In Los Angeles there are many low-key photographers that are just in a niche all their own and Paul Carrillo is one of them. Paul’s visual perspective is unconventional and is worth checking out cause he’s outside the box. I was able to drop him a line and setup this interview and introduce the Snapshot readers to this visual creatives imagery.
Introduce yourself to the Snapshot readers.
My name is Paul Carrillo, I am a film photographer and zine maker from Los Angeles. Affiliations: Applesauce Industries Art Collective, Camera Creeps Camera Club.
What is your current film and camera combo?
Right now I am rotating between 3 cameras. SLR Yashica FX3 Super 2000, Olympus XA, and Olympus Stylus. All simple cameras, none of that fancy stuff.
Truthfully, I use a lot of cheap Fuji Superia 400. But if I am working on a project where I know quality matters I’ll go to Kodak TRI-X 400 or Ilford HP5 plus 400 for black and white and for color Kodak Portra 400.
Tell us about how your beginnings in photography. The how, when and why?
I guess you can say I got interested at a young age. My sister pulled out my dad’s old camera, which was a Yashica FX3, she began shooting and taking photography classes so she would use me in her projects and so on. When I got into Jr. High School I began skating and doing graffiti so I began by stealing disposables and shooting the stuff I was into. Soon after that the digital camera era took over so my career was short lived. Fast forward to 2011, I was gifted a film camera for Christmas, I was immediately hooked again. I began shooting regularly with my friends and then formed Camera Creeps Camera Club.
Digital is the avenue most photographers your age are going. So why the choice to shooting film?
I didn’t find it that appealing. I had a Canon Power Shot that I would use often but there wasn’t anything that I found satisfying about it. I chose film because I felt that I was putting in more effort into whatever I was shooting, it wasn’t snap snap snap as I would do with a digital. Another thing that made it engaging was the anticipation of waiting to see what I created, also the ritual of scanning my film.
You’ve been working on a series on IG, which correct if I’m wrong, is titled “Post Daily”. Can you give our readers some insight on this?
It was just and idea I came up with because Joe Goblyn and Desilu Munoz (of Applesauce IND) where talking shit. Long story short, they mentioned that I rarely post film photos on my personal Instagram and that I need to step it up on a personal level. My original idea was to post for 30 days straight, but I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback from my friends and film shooters from Instagram that I might keep going for a few extra days. This has definitely motivated me to keep it up.
How does being affiliated with camera club or collective influence your work?
I think it influences all of us to find our own identities as photographers. Also there is a unspoken competitive element to us, that’s what keeps us on our toes and striving advance our art. Honestly I don’t think I would be where I am at as a photographer if it wasn’t for my peers, they are the driving force behind everything I do.
How would you describe your photography work and style?
I’ve been called a “street photographer” but I don’t like that label or term. Personally I feel I am a documenter. I just like to shoot whatever I see or that might look interesting and conserve moments and time.
Do photographic or creative influences that might peek into your work?
Hmmm… I would say it’s more creative influences. Most of my friends are in different creative fields, just by hanging out and sharing ideas is what influences me to stay creative. I try not to absorb too much photography I always have the fear that I would subconsciously recreate someone’s work.
What’s you biggest challenge as a creative / photographer with so many photographers in a city like Los Angeles?
Everything. Hahaha. What it comes down to is challenging yourself to create something new and trying not to be repetitive. I love that Los Angeles is super diverse so the potential to create something new is always there, you just have to advance on your own account.
Explain your zine making process. What work or subject do you choose to create zines?
I have one ongoing project that I have been doing for a few years called Film Friday wich is just composed of the “best of” photographs that I have taken over the course of that year, mainly of my day to day shooting and travels. Sometimes ideas just emerge by looking through my film, I created a zine called Eyes Closed just because I had a lot of photos with people with their eyes closed. I just really liked the way their facial features would change just by having their eyes removed from the equation. For the most part I don’t really have a process, I shoot what I like and then an idea forms from that.
In your opinion, what makes a great zine?
I view a zine as a blank canvas, so that gives the person the ability to create literally anything they can imagine. Personally I am not a big fan of photography zines, yes I know I make them, but they can be kind of boring. I like the weird stuff, mixed media photoshop nonsense with bad sketches and magazine cut outs. Something that looks like it was made by a tweaker on his 6th day of a bender, I just like something that is going to stimulate me visually. Ultimately what makes a great zine is your taste in art and something that makes you say, “yeah I’ll pay $15 for that!”
Any special projects our events that our readers should be informed about that you are involved in?
My next event will be in New York with my art collective Applesauce Industries for the New York Art and Book Fair at MOMA PS1 in Queens. That runs from September 15th-18th, we will be out there selling zines and all the other stuff we make.
To keep up with this visual creative give Paul a follow on IG via @pablotastebudz.