• UO Music: Shooting Shows with Instant Film

    “Just don’t be creepy." That's what music photographer Faith Silva’s advice is to anyone interested in doing what she does. But it's easier said than done. Capturing artists in their element can be a difficult thing—snap too soon and you might miss that perfect moment, wait too long and you might only catch the tail end. And anyway, as Faith explains, "it's about the music and respecting what the artist is presenting." As for her role? "I'm just around it all, documenting it the way that I see it," she says.  

    We asked the Los Angeles resident—who’s taken portraits of everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Hinds to Ryan Gosling—to snap a few photos using the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70, and share with us her tips and tricks for using instant film to make beautiful images from backstage and behind-the-scenes.
    Photos by Faith Silva

    Kendrick Lamar

    Tell us a little about how you got into film photography. 
    I’ve had a camera ever since I can remember. My sister and I would always play around with our Spice Girls Polaroid camera when we were kids, then I got my first point and shoot when I was 13-years-old. I shot a lot of film in high school and spent most of those years hiding out in the dark room, developing photos. 

    How did film become your preferred medium?
    I just really love the visual outcome of 35mm and Polaroid film, rather than digital images, which don’t have as much authenticity. I shot mostly 35mm until Chris Cantalini from [the music blog] Gorilla vs. Bear asked me to shoot for him. He sent me my first Polaroid camera, since obviously the Spice Girls one had unfortunately vanished at this point in my life. Now, I’ve just fallen into this unbreakable bond with taking Polaroids—it’s fun to have a physical library of photos to keep forever, and to share with friends and family. My kids will probably think I’m a huge nerd! 

    Ryn Weaver

    Who was your favorite artist to shoot to date?
    That’s a heavy question! I really favorite my Charli XCX shots because she’s just a perfect human being. I recently got a shot of Young Thug which made it so that I could probably just as happily end my career now. 

    Young Thug

    Do you typically approach artists before or after a set? 
    That’s always a hard thing for me, because I hate bothering people. I just take notice of when it looks like it may be a good time for them. Every artist is different—some prefer to be photographed before their set, and some after. I always go ahead and ask before their set, because it beats losing the photo opportunity if they don’t want to do it afterwards. 

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra

    Let's talk about some of your photos. Can you tell us the story behind each? 
    Sure. The first is of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who I met five or six years ago in Houston when they were opening for Portugal the Man. We hit it off immediately. We kept in touch and the next time they were in town, I was joking that I was going to hop in the van with them. The next day, there I was. I spent two weeks with them on their tour with Toro y Moi and Bass Drum of Death, from Texas to New York. 

    Charli XCX

    Flying Lotus, Ryan Gosling

    The FlyLo and RyGo photo was taken in Austin during Fun Fun Fun Fest at a night party. Flying Lotus was playing the festival and Ryan was everywhere that weekend because he was filming with Terrance Malick. He's one of the nicest dudes—both of them. 

    A-Trak

    Hailey Baldwin

    Mac DeMarco, Tyler the Creator

    Mac is a good homie of mine and I was with my uncle, Vic Wainstein, who records Tyler and all of the Odd Future guys. We were just kind of all in the same place at the same time at a festival last year, and I figured they would make a hell of a cute photo together. 

    Last thing! What advice would you give someone just starting out in music photography?
    Try something new, which is definitely easier said than done. It's nice to have your own style so when someone sees a photo you've taken, they can tell it's yours. 

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