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Mariah Peixoto uses film soup as a means to break our expectations about photography

Mariah Peixoto is a 23 years old photographer and student/researcher from São Paulo, Brazil.  Her photos are colorful and surreal and make the viewer feel a sense of joy when looking at them.  Following is her biography.

"I started taking photos in 2016 with my DSLR and, at the same year, I got a film camera from my dad, the same camera he used to take pictures of me when I was a baby! I bought some film and, to be honest, I was pretty disappointed with my results. At that time, I didn't want the camera to do the same things that my DSLR did - and with lower quality (my scans were pretty bad...) - so I started searching for things that I couldn't do with my digital stuff. After much research I found out about alternative processes through the internet and I was amazed by the idea of making film soups and double exposures, so I started doing those things as soon as I could! My first film experiment, a film soup, was made in November, 2016. Since then, I became in love with film photography and with the surreal effects that I could get from it!"

See more of Mariah's work on instagram at @mariahpeixoto and at her website at

1.  You use a lot of ingredients in your film soups.  Do you have an idea how the film will turn out when you mix these ingredients or is it a surprise?

Surprises are fun, but, to be honest, I am a little afraid of completely destroying my images, so normally I do some research before choosing my ingredients and deciding how much time my films will soak for. I look it up on the internet (Tumblr, Youtube, blogs about photography, Instagram…) and read some recipes so I can choose which one is a better fit to my ideas. Of course my results never look exactly like what I saw on the internet (and I usually adapt the recipes a bit), but I truly think it is awesome to have sites where you can read about alternative processes, it helps a lot!

2.  Your photos are full of color, much like your native country of Brazil.  Do you think your homeland influences your work?

Well, I live in São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, and, unfortunately, things aren’t as colourful around here as they are at some other places in my country… However, I think photographers are somehow influenced by the ambient where they are shooting.  For example, I can see a huuuge color difference between pictures I shot when I was near the Brazilian nature and other ones I did while in a big city, away from the green areas.  When I am near nature, as I was when I shot all the pictures that that you can see here, my work tends to be more colorful, and I usually prefer to do my film soups with pictures I shot at the beach, near forests, gardens and at places where the colors will be even more emphasized, creating something exaggerated. Also, I can say that the sun helps a lot! Days in Brazil are usually very sunny, even in my hometown, so the colors are very intense… It translates into the pictures, I guess.

3.  You like creating surreal effects.  What makes surrealism interesting to you?

For me, working with surreal effects is awesome because it breaks the expectations we normally have when we think about photography. As Sontag pointed out at her book “On Photography” (1977), for a long time pictures were seen as small representations of reality, something “reliable”. Although nowadays that vision about photography changed a lot, especially after the popularization Photoshop, I still see that many photographers try to “respect the reality” while doing their work, as if the “unreal” was something you could only see in paintings or other kind of arts. So, I can say that I enjoy breaking with it, especially exploring the surreal possibilities that the films provide to us! And, of course, escaping from reality feels really good and it’s also necessary sometimes! Hahaha!

4.  What film experiments would you like to try next?

I think the next one will be a film soup with wine or another drink with alcohol! I am also searching for film soups for black and white films… Also, I want to try some experiments with the Lomochrome Purple, that I bought recently, and with the Kolor, from Revolog!

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