A business analyst by day and photographer by night, Coeli Jimenez found a way to mix her technical skills with her artistic side. Based out of Manila, Coeli loves taking pictures with the Lomo’ Instant Automat and the Diana Instant Square of everything and anything that will make her day, as simple or as complex as it may be. But what makes her Instant shots even more special are the layouts she creates to photograph each of her pictures.
"I’m more inclined towards hobbies that require me to build and assemble stuff."
With each of her Instant shots, Coeli creates a world and a mood of its own, demonstrating that a photograph exists within and outside of its frame.
Hello Coeli! It's great to have you here at Lomography! First off, can you tell us how you got into photography?
My father introduced me to photography. It was more of his thing and he taught me the basics. I got into photography when I started traveling without my father because then, there won’t be anyone else to take pictures of the places I visited.
What do you like to shoot the most?
Anything that catches my eye! I don’t have a central theme to the pictures I take. I take pictures of flowers, clouds, colorful inanimate objects, and even storefronts. Recently though, since the pandemic started and we weren’t able to see my grandmother for 3 months, I brought a camera when we were finally able to visit her. I enjoy taking her pictures as much as she enjoys posing with her plants. She even has her own album now.
In such a digital age, why do you still shoot Instant shots?
Mostly because printed photos still have that feeling that you’re capturing a memory in physical form. There’s also that sense of wonderment and anticipation as to whether the shot comes out how you wanted it to. Every shot is also unique because there definitely aren’t any do-overs as opposed to digital photography.
How did you decide to take pictures of your instant shots that way. And for how long have you been doing that?
I got into instant photography in late 2018 with just one camera and it snowballed into a full-blown hobby. I started with a hybrid instant camera so I was able to practice taking pictures without actually having to print them, but of course, it kind of defeated the purpose of “instant photography” so I got into more manual instant cameras where I figured out my style – which is more or less: I see something nice, I take a picture.
How do you create your compositions? Does the background you choose depend on the picture or is it the other way around?
I base the background on the picture. I have a lot of card stock and designer papers so I just mix and match the colors in a way that will compliment the photo. The same goes for the objects that I use. I just go around our house and find items that I can use.
From the pictures you sent us do you have a favorite shot? Can you tell us the story behind it?
The trippy picture of the rainbow umbrella, definitely. I was at my grandmother’s and saw the umbrella so I propped it on the table and took a picture using the Diana Instant Square. When nothing came out of the film slot, I found that I wasn’t able to turn the camera on. After I did and I took another picture of the umbrella, it came out as a multiple exposure of the same object but more trippy. That’s when I found out that I can do multiple exposures without 1) using the mode on the camera and 2) without even turning the camera on.
How do the Lomo’ Instant Automat and the Diana Instant Square fit your style?
More than anything, I always love how the colors come out whenever I use the Automat and the Diana Instant Square. It gives off a more vintage feel compared to the other instant cameras that I have, which is something that I think instant photos should be more of. I especially enjoy the vignetting of the Diana because it just tends to highlight the subject of the picture more.
If you had to choose between both cameras, which would you choose?
I love them both, but if I had to choose one, it would be the Diana Instant Square. Aside from the vignetting of the photos and the larger format, the Diana is a lot more manually operated than the Automat. It encourages me to learn more about the different settings and how to be better at composing my shots. It also helps that the Diana is a very pretty camera!
Are those shots part of a bigger series you’re working on?
Not right now, no. I don’t have a big project or anything, unless it’s a project called “Things That Interest Me.” I just take pictures because I want a memory of it or because it’s something that warranted my attention at that time.
What tips can you give someone who just started shooting Instant shots?
Don’t be afraid to “waste” shots! A lot of people I talk to who own instant cameras only take pictures when they know 100% that they’ll get the perfect shot because they don’t want to waste film. I’ll admit that I had this mindset before which is why I started with the hybrid, but as I progressed into more manual cameras, “wasting” shots is the only way you’ll get better. Taking lots of pictures will let you see how the different settings of your camera affect each shot that you take. It will also help you discover your style, if you’re working towards that goal.
To check out more of Coeli's creations, head over to her Instagram.