Though she’s amassed an impressive professional client list as a freelance photographer, the work of Marielle Sales feels decidedly personal. Mostly using film, she captures everyday details with muted colours and serene compositions.
Though she’s based in Brooklyn and came up in New Jersey, Sales’ latest project is decidedly West Coast. On a recent trip to San Francisco, she turned her lens on the colourful architecture that populates the city. The result is a vivid and evocative collection of images, which makes perfect sense — as the admittedly introverted Sales tells us, photography is a way for her to express herself.
What inspired this particular project?
I recently went to San Francisco for a weekend, and I’ve always loved how colourful the homes are there. It’s usually grey and foggy in the Bay, so the pastel colours create a nice contrast. However, the day I walked around to take photos, it was unusually hot and sunny so I did a colour and light study in a residential neighbourhood. Each photo shows the different character of each home.
Are you purely a photographer or do you have other creative pursuits?
I’ve always been an “artsy” creative kid growing up. I’d spend hours on my school projects trying to make it “pretty.” I loved drawing and painting. I took fashion design classes in high school and was an advertising major in college, but I’ve always carried a camera. Now it’s my main tool, but my ideas aren’t limited to photography.
Why did you choose photography over other creative mediums?
Photography has been a hobby of mine since I was in middle school. I would take breaks from taking pictures, but would miss it if it’s too long. I’ve also been very lucky with photo opportunities along the way so I see it as a sign to keep shooting. Regardless of what my current situation is, I’ll still find time to shoot.
Also, as an introvert, photography has helped me break out of my shell. It has brought me to places and allowed me to meet people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I find photography to be the most coherent medium to express my thoughts and vision. As a visual person and sentimental person, it’s the best way for me to document personal experiences, memories, and growth in an authentic way. I like to look back at older photos and see how much I’ve grown personally and professionally.
What camera did you shoot on?
Canon 6D and a canon 50mm f/1.2
How does your gear help you be a better photographer?
I think that proper gear is important for certain situations, but you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of it. You may have the best gear in the world but if you don’t have the eye and understanding of light, it won’t matter what gear you’re using. As long as you have a solid lens and a body, you’re good to go. But it’s up to you to create the picture.
I think shooting mostly in film has helped me understand and discover my style, since film is so expensive and you only have x amount of photos per roll. It helped me train my eye to see light, compose a strong photo, and make images count (as opposed to just clicking on digital). I also love the aesthetic of film so much that sometimes I’ll just use a disposable in a worst-case scenario. It’s always a pleasant surprise getting back a roll.
If you could shoot any subject who would it be and why?
I would love to photograph Chaz Bundick aka Toro Y Moi and Tyler the Creator. They are both such raw artists and creative souls themselves. It would be an honour to capture them in my style and perspective.
If you could go anywhere to shoot where would it be and why?
I would love to go back to Japan and stay for a few months. I’d document my daily observations of being abroad.
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For more of Marielle’s work: