Cheyne Gallarde's Good Manners

Written by Eric Jones

Aside from technical issues, what makes you reject a shot?

If it isn’t true to my vision and voice, I don’t share it with anyone. I do a similar filter technique when shopping for my personal wardrobe: If something won’t match my existing closet, I don’t buy it. Rare exceptions have been when I recognize a need for a new style/direction, I break out of my box and try something different.

Are you one of those guys that spots all the art direction mistakes in the movies?

Yes and it bothers me! Not only does the mistake bother me, but the fact that I can’t watch a movie without noticing it bothers me even more. Since stepping behind the lens, I can’t watch a movie the same way ever again. I notice lighting patterns and even anachronistic errors, which can get annoying.

You work outside a lot. Have you ever worked with large format in a studio?

No and I almost want to keep it that way. Almost. My work is inspired by more accessible film formats like Holgas and Lomos whereas Large-Format cameras are for commercial photography. I love the precise control that large formats offer, but adore the imperfections (light leaks, motion blur, scratches, etc.) often found in toy cameras and consumer-grade cameras.

Is play-acting part of your lifestyle, or do you save it for your images?

I act in local community theatre, so dressing up and playing a different character is definitely nothing new for me. Sometimes even I question the ensembles I put my outfits in. They are indeed brave souls for standing around in uncomfortable polyester shirts, tight-fitting bellbottoms or thick wool blazers in this warm Hawaii weather.

Do you have a secret ambition to make movies?

I would love to take Hollywood by storm, adding the additional texture of music and motion to my palette of tools. I’ve dabbled in filmmaking prior to doing photography. It was nothing like the work I produce now, but you could definitely see my fingerprints on it. It’s definitely more challenging to tell a story with a still photo, so that challenge keeps me motivated. The way I see it: If I can kickstart someone’s imagination with my photos, allowing them to form their own storylines, then in a sense I’m a cinematographer of sorts.

Kodachrome was discontinued last year, Polaroid is gone, and film in general won’t be around much longer. Since film characteristics nail the era, what will the future past look like?

With the planet and people’s wallets being taxed to the extreme nowadays, I predict more digital and eco-friendly technology to take the forefront. I think film’s value will only increase in the future, making it either be more expensive or more inexpensive to acquire. There will always be a place for film in our hearts, like 8-bit video games in a 3D Digital world, there will always be a home for it.

What other characteristics of the present day will future photographers find nostalgic?

If the future looks anything like Tron or other Utopian versions, I think architecture will become a form of nostalgia. We’re already seeing it: fire escapes are replaced by glass elevators, telephone booths removed indefinitely and marquees with hand-lettered signs replaced with LED scrolling equivalents.

Is nostalgia a dirty word?

It can be, depending on who you ask. Waxing nostalgic is definitely a subjective act, but I don’t think it is. However our memories manifest themselves is all acceptable. Personally, I find the term “vintage” to be a much more dirty word because it’s being thrown around without much thought. A photoshopped sepia photo is no more vintage than the deflated balloon from your last birthday party.

Contact Cheyne Gallarde at


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