MODA Blog

Get to Know the Photographer: Aisha Rubió

Get to Know the Photographer: Aisha Rubió

My name is Aisha and I’m a first year originally from Barcelona, having spent the last five years living in London. I plan on pursuing an Econ major and potentially exploring the Urban and Environmental Studies field. You can usually find me at the gym or immersed in some sort of content-creating endeavor–mostly filmmaking, photography and travel journals as well as contributing as a writer and photographer for MODA on campus!


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Why (and when) did you become interested in photography?

Over the years, I’ve become more and more aware of how ephemeral moments are. I discovered that photography serves as the perfect gateway to congeal these moments and create a sense of timelessness.

Ever since cameras became readily available, my family has been capturing memories for generations. In our households, you’ll find shelves upon shelves of albums, packed with moments that were shot to last into the years.

My grandfather was an avid photographer himself; in fact, he carefully took care of all of his cameras until my grandmother eventually passed them on to me. I believe this is also the reason why I prefer shooting film rather than digital; it seems to be an old-school family tradition! But most importantly, having a limited number of exposures makes you pause for a second and soak in the beauty of a moment before deciding to immortalize it.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’ve often been told that I have an eye for detail. Who knows, perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me. What most inspires me is probably the Sun and how it subtly works its way into different settings. I realize that this sounds extremely obtuse, so I should probably elaborate a little bit more... By ‘Sun’ I mean natural light, and how it sheds an air of beauty into practically any subject. My favorite example is an average city alley, and how the afternoon rays piercing through the side streets or buildings suddenly make it seem so dream-like. If you’re ever walking down from North or Ratner on your right, just before the Book Store (where the UPS trucks sometimes park) and are lucky enough to catch the sunset spilling through the alley, you’ll definitely understand what I mean!

In terms of other creatives in the field, I look up to Dennis Stock (in particular his 1950s rolls of James Dean), Robert Capa (a war photographer whose shots of the Spanish Civil War are very close to my heart) and Sebastião Salgado when it comes to all-time idols. Younger photographers whom I also admire are Cole Sprouse (@colesprouse) and Damon Baker (@damon_baker) for their take on tones and contrast. You should definitely have a look at their works if you have a minute!

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Which cameras do you like to use?

On a day by day basis I always have my phone on me, so if anything catches my eye I will often use it to snap a shot. However, if I’m travelling or going urban exploring, I’ll take my grandfather’s 1981 Canon AE-1 Program and shoot 35mm rolls, alternating between B&W for portraits and colour for landscapes. I’d love to learn how to develop my own film this year! Every now and then I like to take advantage of living at the core of modernization and use my DSLR – Canon 100D – to experiment and get creative, especially with Lightroom during the post-production process.

What do you like to photograph?

Mostly people, be they family, friends or complete strangers going about their lives. There’s something about human emotion and movement that never fails to amaze me. I’ve also been very lucky to travel all around the world, which allows me to capture all sorts of cultural diversity, architecture and landscapes. I would really like shooting in deserts and underwater when I get the chance.

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Do you have a favorite shoot you've done?

I’ve done a couple of shoots mainly with close friends and family, exploring the different features of each type of camera and I love to play with location and angles. My favourites are from Botswana (wildlife) and some B&W rolls that I shot of my grandmother on a sunny Spring afternoon. Both of these were just so raw and organic. I felt like they really embodied what drew me to photography in the first place.

How do you see photography working into your life here in Chicago and in the future?

Moving to a new city is definitely going to bring out my love for shooting in urban settings and capturing diversity. I look forward to exploring different neighborhoods and learning from other photographers on campus!


All images courtesy of Aisha Rubió.

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