, or using randomized items scattered around just for fun. Put on your favorite song, light some incense or a candle, move your body to let the creative juices flow. Find a rhythm that works for you and don’t break it!”
What were you trying to go for?
“I was trying to accentuate the composition of the architecture at this particular laundromat in San Francisco because the entire scene caught my eye while I was out and about. The sunlight was casting these intricate shadows from behind the trees and it left cool imprints on the building, which you can barely see in the photograph unfortunately. I find more passion and excitement in shooting warm tones, but when I noticed the composition and cool lighting at the laundromat, I wanted to experiment with something different. You win some you lose some! But, I’m still learning.”
What went wrong here?
“I underexposed this shot, no doubt about it. There was a lot going on in the background while I tried to take the photo. I was caught on the corner of a busy and intimidating intersection, with my bike falling underneath me. I noticed the laundromat and had a quick impulse to capture the setting, but was rushed in every direction. I wasn’t paying close attention to the settings on my camera, or even had enough time to adjust my camera’s features because of all the commotion. I blindly took the photo and this is the outcome. I have never been cool under pressure.”
What would you do differently or what did you learn?
“I learned that no matter what situation I find myself in, it is always important to breathe and focus on the details like composition, tones, contrasts, as well as the settings on my camera. I become easily overwhelmed when taking photographs sometimes because of the noise, the rush around me, etc. I pressure myself into thinking if I don’t stop and capture something in that exact moment it will pass, and the light, the feel, the overall spark of the moment will be gone. I’ve come to understand that shooting film should never, under any circumstance, be a rushed process. It’s taught me to take my time, breathe, relax, check and double check the settings, play with angles without worrying how you might look to those around you. That is to say not to be completely rigid, but put thought and intention into every frame.”
What is the one thing you still find beautiful or interesting about this image?
“I feel guilty to admit not many emotions arise while looking at this image, but I will say at least the color offers some cool, muted vibes. It’s a style of photography I have no experience in, but this image allows me to delve into those types of tones, which I appreciate.”
To see more of Bianca’s work, check her out on instagram @bottlerocketbabe
Author: Dana Gingras