Table for One
Bikes leaning against a wall. Mirrors on a ceiling. Rail lines intersecting.
They may seem like the type of things you would pass by, but photographer Ysabel Cacho sees something more to it. “I like watching people and things interact with each other, and I’m particularly drawn how this happens organically,” she says.
A copywriter by trade, Ysabel has always been drawn to photography, mounting a solo show in 2018 featuring her travels around the world within a span of four years. For her latest exhibit entitled Table for One, Ysabel set aside her digital camera to make way for her Canon AE-1, a film camera, depending only on the rolls of film in her pocket, and on her eye to find beauty in the everyday and. “With digital, you have unlimited space to take all the shots you want, and can alter it later on,” she says of the difference between the two forms. “With film, you’re limited only to a certain number of frames. You have to stop and think about what you want to take, because you only have one shot or two to get it right.”
Upon turning 25, Ysabel made it her goal to take up a new skill, and to visit places she had never been to previously. She enrolled herself in classes at the International Center of Photography in New York City, and bought herself a film camera and plane tickets to Denmark and Switzerland. “When I first got my camera, I was intimidated,” she recalls. “I made every mistake possible, including exposing the film!”
By the time she got to Europe, she was much more comfortable and careful with every photo she took. “I always had a voice in my head, asking if I wanted to shoot a particular scene.” She chose Denmark and Switzerland because they offered a change of pace from her base in New York City. “In the quiet moments, I found little bits that inspired me. I didn’t set out to find the most photogenic scenes; I just showed up everywhere with mycamera.”
And in these day-to-day adventures, she found her subjects. Held in _Gallery at A-Space Greenbelt, Table for One showcased her photographs of simple moments in cafes, parks, and castles. “I’m naturally drawn to shapes and framing,” she says when asked about what draws her eye. “I also pay attention to lighting, because I always depend on natural light.” In the days leading up to a winter in Copenhagen and Lucerne, natural light was hard to come by, so Ysabel had only a few hours every day to get to know the city she was in, and capture standout moments.
“My Ride in Copenhagen” was taken while she was leaving the library, and features bikes leaning against a wall of giant windows, framed with dead vines. “Looking Up in Copenhagen” was also a chance-happening, as she found herself having lunch in a café riddled with knick knacks, and noticed the three mirrors on the ceiling. While leaving the transportation museum in Switzerland, she was intrigued by a lone bench overlooking the foggy lake, featured in “Bench in Lucerne.”
The title of her exhibit, Table for One, started out as a play on words to connote her solo travels. However, as she started preparing for her show, she realized that it was also a nod to her confidence as a photographer. “I feel like with my film camera, I became more of an independent thinker. So at first, the title was just a play on solo travel, but it also became about how I relied on myself to shoot what I saw.”
So what’s next for this up and coming name in the photography scene? “I feel like all my past exhibits have been about my travels to different places, but now, I want to bring it closer to home,” she says. “For my next project, I’d love to find a way to combine film photography with my writing, and with Manila.”
For more information about the artist and to view her portfolio, visit http://www.ysabelcacho.com.
My Ride in Copenhagen (Taken with a 35mm film camera)
Artist Ysabel Cacho in her exhibit
Looking Up in Copenhagen (Taken with a 35mm film camera)
MyRide in Copenhagen (Taken with a35mmfilm camera)