As winter fades away and the days grow longer, I’ve found a renewed resolve to get out and shoot film again. I haven’t really stopped shooting film, but it has been put on the back burner since being home from Japan.
I have wanted to start a series focusing on film photography, since that is what initially motivated me to begin blogging in the first place. I will kick it off with my own words. The series will continue with other film photographers I have met along the way, as I have stumbled through this adventure of shooting on film. So, without further ado:
When/why did you start shooting film? What was your first film camera?
Not including the many disposable cameras I went through as a kid, I first started shooting on film in college. I was in film school (as in making movies, not film photography), but I always had a love for still photography. There was a black and white 35mm photography class that I snuck into one year, and I fell in love. My first film camera was my parents old Canon AE-1, and I still shoot on it occasionally.
What camera(s)/film do you shoot with today?
It’s been a long process honing in on a camera that works for me for shooting film, but my main go-to film camera right now is a Pentax 645N. I also have a Hasselblad 500 CM in the quiver that I keep meaning to break out (this weekend!!!). As for film, I am still trying out different brands and speeds, but lately I have been having fun with Kodak Ektar.
What are your favorite subjects to shoot?
I love shooting nature, but primarily people in nature. I love capturing the way people look as they experience the world. I also feel like I suck at landscape photography. But when you throw a human in the shot, it gives my photos more focus and meaning. So I suppose its a sort of a landscape-portrait hybrid-style photography that really makes me excited to shoot.
Why shoot film?
I’ve asked myself this question many many times, especially after receiving a mediocre batch of scans from the film lab. BUT it is a process. I think I ultimately turned to film because I was becoming discouraged with digital photography. I wasn’t feeling inspired to shoot, and didn’t feel like anything I shot was worth sharing. Film was initially a way for me to regain some confidence in my photography. It was like I was saying, “Hey! I’m not claiming to be an amazing photographer, but this was shot on film! Cool, huh?” I still hesitate to call myself a ‘photographer’ and feel more like an enthusiastic hobbyist. But film has taken my ambition to a new level. It helps me really see through the lens, and be conscious about every single time I decide click the button. On top of that, I truly believe there is a depth to film that has yet to be duplicated by digital. And even if/when digital can truly replicate film photography, I don’t think film will ever die. The raw, physical nature of shooting on film is something that I hope can never be replaced.
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