Updated: Feb 13, 2018
Film photography taught me to listen to myself.
Please tell us something about yourself and how you got into film photography?
Noa: I'm Noa Kastel, a photographer and an artist from Tel-Aviv, Israel. Mostly dealing with subjects related to the Israeli society, creating conceptual-documentary projects. My main body of work so far, called "Protected-Selves", which is dealing with the traumatic Israeli landscape. As a teen I used to photograph only with 35mm film cameras, but at some point the digital world caught me. When I started working on "Protected-Selves", it was clear to me that I want to slow down, to be more accurate at my photography process. Therefore, I bought my Mamiya RZ67, which is so big and heavy, and began shooting with it. It felt right within the first roll.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Noa: I'm using a medium format camera- The Mamiya RZ67, and a 35mm one- A Pentax K1000. I love using Portra film rolls, mostly 160, since the sun in Israel is very strong.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Noa: First of all- it changes the entire process of taking pictures. It makes you think before taking the picture, and not after. It slows you down, it makes you more precise. You're becoming more patient as a photographer. Other than that, I truly believe that film has special qualities that I cannot see on the digital frames; it's beautiful grain, depth of field and the nostalgic but yet eternal feeling it provides. Film photography makes me feel I'm creating something that is concrete, real, and not just megapixels.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Noa: Last year I've finished my B.A in Photography in Jerusalem. During my studies I had free access to the printing labs. Now that I'm not a student anymore, I print by myself at some labs or I send my work to a lab that I know and trust.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Noa: During my B.A studies I had a lot of battles and arguments around that matter. My professors believed that the analog period is over, that film photography is dead. I kept following my Instincts and was so pleased with my film photography, so I kept shooting my projects with negatives. I do not regret it. Film photography thought me to listen to myself, to think more before shooting, and to be more accurate at my photo sessions. One of the things that motivates me to continue using film, is that I see many other photographers using it, both my colleagues and also on the social media and online.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Noa: Of course, many. My idols are Joel Sternfeld and Alec Soth, and the Israeli Photographers Adi Nes and Sharon Yaari. But there are many others, such as Eggleston, Sian Davey, Alessandra Sanguinett and Sally Mann. And lately I discovered Martin Essl and Laura Pannack which I find very inspiring.
Do you see any value or merit shooting with film?
Noa: As I said before, with film photography I feel I'm creating a concrete art, since the negatives are physical, they actually exist. Also, as I said, It makes me more patient and accurate as a photographer.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Noa: I think my future is combined. I definitely see myself using film photography, maybe even as a main tool in my future projects. But I'm not letting go the digital photography so fast. I think its all matter of the subject and the process you are dealing with.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Noa: Yes, an Israeli road trip, all around the country, documenting faces, landscape, details, sounds, objects. Something like Alec Soth's "Sleeping by the Mississippi".
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?
Noa: I think that the first time should be like a child experiencing new toy- just buy some rolls and grab an old film camera you have at home or at some friends, or even buy a cheap one somewhere. And just shoot some rolls. That way you'll learn your relationship with the analog world, and you'll start learning your way in it.
Noa plans to continue working on "Protected Selves" for the years ahead. She has few ideas on Israeli military life that she plans to work on using a medium format. As well as a 35mm film project that she photographed in Paris during the last 3 years, "which is related to and inspired by the stories of the author Julio Cortazar."
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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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