Instant Love with Nicolás Athens

Instant Love with Nicolás Athens
27 years and in love with photography

Tell us about yourself.

I'm 27, I live in Santiago and I make my living as an advertising photographer and I also have an online store where I sell rolls of film, we reveal negative, we digitize films and other photographic accessories.

When and how did you discover instant film?

The truth is one thing led to another, when I started studying photography to manipulate movies in black and white and was working in the laboratory for two years with chemicals, etc. After the passing of years, when I was gaining more economic power and started my collection of analog cameras decided to buy a Fuji Instax 210 wide and I'm in love with her, albeit it's rather s toy as to the options that allow you to configure, but the results are very cute and I enjoy using it. It's a kind of challenge because it is so simple that you focus on other aspects of photography, such as composition, light or play with different angles, etc.

What type of instant film do you usually shoot and what made you choose it?

I usually shoot only Instax film, but lately they've given me a desire to buy a Polaroid back for my Mamiya RB67 Pro s medium format and start experimenting with Fuji FP-100C. For now I will continue shooting with my Fuji Instax 210 wide, but eventually I think it will be better after buying the back for my Mamiya medium format, I will give the absolute control obviously instax fuji does not give, just that it's a fun camera, very cool and fun to use so use. In fact I have thought about making a fashion editorial based on pure polaroids with instax :)

What camera(s) do you use?

It is a difficult question, I have a lot, hahaha, but it depends much on what I will actually photograph and I need to take it with me. It can be a 35mm camera very basic as my Minolta hi-matic f2 (it can be used for every day photos) because it is point and shoot, but with a very particular perspective: one 38mm f / 2.8 rather crisp little pancake type. The camera fits into any pocket of my bags, coats or jackets!

When I shoot erotica photography or naked, I mainly use my Nikon FM2 35mm with a 50mm f / 1.4. The optics allow more use because of it's versatility and openness. I have other lenses for that camera, but they occupy more in studio with my Nikon D700 digital. I use mainly the 70-210 f / 4 for works of beauty, close up or portraits. When I want an insane quality, I turn to medium format with my Mamiya RB67 PRO S, or my latest acquisition from ebay, a beautiful kiev 6c, the identical copy of the famous Pentacon six tl-mount, an option to obtain optical Carl Zeiss for a very good price. Everything depends on what you need at the moment, as I said from the beginning. If it's something casual, simply, I use 35mm. If I want to have fun possibly use my Fuji Instax 210 and I do not worry too much. It is my camera to relax and have fun. And if I want quality, sharpness and many details, I use one of my medium format cameras!

Between black and white and colour film which would you choose?

Black and white definitely won my heart, I use it mostly in 35mm or medium format film. I love using Kodak Tri-X or Tmax, Ilford emulsions. I like the color films but I think it has more meaning when we tell stories with them or in a fashion editorial or something where this takes more strength and can provide visual interest. When I want to emphasize any detail or subject always use 100% black and white especially in my most personal work like nude and boudoir.

Do you perform any experiments with the instant film? If you do, please share info on your little wonders.

The truth is not so much, only that I let some movies expire and keep trying to overexpose or underexpose in a few steps and see what comes out. Also, I usually give some tweaks or adjustments in lightroom, things that I believe can improve the final result, but always keeping analog aspect of my photos, so I only make very small adjustments!

If you had 1 instant film right now and 30 minutes to shoot it all, what would you shoot?

Hahaha, I guess a bit of everything, I will try to make a couple of pictures that I like, some naked, or photos with energy or movement, perhaps some landscapes and also some double exposures that are incredible with instant film, I'm imagining the situation and I think it would have to teleport myself, haha.

I would like to say that photography is such a strong need for me like the need of air to live. If I don't shoot for some days, I feel bad and sad, I feel that something is missing. I'm a kid way too passionate and always try to do my best. I would like to know people as passionate and dedicated. I also love analogue photography and the whole process involved, it is something hard to explain and only those who have practiced these experiences understand.

When I started with this whole adventure I never imagined I would end up dedicating myself to this, let alone in such a short time, my life changed drastically and love what it has become, in spite of sometimes being a stressful job. When you see the results and feel the desire that you put into each project, you see that really is worth all. I do not see myself doing anything but pictures for now, and that is what gives meaning to my life. I think a lot of what I photographed speaks a little more about who I really am. I hope sites like yours (there are other very good that I follow and inspire me a lot with works of other great photographers of medium format) continue to grow and keep alive the essence of the beginning, the analogy, simplicity and pureness that all the analog world has. I noticed it is becoming very strong among photographers, new talents and always the nostalgics about old things.

Nicolás Athens
Nicolás Athens
Nicolás Athens
Nicolás Athens
Nicolás Athens
Nicolás Athens

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