Interview with MARGOT DUMAS, FRANCE
Film has taught me patience and also to not give up.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have you here, Margot. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into film photography.
Margot: My name is Margot, I am 25, I was born and raised in France and now live in Sydney, Australia. I have always loved taking photos, even when I was a kid. But it’s always been on digital. It’s funny because I know a lot of photographers that used to shoot on film years and years ago but they all switched to digital. I did the opposite.
In April 2020, Australia went into quarantine due to Covid-19. My partner and I lost our jobs and
had to relocate to Wollongong. We moved into a country house with a bunch of friends and we
had plenty of time to just do the things we never had time to do before. It was the most creative
time of my life.
I decided to use that time to focus on photography which had always simply been a side hobby
before. The problem I had was my camera (a Nikon D5100). It was very limited and did not give
me the results expected. So in April 2020 I went on marketplace to search for a new camera and
ended up finding a gem: a Nikon F2, that would be my first film camera.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Margot: As much as I love black and white photos, I always use color films. I have a thing for colors, they hold a very important place in my work. I mainly use Portra, for those natural skin colors.
Depending on the light I’ll use the 120, 400 or 800. I also like to use Kodak Gold 200. But I want to
try more films, I am sure there’s some amazing ones out there that I would also love ! I only use my one and only film camera, a Nikon F2, but I use three types of lenses, a 35mm (the
one I always have with me), a 50mm and a 105mm.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Margot: Film and digital are so different, in so many ways. What I love about film, is that everything is slow, precise, thought about. When taking a picture, you don’t just shoot, you take some time to adjust everything, and every parameter is important. A film photography is personal, it’s real and unique.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Margot: I do not develop my film myself yet. I want to learn, obviously, so that I can make my pictures even more personal in unique. For now I give my rolls to a shop in Newtown, Sydney Super 8, the guys there are amazing, they always have the best advices and their work is so quick and professional.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Margot: Film has taught me patience and also to not give up. I’ve ruined a few rolls since I started but it’s part of the learning process. Film photography is full of surprises (some mistakes can turn
out beautiful or super ugly, you never know what it’s gonna be like). What motivates me to
continue is the excitement and the surprise. I love the feeling of dropping a film and the
satisfaction of finally getting my pictures developed.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Margot: Definitely, I have always been in love with Maud Chalard & Théo Gosselin’s work. They are
probably the reason why I was so tempted to try film photography. They are just so real, so
authentic. They inspire freedom, love, and so much more. I think that’s what I want to achieve
with my photos, make people feel something, travel somewhere, just like Maud and Théo transport me with their photos.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Margot: I think digital has just as much merit as film. It is just a very different approach. There’s some amazing digital photographers out there whose work is absolutely magical. One digital
photographer I have been following lately is Domenico Falso (Nicholas.fols on instagram).
Man, his style is so unique and his creativity has no limits!
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Margot: That’s a hard one. I don’t know... My plan is just to keep doing what I love, continue shooting on film forever, hahah! I think I am too addicted to film to ever stop anyway. It helps me express myself.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Margot: Any dream, I don’t know. I have a few projects, that’s for sure. I want to travel, maybe go back to my roots, to Europe, take some photos there. I also want to do more artistic nudes, maybe in the wild, including animals. That would be fantastic. And I really want continue with my series « Time machine ». I have done a 1940s inspired photoshoot and a 1970s one, maybe the one next will be a 1920s shoot?
Most photographers around the world are finding ways to keep themselves busy during this lockdown, and coming up with activities to make self-isolation a bit more interesting. What are your ways to keep busy while you have to stay at home?
Margot: I am very lucky that I don’t have to stay at home anymore but when I had to I would
read a lot, research new ideas, create mood boards, get in touch with other creatives
and practice photography (mainly on my friends and partner).
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?
Margot: What I did before I got my Nikon F2 was researching what camera to buy. There’s a lot out there! It really depends on what you want to achieve. I mainly chose Nikon because I had a few lenses already that I could use on a film camera.
Once I chose and found the camera, I simply bought it. Which was stupid, I could have bought a
camera which did not work but I was lucky. (don't do like me, make sure that the camera you're
buying works!!!). And I after that I basically learned how to use my camera watching YouTube
videos and experimenting.
A few advices:
Make sure your roll is set properly (you could end up with a blank roll)
Always rewind your film before opening the camera
Don’t re-wind your film anti-clockwise (yep I’ve done that too)
And most importantly, don’t stress too much, every mistake teaches you something !
Anything you want to add? Future exhibits, projects you're currently busy with? Anything…
Margot: At the moment, I am considering printing some of my work. I would love to have my photos exposed in an Art Gallery. Anyone interested?
Also I am getting published in a few magazines next months, so, if you like my work, stay
tuned guys !
Pleasure to have you here today, Margot. Looking forward to your prints and to your published work!
Do catch up with Margot on Instagram and don't forget to follow her there as well!
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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 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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