Graphic designer and music producer Albert R.M. (@halbert) is fairly new to photography, having started only a few months ago. His colorful captures of life in his hometown in Mallorca—the largest island in the Balearic Islands in Spain—reflect a laid-back, sunny lifestyle that we long for after a long period in lockdown. He admits, "I would say that I started to shoot photos in order to get out of my house, and it was very successful; not only because I keep doing it with nice results but more because was kinda healing in those shady Covid-19 times. Plus, the winter here is also a bit depressing, but fortunately, I found a cure for it."
Hi, Halbert. How did you get into film photography?
Due to the quarantine and its restrictions such as social distance, at least in Spain, many of us were at home all day on the verge of madness. One of my besties got into analogue photography, his love and passion for it instantly caught my interest. I am a big nerd for analogue gear and seemed the perfect time to start such a thing. I’d like to give shout-outs to Toni Christian for supporting and helping me on this and Jacobo Biarnés—photographer, lab guru, and owner of jacobobiarnesphotostudio.com (coming soon), one of the best labs to go nowadays. They sell Lomography stuff too!
Do you remember the first time you used a film camera? What was the experience like?
The first camera I used was was my dad’s camera, a Konica TC autoreflex when I was in high school. I remember it as something very exciting, I took a few rolls only. I remember not having any clue of what I was doing like the settings were like flying an aircraft, almost all the pictures out of focus. Being naive can be cool and fun in arts from a creative perspective, but they do require a minimum of technical knowledge, that’s why I am now into point-and-shoot only (laughs).
Why shoot film? What do you like about it?
Shooting film to me is better in many ways. Limitations in the art are good, because makes your brain work out more. Obviously having only 24 or 36 shots makes you appreciate what you're doing much more. In a way, at least for me, with the boom of digital and the cameras on our phones, the photo had lost some value. I believe it is a discourse that all of us at Lomography community already know or share.
Another thing I like is depending on third parties, as in my case (since I am not developing at home) going to a photo shop makes you more in touch with nerds like you, it's like in the old days, it's comparable to going to a vinyl record shop and talking to the shopkeeper about records vs mp3 music from a digital platform. Analogue establishes more human relationships.
As for the results, I think it's much more special and beautiful. The grain brings an artistic texture, the tones are nicer versus the super-defined photos that somehow our eye is already very used to, and this look does not bring us any emotional value. Plus, film photos just look awesome as raw as they come, so there is no need to spend more hours in front of software in order to make them look cool.
What do you look for when you’re taking a photo? Are there any particular places or subjects that you like to photograph?
A lot of them are occasional photos of normal things around us. I try to look for the soul in conventional, random scenes. I find it more fun to go out and improvise rather than to prepare a session or take studio photos. At least for the moment, I'm comfortable with this formula. Although I'm looking forward to trying new film and new techniques with more options with my new-old Olympus OM88 camera, which is a hybrid between SLR and point-and-shoot. With this premise in mind, I try to look for a nice composition that works, sometimes it's purely aesthetic, sometimes it has some emotional element that gives it subjective value even if it's not so nice in composition. If it catches my attention visually or emotionally, then I take the photo, I don't think about it too much. Being a graphic designer helped me to quickly catch those elements.
Most of the places are areas where I live: my neighborhood, the coast, my house or my family house. It's a challenge in a way because one is very used to one's environment, I will love to take photos when I travel from now on, for the moment I have to enjoy my spots. Regarding the subjects more of the same i.e. my flatmate, friends, family, and random people I don’t know from the street. I try to be honest with myself with not pretentious photos, I am just learning and having fun!
Your grandpa looks really dashing in your photographs! What’s his secret?
I'm so glad you think so! Not only in photographs, but he is also in excellent physical and mental health (now 96 y.o.). His secret is a quiet and healthy life, receiving lots of love from his family and drinking wine instead of water at meals.
Being the eldest brother of a large family he was assigned as Guardia Civil (like a port policeman) to this island. He is a very hard-working and family-oriented person and has always put the interests of his family and his late wife (my grandma) first and foremost. He cooks very well, and always surprises us with an unknown story. One of the most charming human beings I ever met.
What do you wish to express through your photographs?
Love, peace, and unity. (laughs)
Honestly, just something visually interesting, and a reminder of experiences. I hope you like them. 🙂