Real-time "point and shoot" photographs and anecdotal information from the travels and experiences of rEy Shaun Madolora - Photographer, Traveler, Bicycle Enthusiast, Yogi, Musician, Foodie, Patron of the Arts, and Entrepreneur...
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1) Who are your favorite photographers and inspirations?
Galen Rowell and Yann Arthus-Bertrand are two of my favorite photographers and both had a huge influence on my work. Rowell shot 35mm which is my favorite medium. I have always loved Ansel Adams’ work, but have never shot large-format like Arthus-Bertrand and Adams.
Johnathan Behr is my mentor and had a huge influence on my work and my techniques having taught me almost everything I know. His landscape photography is amazing and 35mm has always been his preferred medium.
2) Why do you shoot with film?
I shoot with 35mm because that is what I know well and what I have grown to love over the years. I usually liken the preference to that of a DJ who still spins vinyl. Vinyl isn’t better than a CD or digital file and you could argue that it isn’t as good, but some DJ’s still prefer the sound and feel of the wax, vinyl, and records. That is how 35mm and film is for me. I love my old equipment and lenses and I love the process that film requires. I like the way film looks. I like the techniques I get to use when shooting film. I like the imperfections and the anticipation of developing my slides. There is nothing like scattering a new batch of slides across the light-board to see what came out.
3) What do you shoot with?
I shoot with a 1978 Canon A-1 and usually carry a 20mm FD wide-angle lens, a 24mm FD lens, and a 70-210 FD zoom lens. Sometimes I also carry a 50mm FD macro lens but not often because I try to limit the weight that I carry. I almost always use a polarizing filter and use red-filters when shooting black-and-white.
I primarily use Kodak Ektachrome VS as my color film but I also like Fuji Provia. I use AGFA Scala for black-and-white film.
In my view the camera body hardly matters, but the lenses are key and the film is probably the most important.
The camera used to belong to my step-father, Donald Krisanits who was an avid photographer and also had a big influence on my interest in photography as a kid.
I also carry around an iPhone and love taking photos via Instagram. I also carry a small Canon Powershot camera because it is easy to fit in my pocket and great for quick shots and for short videos.
4) Why is your work “fine art”?
My photographs fall into the genre of “fine art photography” because the images are created in accordance with my creative vision as an artist as opposed to commercial photography or photojournalism. No one is telling me what to photograph or how to photograph it and the sole purpose of the photograph is “art”. Many of the photographs took significant planning to compose.
The printing and display of the images is also tightly controlled as I only exhibit photographs that are giclee prints on metallic paper.
5) Why are your photographs so colorful?
There are several reasons my “color” work is so saturated. One reason is because of the type of film I use. The “VS” in Kodak’s Ektachrome stands for “vivid saturation” and is a film that greatly enhances the color of the shot.
Another reason is because I am “pushing” the photograph to further saturate the image into the film. When I take a photograph I intentionally “under-expose” the image and then when I process the film I “over-develop” the film to make up for the under-exposure which results in increased contrast and color saturation.
Lastly the use of a “circular polarizer” also works to enhance color saturation and contrast by reducing the reflection of light on object or landscape being photographed. This often makes the sky or water more blue! An interesting thing about circular polarizing filters is that these are the lenses used in 3D glasses at the movies!
I do very little post-production work on my 35mm photographs. Sometimes I will scan the image and do some digital alteration like the image below:
6) Did you study photography?
Yes and no. Yes, because I have been interested in photography since I was a young child. National Geographic has long been my favorite publication due to the photographs. My step-father was an avid photographer and had a dark-room in the house, so I learned how to develop film and print when I was very young. Back then I thought it was magic. I have several family members that are professional photographers so I was lucky to have them around growing up as my photography mentors and I guess I got to study directly under them in many ways over the years. I worked in my uncle’s photo lab in Arlington, TX during my summer and winter vacations during college. I have also worked as a photo assistant many times in the past and still do some PA work on commercial shoots.
No, I do not have a degree in photography and was only able to take a few courses on the topic as an undergraduate. I did not attend art school.
7) What is your day job?
It depends. Sometimes it is as a photographer. Other times I work using my accounting and finance degrees doing various forms of process and technology consulting. Having the business background has helped me fund a lot of the travels that have produced the body of work that I exhibit.
Having a business background has often raised harsh criticisms from my artist community and being an artist has always raised harsh criticisms from my business partners (although my clients usually think its cool). This is something I have always struggled with over the years.
8) Where have you been and where are you currently traveling?
The “red” pins are where I have been and gotten to do photography projects. The “green” pins are where I’ll be going.
I’m currently in Asia with trips to the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and India planned.
Please contact me if you have advice on what to see or do in these places or if you are also traveling there, so we can try to meet up!
9) What are you?
This might sound like a funny question but I actually get it quite often. I am 1/2 Filipino and 1/2 American. My dad is Filipino and is “Ilocano” and my mom is what I usually refer to as a “California Girl” which is where she grew up and where my parents met. My mom is actually Irish (explains her strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes) and Native American. I’m the result of their union.
10) What is your favorite place?
This is a tough question, but I think my two favorite cities in the world that I have visited thus far are Paris and Buenos Aires. I also love tropical places so the Perhentian Islands of Malaysia are also close to topping the list.
11) What is the difference between your website and your travel blog?
The website exhibits my 35mm fine art photographs. There is a lag between my travels and getting photos up to this website due to the film development process and the scanning involved.
The travel blog is updated perpetually with “point-and-shoot” photographs usually taken with my iPhone and Instagram. It is also where I share travel stories, photos of food, and info on my other interests like bicycling and yoga. I can update the travel blog on the go from my phone or iPad which is awesome while traveling!