All it took was an adventurous weekend in Los Angeles for Bianca Lozano to fall in love with analog photography. A dreamy 48 hours, featuring a hike to the famous Griffith Observatory, a drive-through Thai town plus a surf in Malibu.
“The entire weekend, I obsessed over my partners Mamiya C220 and PentaxK1000. They were glued to my hip…I didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing or how I was meant to be doing it – but I didn’t care. I was hooked.”
Bianca has been shooting grain across the U.S ever since, and today handles cameras with great skill. Before falling for these instruments, she expressed herself through other artistic mediums including watercolour painting, publishing zines, co-directing plays and writing poetry. Right now – it’s all about photography.
For her, (like so many others) the art form is centred around memories.
“I want to remember things exactly as they were, if I didn’t document the moments that mattered I’d spend years reliving a false past.”
Studying Bianca’s shots, it appears her more recent past has been full of warm sunshine and wide-open spaces. Growing up in the suburbs of L.A, there were limited opportunities for her to soak up nature’s wonders. “I was raised around skyscrapers, obnoxious car horns and oil-infested oceans.” It was a voyage to Australia that first opened Bianca’s eyes to how vast and beautiful the earth truly is. “It blew my mind. There were lands and oceans to be explored, admired and respected.”
Although raised amongst high rises, some of Bianca’s most vivid childhood memories are those spent in nature. “I remember we’d spend summers in Texas. I recall sunshine beating down on me as I biked around town and swimming in a river while a euphoric sunset cut through the trees.”
Through her photography, Bianca recaptures her youthful exuberance for the great outdoors. From lush forests to the sweeping coastlines of Big Sur – this shooter celebrates these natural marvels with a trained eye. Warm and inviting light is her dearest friend, each frame dappled with the sun’s rays. Speaking of her affinity for our great star, she says:
“I remember thinking light made everything more romantic. Where there is light, there is nurture. I feel safe in light and sunshine. I like to think that the same comfort and warmth I feel shines through in my photos.”
Many of Bianca’s compositions are hyperreal. You can almost feel the heat radiating from car bonnets and the scent of pine trees in the breeze.
Bianca catches everything on a Canon AE-1 + 50mm lens loaded with Kodak Ultramax 400. Contrary to popular belief, this San Franciscan is of the opinion that Ultramax outshines Portra.“It’s cheaper and it has everything I want in a film stock – warm tones, high exposure latitude, strong saturation, decent contrast and noticeable grain. What more can a photographer ask for?”
When asked about her favourite memory with Canon in hand, Bianca dives into a tale from the road. A trip that took her across the Pacific Northwest of America from California to Oregon and to the tip of Washington State. “It was just my partner and I and the open road. On the second to last day, we stopped at the famous landmark Multnomah Falls. It was absolutely breathtaking. This particular photograph is my favourite I have ever taken.”
Scattered amongst Bianca’s scenic shots are self-portraits. This avenue of self-exploration has been what she describes as an “up and down relationship”. At first, she thought self-portraiture was far too preoccupied with vanity.
This all changed after Bianca stumbled across an article on photographer Nancy Floyd. Over the course of nearly 40 years, Floyd took anti-perfectionist self-portraits in a series coined Weathering Time, documenting change and growth in the life of a human being. “From here on out, I began to use self-portraits as a mode for emotional reflection. On days I felt especially loved, angry, happy, frustrated or hopeful I’d take a picture. I kept notes in a journal of how those days went, what I was feeling and compared them to how I looked in the pictures.” Through this process Bianca feels she has become more transparent with her feelings, experimenting with the idea of wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve.
Nowadays, Bianca calls the Mission District of San Fran home. In between brewing coffees for strangers, bike rides and baking sessions, she’s been cooking up plans for new photo series. “I’m currently working on a black and white zine called The Miles In Between. An accumulation of photos from my time on the road to and from Oregon with snippets of scribbled thoughts and prose. Another involves a day of portraits shot of loved ones in Redwood City.” Watch this space.
Feeling inspired by a recent shoot where she donned two close friends in ‘70s attire, she’s eager to capture more people looking to express themselves artistically through fashion. “The city was our backdrop, the boys were such pleasant models. It was a day of shenanigans.”
There’s something special about seeing a creator relish the fun of their craft.
One thing I love about Bianca is her thirst for photographic motivation. Known to her followers as bottlerocketbabe on IG (an obvious nod to Wes Anderson) she is constantly shouting out fellow film shooters across the globe. “If I had the capacity to list everyone I love and admire, it would simply take a lifetime”. That said, she’s been kind enough to feed us some who’ve really caught her gaze of late.
And, we certainly trust her eye.
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