Perhaps best known for his engaging YouTube content and Instagram channel, this week we talked to Ribsy about his film photography
SECTION 1 - BACKGROUND
Share your favourite image / print shot on ILFORD film and tell us what it means to you?
This is my favorite image shot on Ilford film (FP4). This shot was taken during a lovely Saturday afternoon on the South Bank in London, the week the final lockdown was eased. Immediately I think about the joy of walking around in the sun and doing photography with some friends. Additionally, I think this image showcases my personal growth with street photography. I have been practising a lot and finally feel like I am getting into a groove and developing a personal style.
Just in case anyone doesn’t know who you are or what you do can you give us the overview?
My (nick)name is Ribsy and I am photographer from New York City, currently living in London. In between doing mostly street photography and portraiture, I squeeze in time to create film photography content for YouTube and Instagram.
How and why did you get started shooting film?
I began shooting film out of curiosity. I somehow realized (very late) that I could adapt my long list of Canon EF lenses onto old-school Canon EF SLR cameras from the 90’s, and so I did! From there, it didn’t take long before I was diving in the various processes within the art of film photography.
Who has been your biggest photographic inspiration to date?
As weird as it sounds, I don’t have any single main photographic inspiration. However, I am definitely inspired and motivated by the modern culture of film photography. The community is vast and diverse, and seeing so many people create great art makes me want to do so as well.
What is the best piece of photography tip or advice you have ever received?
The best photography tip I have received is that the best camera is the one that you have on you in the specific moment. I truly believe that you can create great images with any camera, and I try to live by that ethos. Gear is cool, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
What film photography related projects are you currently working on (or are in the pipeline)?
I am currently not working towards single deliverable. However, I have been spending lots of time and effort networking with and photographing aspiring musical artists – specifically rappers, singers, and producers. Their hustle reminds me of my own. I focus on both photography and the darkroom because I enjoy each, regardless of any potential future success or recognition.
What / where is your next shoot and how do you decide what film / kit you will use?
My next shoot is in the streets of New York City – I have finally had the chance to return home for bit after a year away due to the pandemic. My focus is to do as much candid street photography as possible using my Canon 7 rangefinder, and a variety of black and white films. Believe it or not, I have only recently (in the last 6 months) begun shooting in black and white. I have very quickly grown to love this style of photography. Without doubt, my film roster for my time in NYC most definitely includes a few Ilford classics.
What are your photographic goals going forward? (Can be business or personal).
My goals are two-fold – 1) to make the most of my leisure time to actually do photography as much as possible; 2) to leverage my social media audience and personal brand to continue engaging with members of the film community across the globe!
Section 2 - Shout outs
We all need a bit of inspiration and love so this is your chance to tell the community about yours – from the film photographers whose work inspires you, the labs you trust with your film, your ‘go to’ film photography stockists, your favourite community darkrooms or just anyone in the community who you feel deserves a special mention.
Give a shout out to your 3 favourite film photographers (not photography hubs) currently active on IG or Twitter and briefly tell us why others should follow them.
Rennel Medrano. Her portraiture is second to none. Its modern, classic, clean, and authentic. Plus she photographs a lot of well-known artists. She is also a native new Yorker of Dominican descent, just like me. simply put, she’s paving the way
Emmanuel Porquin. His curiosity and energy shines via his creative and distinctive photographic looks. The energy cannot be denied. And yes, he is Dominican – American too, just like me
Christian Cross. He is a London based street photographer who is always out capturing great images. He has a fantastic eye and doesn’t shy away from any worthy scenes. No matter what is going on, he keeps shooting. His work ethic motivates me.
Give a shout out to your favourite photography YouTube channels (apart from the @ilfordphoto one).
Give a shout out to your favourite photographic retailers (name, location and website).
Shout out to Analogue Wonderland and Parallax Photographic. Both are UK based retailers and they always have the goods! Best of all, they engage the community very well and make sure to contribute in lots of different ways.
Give a shout out to your favourite lab service, if you have one, (name, location, website).
I almost always develop at home. So instead of giving a lab shout out, I want to generally shout out all of the companies making accessories and equipment for ‘home lab technicians’. Film holders, software, accessories, you name it … I am appreciative for all of it.
Section 3 - Favourite kit
What film cameras do you own and which is your favourite? (Please send us a picture of it if you can).
I own many cameras - Bronica ETRS, Canon 7, Rolleiflex 2.8, Crown Graphic 4x5, Pentax 6x7, and even a Dora Goodman 35mm 3d printed pinhole camera. My favorite right now is my trusty Canon 7 – it challenges me in all of right ways and I love it for that. Plus, it is a beauty.
Aside from your camera, lenses and film what accessories make it into your camera bag?
My Sekonic light meter is the most important accessory I own. I go nowhere without it. I have the Flashmate L-308x – it’s simple, small, and reliable. I also always have headphones. Great rap music is the soundtrack to my street photography.
What is the best piece of photography kit you have found or been gifted?
The best thing I have been gifted is the Rolleiflex 2.8A camera. A friend of mine who’s late mother was an avid photographer, chose to bestow me with one of her cameras. That camera is a jewel and it’s timeless. It has challenged me to become a more creative and adept photographer, while also serving as a beautiful showpiece that attracts lots of photographers on the streets. I talk to so many random people on the streets whenever I carry it around my neck. It truly hits the spot.
As this is an ILFORD interview it would be remiss of us not to ask about your favourite ILFORD products. Tell us you favourite ILFORD film, paper or chems and why?
My favorite Ilford product is the Multigrade RC Pearl paper. It is so easy to use and always delivers top notch results. I love how approachable it is. Because of its ease of use, so many new photographers are easily compelled to dive into darkroom printing. That product alone is keeping the culture alive.
Nominate one other person you think should fill in this form and we will reach out to them.
I nominate Roger Lowe from Shoot Film Like a Boss. He’s doing so much for the community and deserves a chat!
Images © Ribsy
About The Author
I am Eric Toribio and I am a London based photographer, originally from NYC. You may know me as Ribsy on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve become obsessed with film photography over the last couple of years and have tried to dive into as many processes and varieties as possible. I mostly enjoy street photography and portraiture, and of course, darkroom printing. Most days you can find me in home bathroom printing the night away.