Interview with JESSICA RAMOS, PORTUGAL
Film photography makes you think about every photo you are going to shoot.
I'm happy to have you here, Jessica. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into film photography.
Jessica: I started shooting film in my first year of college - 2014. My mother had a film camera, nothing special, a compact from the brand Fuji and when I was younger, about 8years old I stole her camera on my birthday and spent the whole film in a couple of minutes with a friend of mine because the camera it self was fully automatic, I just had to press the button. That was my first contact with analogic, but it was my boyfriend who got me into it.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Jessica: I mostly use Kodak double x , 200iso with 24exp. Just because it is the cheapest one and they make a discount if you buy 3 in a row, and because I only know how to develop b&w, those are the mainly reasons why I choose that particular film.
I have a collection of film cameras, so I'm always changing cameras, that way I have a variety of results, although the film is the same.
But I think my favorite is probably the Praktica mtl 5b its very intuitive to use, very sharp, and for when I'm in a hurry and need fast shots I like to use the Olympus mju for the quality, it never lets me down or the canon EOS 600 just because those two are point and shoot.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Jessica: I'm a big fan of grain. I love everything about it and film gives you that old vintage look that I love that digital doesn't. Film photography makes you think about every photo you are going to shoot.
It will make you wait for the perfect moment to shoot because you don't want to waste single photo, it will make you think 3 times about the composition before you press the button. It makes you look around more and discover. And the whole process of developing the film is amazing. Being able to do it and see your work come to life is really worth it.
For me the advantage of the digital is being able to see the result right away and repeat it if you don't like what you see.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Jessica: I trust the people I send my films to just because they do it way more and have more experience than me and I've had the opportunity to talk a lot with them and discuss lots of subjects that never led me into bad decisions. Although I've had some bad experiences with one shop a few years ago.
But I don't usually print my photographs, only in special occasions and for specific works, I usually only develop them and scan them into my computer.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Jessica: This is a really good question. Before I started shooting with film I bought the best cellphone that I thought it had the most quality camera, and I didn't rest until I had it. So I bought an iPhone and I would take pictures of literally everything.
Then my boyfriend bought me a Diana Mini because I simply thought it was cute, I didn't do any research which if it were today I would never do that, and taught me everything I needed to know and I loved it. In a way it made me feel like my mom because she always had lots of albums at home filled with photographs she took when she was younger.
And its funny because I went from an iPhone that I thought it was the best cellphone camera, very practical to use, always ready, to a Diana that you can't really know if you're focusing 100% right. It made my realize that the quality doesn't make the photo and made me have more patience and understand how photography works. That is not simply pressing a touch button.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Jessica: One photographer I really love is John Free, his photographies are simply amazing and beautiful. I aspire to be as great as he is. He has an eye for photography that blows my mind. His shots captivates me every time.
Do you see any value or merit shooting with film?
Jessica: Yes. I think it really depends on the person who's behind the camera, if they're doing it just for fun, if not. And the fact these are old cameras, for me, it adds a lot of value to it, because they can do so much and deliver such great photographs.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Jessica: So its been 3 years using film and I've developed an addictive obsession with buying film cameras with my boyfriend. We already have 18 of them, so I predict in the future we will have a room just for them. I'm being both funny and real here, haha!
Any dream film photography project in mind?
Jessica: I would like to travel around the world, get to know as many people as possible and know and photography the different types of conditions that we all live in. From humans to dogs, share every little piece of history. And to be surrounded by nature and photograph how beautiful the world can be. That's something I really want to do.
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?
Jessica: Start with something you feel comfortable with and make sure the film is really well fitted! I always think compacts are great for beginners because its very easy to handle it. And then as you are learning and searching buy something good. Don't buy it just because it is cheap. Save a little and buy something awesome, you won't regret. If it doesn't feel right don't buy it! Explore different scenarios to find yourself. Don't hesitate taking photographs, you will regret it. If you are unsure, understand why and then the decision is up to you. And talk and explore with other film photographers, learn from their experiences.
Anything you want to add?
Jessica: Right now I'm working on three different series of photography.
"Strangers"- which I've started 4 months ago and has two books. It is really about every single person I found interesting that cruised my path and somehow captivated me. Some of them are no longer strangers, because I got to meet them and know a little about them, but in the act of the photography, in that frozen time they were.
"School Diary" - which I've started early this month (November). And I really thought about it because it is my first and last year there, and I only know a few people so that was a way to get to know a few more and show and remember the environment.
"Neighbours" - which I started almost at the same time as the school diary actually. This one is a bit more personal as I talk with them and include some of the things we talked as I was taking the picture, more like "Humans of New York" but not that deep.
You can catch Jessica and her work on Instagram.
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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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