Spotlight: Isaiah Romero


Isaiah Romero, currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona, is a multi-media artist specializing in medium format film photography. His work explores the ideas of longing, melancholy, nostalgia, and humankind’s emotional connection to light. Through traditional analog printing process, Romero further examines our connection to the physical nature of photography in the digital age.

First, tell us a little about yourself. What is your background, how long have you been a photographer, and what type of photography do you specialize in?

Born in Colorado and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, I have been a full time photographer for just over 6 years. I specialize in analog documentary and portrait photography, focusing on commonplace American everyday life.

Why did you get into photography, and what inspires you?

I began shooting photos at 15 years old, which was the age I was given my first camera. At that time, shooting was just something I did casually; photos on vacation or documenting special family events, I would rarely use my camera for anything outside of this. It wasn’t until I was much older that I started to understand the idea of using photography as a medium of art.

I am inspired by the way light can influence human emotion; the way an amber glow of the morning embodies tranquility or how darkness conducts instant anxiety. Light is something that literally draws us to feel emotion. A vulnerability of embracing the light or darkness.

Can you give us some insight into your shooting techniques when shooting film? What are the top 3 most important elements when you shoot film?

In my opinion, patience is the most important element of shooting film. Film is unforgiving and restrictive. Unlike shooting digitally, you only have so many frames on a roll, so not fully thinking through all elements of the photo before shooting will often result in a wasted frame and an unhappy photographer. Slowing down and really thinking about the end result photo and what you need to do with the camera to make it happen is the key to making beautiful images.

Why do you shoot film? Any advice to others interested in working with film?

I shoot film because I want to feel connected to light. I believe that photography was meant to be experienced beyond a screen; Interacting with imagery has become so digital that many people seem to forget the beauty in printed images. The average person has thousands of images on their own personal electronic devices that could be lost forever in an instant. Film photography, to me, is about connecting to memory through the tangibility of light. Holding a Velvia slide in your hand is the closest thing you can feel to actual time travel; a moment in time suspended forever.

What are your biggest influences as a creative?

At our core we are all emotional beings. Our surrounding environments can effect our lives by how they make us feel and I find inspiration in that. I’m influenced, if you will, by influence.

Any recent photos, shoots, upcoming projects, or photography plans that you're excited about and would like to share with us?

I have a photo book releasing 2021 that I have been working on for just over a year that I’m super excited to share more about soon!

What’s your favorite photo or session you’ve ever taken on Fujifilm?

The first time I ever shot a “perfect roll” was on FUJICOLOR PRO 400H. I was out super early one morning and decided to do some shots of, and before, sunrise. Right after loading the roll into my camera, I came across one of my favorite scenes to date and shot a long exposure. I must’ve really lucked out that day because every spot I found was exactly what I was looking for. Beautifully lit scenes, incredible clouds during sunrise, everything was perfect and not a single shot on the roll went to waste.