Ariela is a photographer based in the unceded land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations (also known as Vancouver, BC, Canada). She was born and raised in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
She has an affinity for tinkering with things, mostly because of her genuine curiosity about how things work. She grew up with a notoriety for being a chemist-in-the-making, as her mother would always catch her red-handed flushing shampoo and toilet cleaner down the drain.
Many years later, she goes on to pursue a variety of things (yes, Chemistry being one of them) but her first love has always been the camera. From taking secret selfies with her parents' point-and-shoot as a little girl, to saving up for her first Lomo-style camera in college, Ariela always had a deep and profound love for cameras. And for her, film photography is where science and art intersect in the most perfect way.
Ariela has been photographing for as long as she can remember. Even back in high school, she wore a camera around her neck almost everyday. But it wasn't until 2019 when she got her first film SLR that she started taking pictures more regularly. When the pandemic happened, photography embedded itself into her daily life. Without any formal training, she delved deep into the world of analogue photography: she has since acquired a collection of small, medium, and large format cameras and has put together a make-shift photo lab at home. And for several years now, her vegetable crisper has always been packed full with film.
After working in food safety and building a successful food business in Vancouver, she is currently working on personal projects and letting photography fill her day-to-day. Ariela is also a proud member of the Vancouver Street Photography Collective.
As digital cameras become more and more sophisticated, my photography is still heavily based on the tradition of film. Like a painter, it is my medium of choice because I am able to create the images that I want to. Soft and nuanced, almost like watching a lucid dream or peering into someone's memory.
Film photography requires a lot of time and attention to detail, but most importantly, intention: why would I choose one camera or emulsion over another? How should I meter this scene? Which developer should I use to bring the image to life? With being able to take full control of the process from composing the image in the camera, to the development and digitization of the negative, I am able to transform a tangible (and supposedly fixed) object into its final form. Every step of the process is a choice. And every iteration of the scanned negative is unique.
The pictures that I take are of people and places as they are, in some hope of capturing them in their natural state. As the artist, I get to write the story around that moment in time. I do not subscribe to one form of photography, but street (candid) photography has really given my work its shape and form.
More often than not, I am a stranger to those I photograph. But something in my perception of the world drew me to think, "There is something about this moment that I want to permanently fix." Every stolen moment is a decision. Most times, it comes from wonder and awe of beauty, but sometimes, it also comes from grief and sadness from something that was lost.
- Casual Photophile: Five Female Photographers to Follow in February 2021
- Jamie Maldonado: Women With Film - Film Photography recommendations for Instagram ft. Girlwithtoomanycameras
- Stir Magazine: 3 artists on works at BIPOC Foods Van's online holiday market
- Photography Chat with Merlin DB, S02 EP23
- All Through A Lens, Episode 69
- Sunny 16 Podcast, Episode 320
- Northern Film Collective Vol. 1
- VanSPC Photo Zine 3
- VanSPC Photo Zine 4
- VanSPC Photo Zine 5
- There is nothing remarkable about this place, self-published
Exhibits / On Display
- C41 Film Photo Contest, "Community" March 2021
- C41 Film Photo Contest, "Music & Dance" November 2021
- VanSPC, "Streets, Seen" December 2021
- VanSPC, "Follow the Rabbit" April 2022
- VanSPC x 560 Gallery, "Capture, Print, Frame" June 2022
- C41 Film Photo Contest, "Experimental" July 2022
- VanSPC, "Collective Encounters" September 2022
- 24 Hr Project 2022, digital art exhibition, Goethe Art Institute Hong Kong December 2022
- Blackbox Gallery, "Taking Pictures" April 2023
- Glasgow Gallery of Photography, "Story / Reportage" May 2023