Interview with BLAKE SHEARRER, USA
Every roll is like a surprise. When I finally see it, its like a little Christmas present.
Ladies and gentlemen, my last interview for this year. Hi, Blake! Glad you made it here. Please tell us who you are and how you got yourself shooting with film.
Blake: My name is Blake Shearrer, i’m 26 years old, born and raised in Tulsa Oklahoma. I started getting interested in photography when i landed a job that involved traveling for months at a time. I wanted to show my prospective of all these places most people don’t get to see or take for granted. I started with digital, had no real understanding on photography at the time. It didn’t take long before i became my biggest critic and just wasn’t happy with my results. Some time goes by and i began to gravitate towards street photography. Any free time i got i would find myself roaming around major cities with a camera. I began to notice, like a lot of digital shooters i would just take shots constantly without putting real thought into the composure. I would have 200 images to go through and save maybe 10 on a good day. I decided i needed to slow way down and forget about instant gratification. Which film forces you to do. So i made the switch to 100% analog. Sold all my Canon bodies and lenses and began to amass a very large analog collection the more i got into it.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Blake: I shoot about 30% 35mm and 70% 120mm. I have 3 main cameras that i tend to rotate between depending on how much and what type of film i have in stock at the time. A Canon F1 35mm, Mamiya C3 TLR 6x6, and a Pentax 6x7. They are all tanks but serve different purposes. I can be pretty sneaky with the Mamiya because a lot of people don’t realize its a camera and it has a very quiet shutter. The Pentax is a monster with a shutter that sounds like a cap gun going off, but it has a beautiful lens system.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Blake: Soul. It is kind of magic in a way the chemicals capture things. Its more physical. And shows more depth in my opinion.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Blake: I do my own prints. I have a local lab that I would trust to do my own but I enjoy the process as a whole. From an unexposed negative to the final print. I can either rent time in the lab to do wet prints or i have my own scanner at home and a large format Epson printer for inkjet prints.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Blake: Every roll is like a surprise. Sometimes a roll goes months without being processed and when i finally see it its like a little Christmas present. I have learned that a lot of great things can take more time than you may anticipate but its worth it to work that much harder at it in the end.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Blake: Vivian Maier, Ansel Adams, Bill Cunningham.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Blake: It teaches you to know photography inside and out by force. If you don’t understand things like the exposure triangle its easy to blow through a whole roll and not get a single image out of if. I feel like the final images deserve a bit more respect because a film shooter has to see the final image in their mind before they take the shot. We can’t look on the back of our screen after every shot and check the exposure/framing etc.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Blake: I'm still young. I'm not in it to make money. If anything comes with it so be it, as long as it doesn’t kill my passion for it.
What’s your dream photography project?
Blake: I have a bit of a fascination with abandoned buildings and history. It has always been on my bucket list to visit Pripyat, home to Chernobyl.
Would you like to offer some good words to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?
Blake: Start with 35mm. It is much cheaper then larger formats if you mess up. Learn your basic triangle of exposure and just have fun with it. If you don’t have fun you won’t push to go out and do it.
Anything more to add?
Blake: I am currently working on printing and framing a collection for a future exhibit. As far as when or where that is still up in the air.
To see more of Blake's stunning work, get in touch with him on Instagram and Facebook.
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Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at email@example.com with the subject, "Interview me", and share your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.
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