EP. 7 - Women in Film Photography: 7 Questions with Nibera
Known as @nibera_35mm on Instagram, Bernanda is based in Slovenia and currently focuses her work on landscapes, exposing environmental concerns through film. Anyone who has seen her work on Instagram cannot deny her raw talent and beautiful warm tones in her photographs. Below is the inside scoop into her process, her journey and Bernanda Conic as a woman in film photography.
Introduce yourself. How old are you? Where are you currently based? How did you start your film photography journey?
My birth name is Bernarda but the name I am mostly using now is Nibera. I’m 29 years old, born and raised in Ljubljana, Slovenia where I am still stuck today. I started my film photography journey at the age of 14 when I started attending a high school for design and photography in Ljubljana. I was in a photography program where the first 2 years were dedicated to analog photography. I shot, developed and processed my first film at the age of 14. We spent a lot of time in the darkroom for the first 2 years of highschool. I want to say that it was awesome but I kind of hated it at the time because I was 14 and I just wanted to party. Today I am very grateful for all the knowledge that I received at the time. I think that we were the last generation that were learning about film photography. I know that at this very same school the photography program is now based on digital photography only.
Your work has a certain warm quality to it and it seems you're inspired by landscapes and the outdoors. Is this true? What is it that you love to photograph the most and why?
I am very much inspired by mother nature and I currently enjoy photographing landscapes the most. I’m using film photography as a tool to capture moments, tell stories and bring awareness. I like to reflect on environmental concerns and address humankind’s relationship with the natural world through my work.
My favourite question to ask women in film is what is your favourite film camera to use? What film do you like to play around with the most?
My favourite film camera at the moment is Yashica FX-3. I have quite a big collection of film cameras and my preferences change a lot. I switch my cameras quite often. At this moment I really like to shoot with Kodak Ultramax 400. I also love to shoot with Kodak Gold 200, Pro Image 100 and Portra 400.
What is your opinion on editing/ adding filters to film photographs? Do you edit your film photographs?
When photography is not used as a documentation tool then it’s an art form. Common to all art forms is that the artist is free to express him/herself in any possible way. The same is with film photography. It's just a medium through which an artist can express. An artist can do whatever he/she wants with his/hers photographs. The photographs are his/hers intellectual property. I do a lot of different things to my photographs. Sometimes I boil the film, sometimes I soak it in strange fluids, sometimes I cut the photographs, sometimes I do a color correction and sometimes I do nothing. It really depends on the photograph. I also scan films at home. And when home-scanning you have to do A LOT of color correction to get to the point where a photograph looks at least something like that scene you photographed. And If I go back in time and remember the darkroom days. When making prints from a negative you have to ‘’play’’ a lot with light settings, contrasts and colors on the enlarger. So back then, photographers were definitely editing their photographs but not in the same way we do today. Editing is present in the photography industry from the very start. It was just a lot harder and the process was a lot slower than it is today.
If you had to send one message to the female film photographers just starting out, what would it be?
This one is hard because there are both pros and cons in film photography. But this is not specific to any gender, it's just general to film photography. There is only one message I could give. If you love it, do it! But be aware that films, developing and scanning are expensive. The only cheap thing is the camera itself. You can probably get a film camera for free from your grandparents or at a flea market. But the films are quite costly. Try different cameras and maybe start with a compact point and shoot to learn composition first. Shift to the manual camera when ready and learn about the aperture and depth of field, speed and motion, lighting conditions and film sensitivity...
Any cool upcoming projects we should be made aware of?
Right now I’m working on a planner/photo book for 2022. It will be like a photo book but with useful calendar pages, day planning pages, travel planner, project planner and more. Every month will have it’s own photograph dedicated to it. The book will not only be beautiful but also useful for any ‘’business’’ woman. I think that film photographs belong in a physical world more than a digital world so a photo book is a great way to materialize film photographs.