The last interview with the Snapshot Galleria founding photographers is with the one and only Erwin Recinos. As one of the hardest working photographers I know, Erwin’s impact on what Snapshot Galleria has become is immeasurable. This interview offers a little bit of insight into what motivates him to create.
Please tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Erwin Recinos and I’ve grown up in South East Los Angeles and Long Beach respectively. I create images with various cameras using film.
How did you get into photography? What made you want to be a photographer?
A friend of mine and photographer Leo Quijano II sparked my interest in graphic design back in 1999. At the time Leo was going to school at Otis Art College for photography and videography. Seeing what he was accomplishing eventually hooked me in. I attended a trade school that showed me the basic skills for graphic / web design.
Two years into this trade school i took an intro to photography course using black and white film. Aside from the basics of using a camera, I learned to develop and process my own film and prints. I was a lab rat after that class. Staying late nights in the darkroom while holding down a job and a child on the way to finish my schooling.
To be a photographer was not my intention. But I noticed my skills and interest where leaning more into film photography. With time I learned more on my own about photography and what can be accomplished with it. That knowledge solidified my choice.
Where did you grow up and how did that impact your creativity?
If you were two split me in half you would have two cities to talk about, South Gate and Long Beach. Two very different worlds back in the 90s. Especially for an Latino kid being raised primarily by a mother. The stories go beyond this interview.
As a kid I would walk the streets and take transit whenever I need to get somewhere. As an adult I interact photographically by taking transit and or walking for all my personal work. The one thing that has changed now is that I having a car. I can plant myself into any area of Los Angeles. Walk around and capture that time and place. Things I did not think of as a kid growing up in this city.
You are an EXTREMELY busy person, doing all of the work you do for L.A. Taco, running Snapshot Galleria with us, and still finding time for personal work. What motivates you to keep hustling?
Like the the old saying goes, “time is money.” The time I spend on creating content is an investment to my growth as a creative and a person. I’ve surrounded myself with people that are motivated and passionate about the work they produce. I try not to waste my time with would’ve, should’ve or could’ve. Being present and in the moment with photography is my agenda. Every photograph, especially on film, is the next step to building a body of work I can be proud of and objectively say I’m ready for more people to see it.
How do you feel about the current state of photography in Los Angeles? How do you see Snapshot Galleria fitting into that vision?
In 2006 I purchased my first digital camera. That’s was my step into the digital photography age we are in now. Close to 10 years later I am back on film. Using my iPhone more then my DSLR. I’m using film more now then I was in school. I answer more questions from people about how they can dive into film photography. Snapshot and our collective is in a great place.
From the beginning Snapshot was focused on showcasing photography in Los Angeles, either digital or film. As a collective we consciously keep up with one another’s work. We noticed our shift as creatives. From there is was a bold move to solely focus film photography. We want to bring something different to the table. With that mind set to talk about film with individuals that have embraced the craft.
What’s your favorite film/camera set up? Why?
Personal favorite was Rite Aid Brand Film 400 with a Canon Autoboy 2. That was my go to. The camera has a built in flash that can be used in any scenario. Perfect while roaming the streets for scenery. Even better in personal settings with folks at shows or events. Sadly I finally had to stop using this combo as my Autoboy finally gave up on me.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’m working on a few projects in the coming months. In November I will be vending at a zine event in Boyle Heights. Still working a few things and details for it will be published to social media soon. Applying for other zine events for the coming new year so keep an eye out.
Lastly, thanks to all the readers and supporters of Snapshot. You take the time to check out our content and contribute to our success just by reading and liking the content. Again, many thanks to you all.