Interview with MILES DAVID, USA
Film has a more enjoyable process from beginning to end than digital does.
Welcome, Miles! Mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography?
Miles: Hey there, my name is Miles David. I'm 23 years old from northern Minnesota, US. You can find me on Instagram @captain.solo. I first got into photography around 3 years ago when my parents got me a DSLR for Christmas. It wasn't until about a year into shooting with the DSLR that a buddy of mine told me about film. I was a reluctant to try it out at first but after convincing from that same friend I decided to give it a shot. I then bought a Pentax k1000 off eBay for like 25 bucks. A week later I tossed in my first roll of cheap colored film into that K1000 I haven't looked back since.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Miles: I mainly shoot with 35mm Ilford hp5 and occasionally Delta 400 - both pushed to 1600 and developed in Ilfotec HC. I made the switch from predominantly color film to black and white a little over a year ago when I learned how cost effective bulk loading and home developing are. Making the switch to basically just two stocks of film was well needed change for me. I feel that taking the color variable out of photography helped me find a sort of style that I just wasn't finding with color film. Besides that, shooting with only two film stocks just makes the developing process easy and consistent.
The two cameras I use the most out of my hoard would easily be the Nikon Fm2 and the illustrious Fuji TX-1 (xpan). These two cameras are my bread and butter. First off, the Nikon FM2. This is my daily carry and it's simply a tank and a workhorse. It's got everything I need and nothing I don't. Its fully manual and has a quick 1/4000 of a second shutter which comes in handy for my style of photography. Even after dropping it onto the floor a handful of times it keeps on shooting. If I ever somehow manage to break this thing, I'll buy another in a heartbeat. Such a great camera.
Now on to the TX-1(xpan). I feel that if you know what this camera is, then you know why it's one of my most used camera. But for those that aren't familiar with the TX-1 - I'll explain. It is a 35mm rangefinder that takes 24x65mm panoramic photos. This gives the photos a very cinematic look to them - almost as though the photo was a still frame taken from a film. This camera is truly a one of a kind and an absolute blast to shoot with. If you ever get the chance to shoot with one - take it! Be aware though, if you're looking to pick one up these days be prepared to spend a pretty penny.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Miles: For me, film just has a more enjoyable process from beginning to end than digital does. When it comes to film - every roll you get back from the lab or develop yourself feels a little bit like getting a present. The mystery of not knowing whether you got the shot, or if you developed everything correctly is kind of addicting. There's no greater feeling than when everything turns out perfect and you nailed the shot you wanted - plus a few you completely forgot about taking.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Miles: It's not that I'm not comfortable with printing from another lab, its just these days I prefer printing my own photos. I get really picky with my prints and like to experiment without it costing me too much money.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Miles: Hmm... I guess my own enjoyment is what motivates me. I could do everything I do now with digital, but I'd lose the enjoyment and then the motivation. Honestly, I don't really know if I have learned anything about myself through film. I guess maybe I could say I learned that I like empty space.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Miles: Ohhh yea. Quite a few. I'd say the most influential would be Fred Mortagne, Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, Fan Ho, Kyle Myles, Josh Bordelon, and Nick Mayo, and honestly too many others that are just as influential to me but I can't think of off the top of my head.
Do you see any value or merit shooting with film?
Miles: Of course. To me the best value is the fact film is physical. Knowing that even if my computer is wiped and I lose everything - I still have all my negative that will be right where I have them stored until I either lose them or they get destroyed in some disaster.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Miles: I'm not sure. I haven't really thought about what I want to do with my photography in the future. All I know is whether its just selling prints at the local art fair or getting a legit job taking photos - whatever it is I hope I'll be happy doing it.
What’s your dream photography project?
Miles: I'd really like to shoot a few frames for some skateboarding mags if I ever got the chance. Yeah - shooting skaters all day would be the dream.
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?
Miles: The advice I'll give to new film shooters is to try and learn to develop right away if possible. It just adds so much to the film game and you'll be stoked seeing your results. Plus its way more cost effective in the long run! Also, don't be afraid to mess up shooting or developing. Mistakes happen and thats all good. The best part about film is that you usually don't make the same big mistake more than once!
Watch out for Miles' zine this year. You can get in touch with him on Instagram for the publication dates.
Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Miles David. He devoted his time and worked hard on these photographs. You are not allowed to copy, download, reproduce, reprint, modify, distribute, publicly display, license, transfer or sell content retrieved from this page in any way, for any public or commercial use or to any commercial source, including other websites, without prior written permission of Miles David. Be nice! You don’t want to go to jail, do you?
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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