Meet Clotilde Testa, an English film photographer living in New York City.
Sam Milbrath: What is your favourite camera to shoot with? How come?
Clotilde Testa: My favourite camera to shoot with is my 1959 Lubitel 2. I love the quality and rawness that is obtained in each shot. Digital photography consists of point and shoot, observe and discard and so forth, film however engages thought. This is due to a limited number of shots and the restriction of seeing the outcome straight away. When faced with such restrictions, a photographer will not be as trigger-happy; instead he or she will have to engage in more thought and consideration. Using film allows us to appreciate photography, not only the outcome, but also the overall process of the unknown and build up excitement when receiving the developed roll of film. Film is a dying novelty since the inception of digital photography and the Apple products, which allow you to take beautiful photographs within seconds. Film photography is still however an excavated beauty that is admired by most.
SM: I couldn’t agree more. There isn’t anything more challenging, yet satisfying for an artist than having to wait to develop film. What three words best describes your style of photography?
Clo: Hmm. Composed, thought provoking and traditional.
SM: If you were to capture your ideal photograph, what would it look like?
Clo: Tricky question, I have many ideal photographs. Each day I think of different ideas for different photography projects. I think my ideal photo would be a cliché portrait of Clint Eastwood but in a fitting and aesthetic surrounding.
SM: Is there a particular photograph or collection of your own work that is a personal favourite of yours?
Clo: I guess my latest medium format work is my favourite as it is recent and fitting with my current affairs. This is my favourite out of the collection of work. Having just moved to the East Village in New York, I am still soaking up every little detail and the people that surround me. I have yet to take the beauty and the city for granted. The photograph above was taken of a wondering drifter by the name of Keith. I am happy with the composition and overall quality of the image.
I've included a few more that I particularly like from the collection of work.
SM: Have you had your work in any photography shows or been featured anywhere before?
Clo: I have been featured in Time Out New York both online and in the magazine.
SM: If you were to be curated into your personal ideal photography exhibition, which 5 other photographers would you want to be displayed with? Would there be a theme to the show?
Clo: Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, Robert Doisneau, Walker Evans, Don Hunstein.
SM: That would be quite the show! I can see their influence in your photography – you have a similar timelessness. What one question would you ask if you could interview a photographer that has greatly influenced your work?
Clo: I would want to ask a million and one questions, but if I had to ask one question I would ask, do you ever allow yourself to get lazy?
SM: I am sure they do. People tend to notice things more when they’re relaxed. That is the beauty of photography, isn’t it? If you could time travel to photograph any specific event, location, or era in history, where would you go and why? What kind of camera would you bring to shoot with?
Clo: There are three different times and locations I would love to shoot. A bohemian bar in the 1920s using a digital SLR. The London Blitz era with a Polaroid, and the Hippie decade of 1960 to 1970 in Woodstock, with a Medium Format camera, Rolleiflex.
SM: I’ll come with you on all occasions. Thank you for this interview Clotilde! Do you have any final advice for aspiring photographers?
Clo: I still consider myself an aspiring photographer; I am yet to label myself as a professional. Anything that inspires you whether it be people or objects or landscapes, shoot it. With film or digital. The only thing I will say is do not end there, from your inspirational photographs make a development, take them further; let them be the beginning of better and bigger ideas. Also, never allow yourself to get lazy, you must always carry a camera with you wherever you go, even to bed.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep your eyes open.