Before taking up film photography, I’d suggest, learn how light works first, be patient, experiment, and practice everyday.
I'm happy to have you here, Marianna. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into film photography.
Marianna: This is Marianna Cardenio. I’m a 27 years old Italian photographic artist. I’ve graduated from the University of Westminster in London and photography has been and will always be the best path of my life.
I’m one of those people who photograph because holding a camera, pointing at reality and waiting for the result is what makes their souls vibrate. Since I’ve approached photography I experimented and I still do different styles and techniques which help me to develop and establish my aesthetic style.
I love and I choose film photography for how it makes me feel. Especially in that nostalgic instant of taking the film roll off the camera.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Marianna: Working with film allows me to learn things I’d never thought I would learn if I didn’t start with digital. I like that 'controlled' unpredictability. For me it's like a pen to write down my feelings and visually convey my mood.
My favourite film so far is Kodak Portra, especially when it comes to portraits, but I used and tried a variety of them. I shoot film on a Nikon F3, which has been my first baby.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Marianna: Nowadays digital comes first, megapixels commands and immediacy dominates everything we do, that’s why I think film photography has become a noble art devoted to patience, where you have to be very careful when you shoot because you won’t get the results immediately.
Many of us still remember that feeling of taking that summer holiday film to develop without knowing what we would find when picking it up.
Blurry, badly framed photos… The magic was in not knowing what we were going to find.
I believe that analog photography offers us a result that we can not achieve with digital photography in any way. That type of grain, the charm of imperfection… they give texture to photographs. They say that it can be replicated with softwares, but the result is never the same. Also, that grain, today is increasingly difficult to achieve intentionally while shooting on digital because the new sensors respond better and better to higher ISO sensitivities.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Marianna: I use to develop and print them my own, especially while I was a student. Now I get them to a lab which I fully trust for their professional touch and great understanding of my needs as a professional photographer.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Marianna: What motivates me today to continue making photographs with film is the fact that when I see my shots, I feel they’re already perfect the way they are and I feel fully satisfied. I’ve learned to be patient, to take care more of every detail and the pleasure of enjoying every part of my creating process.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Marianna: Diane Arbus, no doubt. Her pure need of seeking and show reality as raw as it is. No filters, no negative neither positive influence, just naked reality, it’s the same path I’m trying to pursue with my photography.
Any dream film photography project in mind?
Marianna: I’m planning on starting a portrait series of strangers. Challenging myself with a point & shoot technique on a film camera. It’s quite risky, but if it’s going to work, I’m sure the result will be pretty satisfying.
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?
Marianna: Film photography as a path is slow and tiring. Shooting film obliges us to necessarily think and therefore to pre-visualise (even unconsciously) the image taken; digital instead allows you to press the button unconsciously, to try, and makes us postpone every thought, judgment and decision.
The digital modus operandi with the problem solving given by the instantaneous feedback of the monitor is reassuring, linear and perhaps boring. Much more difficult and exciting to rely on empiricism, pre-visualisation, experience and a little luck.
I’d just suggest to learn beforehand how light really works, to be patient, to capture every instant as unique. And experiment, practice, everyday.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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