Shooting film is mindful. Film taught me patience and how to deal with failure.
Please tell us something about yourself, Martina, and your journey into film photography?
Martina: Hey, I'm Martina and I live in Austria. I had my first encounter with film photography in my childhood. Back then, there was only film. My father shot quite a lot and developed film in our bathroom. Me and my brother had our own small cameras for 110 film or even 35mm. Later I was allowed to use my father's analog SLR and I shot a roll sometimes. I liked it but I never really got into photography. I totally forgot about it for years. Somehow I got back into photography. About 5 years ago, I found a very old box film camera online, then I ordered a Holga and since then, I never looked back.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Martina: I love black and white film and almost never shoot color film. Maybe this will change some day, who knows? When it comes to film format, I use medium format, 35mm and Polaroid or Instax film. I don't care which brand it is, I'm not picky at all. Ilford is always a good choice. My favorite brand must be Fomapan, I go through a lot of rolls! It's cheap and perfect for stand development. The camera question is hard to answer, I own more than 30 film cameras. If I had to pick only one, it would be my Holga.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Martina: To me, film photography is honest. I can touch the negative and when I put them into my archive I like to think: This will be left when I'm long gone. I also like the fact that I have to pick a camera and a film and that I need to stick to this decision for a whole roll.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Martina: Unfortunately, I don't have a darkroom. I develop film in the kitchen but when it comes to prints, I go to the lab.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Martina: I'd love to show other people how I see the world. I guess that's what keeps me going. As an introvert, film photography is also an easy way to connect with other people - offline or online. I'd love to attend a meet-up one day. Shooting film is mindful. Film taught me patience and how to deal with failure.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Martina: When it comes to landscape photography, Michael Kenna's work left a huge impression. I think the images he shot with a Holga were the reason I got such a camera myself. There are also plenty of photographers online which are a huge inspiration for me. The whole film community is a big source of inspiration.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Martina: Quality over quantity! You think twice before pressing the shutter: Do I like the composition? Is it worth the frame? You don't end up with 2000 images after a week-long vacation.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Martina: As long there's film, I'll keep shooting. There are some other things I also want to try, like wet-plate photography and other photographic processes. I don't think that film is ever going to die but if that would be the case, I guess I'd stick to digital and maybe drawing or painting. Not creating is not an option.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Martina: There are some places in the world I'd love to explore for a really long time, not just for a few days on vacation: London, Death Valley, New York, Edinburgh - just to name a few.
Would you like to offer a few words of wisdom to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?
Martina: Don't be afraid, it's not rocket science. Buy a cheap camera at a flea market or online. If you don't know anything about photography, go for a compact camera, they are easy to use. From there you can always upgrade. Join a film photography group, read film photography blogs and chat with other film photographers. I can tell from experience that everyone is happy to help beginners.
Anything you want to add?
Martina: I'm currently in the process of planning portrait sessions. Usually I do landscapes and occasionally a few self portraits, so for me, this is quite a huge step.
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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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