Ed Medrano has always loved the tangibility of film photography. His love of street art and skateboarding has taken him from the streets of LA to the rooftops, camera in hand. The 22-year-old student’s life-long love of analog photographs seeps into everything he does, whether it’s architecture, street-wear or fashion. Medrano’s documentary-style shots capture the heart and soul of his varied subjects – disabled homeless people, skaters, vandals, artists. Now Medrano has finished photography school, it’s time to get out there and put his new-found knowledge to good use.
When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I remember receiving my first Polaroid instant camera (I-zone) at around 9-10 years old. I was fascinated with the idea of taking photographs and them being instant. Some would come out shitty and others with light leaks or just half images. I enjoyed those. At around 15 or 16 I started writing graffiti and skateboarding around the city. I got a digital camera but wasn’t feeling the results. At the time I began looking through Flickr and there would be some sick work – I would see these images with detail, color with great contrast, and they were always photographed on film, so I began shooting film, specifically to create images like those.
What is it you love about film photography?
Grain, colour, it’s tangible. With film, you don’t know what you’ve captured until you process it. The idea of going through a process to create an image brings meaning, at least to me. I also enjoy being in the darkroom, although I don’t have much time at the moment, I love printing my own work. It gives out a feeling of being alive and in the moment, also a nostalgic one.
What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I’m kind of all over the place. Graffiti and all kinds of street art, skateboarding, biking around, walking and exploring. I love being in the city on rooftops and the streets, I also enjoy design of all types: architecture, street wear, fashion, etc. I’ve been trying to connect all these subjects, hoping to create images that can consist of a bit of everything I enjoy seeing.
Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
Young people inspire me. Other people creating sick art to look at, painters designers, musicians, I also love music and it inspires me when I work. Photographers that inspire me: Daido Moriyama, Gregory Crewdson, Eugene Atget, William Klein, Lewis Baltz, Elliott Erwitt, Martha Cooper, Ryan Mcingley and Larry Clark. A bit of everything. I believe they’ve all shaped a part of my vision and how I create visuals.
What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I take all kind of odd photo jobs. Headshots, new born baby photos, corporate, I’ve also done some gallery work in L.A. Photography is all I think about, as a business and as an art form. I believe there’s a thin line but they both form how I create one another. Coming out of a photography school that’s commercially driven, I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of photography, the techniques, creative, and business side. Now I just need the time to get out there and put that knowledge to use.
How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
I’ve made a couple of small zines before but nothing fancy or published. I’m working on one that is titled 36 exposures. It will consist of B&W /Colour images taken using 35mm, photographed around LA in 2013. I’ll also be in a group show at the KGB gallery in a couple of months titled “The Greatest of Them All.” The editing process is bad for me – I’m indecisive.
Are your photos staged/posed or documentary?
Some images have concepts, others are created by the lifestyle that I’m living and the people I’m around. A documentation of people I admire for who they are. I also shoot stills and conceptual images that have a story line and conceptual idea behind. But I’m not quite sure those have developed yet how I really want them to.
Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
I shoot documentary-esque but I’m not afraid to ask for a certain “pose” or feel I’m going for. When I do pose people, I try to have it as natural as I possibly can. I shoot this way because I don’t believe in rules and being confined, I believe that as an artist I have the right to jump from one idea to another, journalistic or a compose shot.
If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
Not sure really, I’m still waiting camera in hand for that one….
Check out Eduardo’s Tumblr.