Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Alondra García
Alondra García is a brilliant Mexican photographer born and based in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Her great passion is to convey the importance of human relationships through natural and intimate portraits using only analogue photographic methods. Puerto Fotográfico, being one of her most recent projects, portrays artists and creators from her city to preserve artisan photographic techniques.
♦ How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?
I’m Alondra García a professional film photographer who loves telling stories and express my ideas and emotions through my photographic work.
♦ What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?
I remember playing many games with my brother. Our parents used to buy us pretty much the same things (similar clothes, toys, books) to avoid any fight between me and my brother. We have countless photographs of our childhood and it’s really funny to see pictures when we were kids: him wearing a blue t-shirt and I wearing the shame t-shirt but in red.
I fondly remember those family trips as a child. My parents always had a camera with them and I also asked them for my own camera to take pictures of what I saw during the trips and the toys that accompanied me.
♦ Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?
My music teachers were definitely a great influence for me. I learned from them the discipline that is required to become a great musician. Be constant, practice over and over and above all, persevere in all aspects. Thanks to them in my adolescence I got to play the piano, guitar and violin quite decently.
When photography came into my life as that great revelation, I put aside musical instruments to make way for this great instrument that gives me life, my camera. However, I still implement in my photography the discipline that my teachers taught me.
My best friend Claudia was also a huge positive influence for me (although if you speak with my mother, she wouldn’t agree with that). Now jokes aside, Claudia taught me how to be completely free and express myself without fear. During my teens I was a very shy person and she was quite outgoing. Claudia helped me to be more sociable and helped me to make friends. She was also one of my first models when I was practicing portrait at university.
♦ How did you get in the world of analogue photography?
After graduating from high school, I decided to study a degree in Communication Sciences. Journalism and photography were undoubtedly the two things that most attracted me from that degree.
During my years at university, I focused all my time and energy on photography. I remember that at that time, back in 2006, I was one of the last generations who worked entirely in the darkroom (fortunately at that time film and developing chemicals were much more affordable than now). I even bought all the necessary equipment to set up a fairly decent darkroom since I wanted to develop the photographs I took in the studio.
With the advent of digital photography, I put analogue photography aside a bit to explore that digital world, but my photographic needs didn’t really fit. It is for this reason that I took up analogue photography back in 2010 and I have not left it since.
All my personal work is made entirely with film. My plan for this year is to also integrate it into my commercial work and offer photo shootings on film only.
♦How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?
Photography for me is an extension of myself, it is what I use mainly to express my ideas, thoughts and emotions.
What I enjoy doing the most are portraits and street photography. I like to focus my projects on a specific emotion and work on the entire aesthetic concept using the ideal camera and film that provides me with the right image.
♦ Are you working on any photographic project at the moment?
On December 30, 2020 I presented the Final Virtual Exhibition of my project Puerto Fotográfico. This project is consisted of portraits made only with film of artists and creators from my city (Tampico, Mexico) throughout all of 2020 year. This project was supported by a grant from the Program of Multilingual and Community Cultural Actions (PACMYC) 2019, in Mexico with the purpose of rescuing artisan photographic techniques, from taking photographs, developing and enlarging in the darkroom.
For this 2021 I am thinking of a project inspired by the Pablo Neruda’s book “20 love poems and a desperate song”.
♦ Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?
I have two projects that are temporarily on hold: one of them, called “2” is a portrait series about showing different relationships between 2 people (couples, friends, mother and daughter, workmates…etc). The second project is a reinterpretation of the most emblematic landscapes of my city Tampico Tamaulipas.
♦ Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?
I love Nikon cameras in 35mm format. The camera I use the most is the Nikon F100 as it is a very versatile camera and I have a lot of lenses that I can use with it. When I work with medium format I use the Mamiyaflex C2 since its aperture helps me to take closer portraits. I also have a predilection for using medium format with the Olympus Pen FT camera as you can create very interesting diptychs.
♦ Who are your biggest influences?
The photographers that inspire me the most are: Graciela Iturbide, Yolanda Andrade, Patricia Aridjis, Blanca Charolet, Ricardo Trabulsi, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Henry Cartier Bresson, and Richard Avedon.
I am inspired by romantic music, which speaks of love, bohemianism, Mexican classics … as well as the love poems of the great classics of literature. The novels of Fernando Gaitán, and of course the magical realism of Juan Rulfo and Gabriel García Márquez. And above all I love the cinema, of all kinds I love to watch movies and enjoy the exquisite work in color and lighting.
♦ What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?
Buy lots of film and keep it in the fridge !! That it will soon cost more and you can always use it even when it is expired. Buy a lot and of all formats. No kidding, be patient and don’t despair that the best is coming!.
Find more about Alondra Garcia’s Work👇
Puerto Fotográfico Project: https://www.facebook.com/Puerto-Fotogr%C3%A1fico-Tam-103710847793430
Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@alogvalverde