Q&A with Gorilla vs. Bear Photographer Faith Silva


Despite the fact that original Polaroid film is no longer in production, instant photography is far from a forgotten art. In the past few months alone, we’ve paid homage to French photographer Guy Bourdin’s vintage fashion Polaroids, talked to Band of Outsiders founder Scott Sternberg about Polaroid’ing famous comediennes, and seen impeccable instant-film festival coverage by our friends at music blog Gorilla vs. Bear.

At the heart of the instant-film revival is The Impossible Project, an underdog team of photo enthusiasts and expert chemists who resurrected the last remaining Polaroid film factory in the Netherlands in 2008—thereby preventing more than 300,000,000 perfectly functioning Polaroid cameras from becoming obsolete and, in the words of their website, keeping “variety, tangibility and analog creativity” alive.

In addition to manufacturing instant film, The Impossible Project operates shop/gallery spaces in Vienna, Tokyo, and NYC. And although you might have missed the opening-night reception advertised in the flyer above, you can still catch Fresh Music on Instant Film—an exhibition by Gorilla vs. Bear photographers Chris Cantalini, David Bartholow and Faith Silva—at Impossible’s NYC gallery through November 17.

Read on for a Q&A with pro Polaroid’er Faith Silva, plus a close-up look at some of her favorite photos—and check back this weekend for Gorilla vs. Bear’s coverage of Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin.

Dum Dum Girls

MEN’S SHOP DAILY: How and why did you start working with Gorilla vs. Bear?
FAITH SILVA: I was chatting with Chris [Cantalini, GvB founder] over the internet about attending a music festival in Texas, and he asked me if I was interested in photographing the event for him. I was of course into the idea, and I just never stopped. The festival was actually Fun Fun Fun Fest, so this weekend will mark the beginning of my third year working with him.

I appreciate the blog [GvB] in the sense that it’s way more unique than the majority of other publications, which all have a heavy load of staff/freelancers that pitch in and cover mostly anything and everything unlike GvB, which has a way more sensible approach on what’s being posted and has always just been two dudes. Well, now three. I guess I just called myself a dude.

Flaming Lips | Neon Indian

When did you first start taking photos?
I’ve been taking photos since I was 13 years old, when I got my first camera.

What are some of your first and/or most memorable music experiences ever?
I got invited to Norway last year for Oya Festival, and that was super rad. Such a beautiful place. Also maybe that time GZA from Wu Tang grabbed my a–. As for my first memorable experience, I’ll leave you with this.

Jessie Ware

What is The Impossible Project?
Impossible Project is the company‪ that reinvented instant film after Polaroid tried to kill it.

What’s the story behind the current Impossible Project x Gorilla vs. Bear exhibit?
After so many of years of working with Impossible Project, we figured it was time to celebrate the big family we’ve all become, and display all the hard work to the public as well.

Smith Westerns | Twin Sister

What do you like about shooting on instant film?
It’s a lot more personable. People get a kick out of it, considering it’s a little more rare these days for someone to whip out a Polaroid camera. Digital is boring.

What are your goals with photography? What are some things you hope to convey to viewers?
I’m just currently having the time of my life doing what I love. I enjoy documenting my life and the things I see, in the way that people write their memories in their diary, or write songs, or write movies. It’s just something you enjoy doing out of love, rather than obligation.

Charli XCX

Who have been some of your favorite subjects to photograph and why?
I like taking photographs of people who like being photographed. It makes the situation a lot more easy-going. I just finished up a short tour with Mikky Ekko and Jessie Ware, and they are both some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, very down to earth and really easy to photograph. The majority of artists I’ve photographed, though, are generally very sweet. Charli XCX is also very fun to shoot; she’s the biggest doll. And Ejecta does all her promo nude, so nothing beats that.

What’s the deal with the Ryan Gosling photo?! [below left]
Terrence Malick was filming a movie at Fun Fun Fun Fest, which RyGo is starring in. I just kept running into him. He was very kind. By the end of the weekend, I was so embarrassed from seeing him so many times that I tried to hide, but he ended up coming up to me to say hey. I just about died.

Ryan Gosling | Toro y Moi

Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Fellow GvB photographer David Bartholow has been a huge inspiration. His work seems so effortless, yet is always so amazing. A few other photographers I’ve been following since they were like 16 are Tamara Lichtenstein, Bryant Eslava, and Lydo Elise Le. The first two are more fashion rather than music, but the photos they produce are just so delicate and beautiful. Lydo photographs just about everything from landscapes to music, and I’ve just always been a huge fan via Instagram. Also Pooneh Ghana—her stuff rules.

Gorilla vs. Bear photographer Faith Silva.
Photo by Phil V.

– Follow @FaithSilva on Instagram and Twitter.
– Revisit our Austin City Limits coverage by Gorilla vs. Bear.

…And check back this weekend for Gorilla vs. Bear’s
coverage from Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin

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