Shooting film is a learning process. Don't be afraid to fail.
First, tell us about yourself, PJ, and perhaps, a brief story on how and when you got your first taste of film photography.
PJ:I'm Patrick James but most people call me PJ. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I'm a videographer / editor based in Singapore. So I'm in between "pressing the record button" and "advancing the lever" :)
I remember when I was young, my mom taught me how to use a film camera and start to take photos. Ever since, I've always wanted the look of film, I feel that it's raw and real.
Sometimes I'm too sentimental where I always find myself being comfortable being in a state of nostalgia.
Around 2011, I started picking up some point and shoot cameras and have fun with it. I paused taking film photos and started using digital for a period of time because our hometown stopped processing films anymore which is so sad.
It was only when I moved to Singapore where I got back into shooting film again. I got to start again from Disposables, then I got my rangefinder Canonet QL17. Now I'm using Minolta X-700 SLR as my main gear.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
PJ: I'm using color negative film for my photos but my favourite films are Kodak Portra 160 and Kodak Ultramax 400. Portra has this particular color that I love especially on the skintones. Kodak Ultramax has this magic and mood on its look.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
PJ: Film has soul and magic. It's the type of imagery when you dream and when you remember something from the past
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
PJ: I trust my photolab to process my rolls but I'm excited to develop my own rolls in the future.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
PJ: The everyday experience. New fresh things. People, Art & Culture.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
PJ: My influences comes from a lot of things. People and culture. I look up to Japanese film photographers lately. I love the vibes and the aesthetics. I grew up with the influence and drive of music in my life. From heavy music to indie music which sets the mood every time. Music has connections in me whenever I'm shooting film.
Do you see any value shooting with film?
PJ: Yes there is! From opening the box of film, until you get the negatives and see the photos. The entire process has value. Every shot is worth to stare in minutes and zoom until you see the grains :) The more you look at it, the more you feel the photograph, the emotions, you'll get attached into it!
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
PJ: I think it will always be a part of me. I will be doing more work with film in the future for sure. Even my kids in the future will be using film. I'll pass this passion to the next generation.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
PJ: To get to travel to other places on earth and capture the world using film.
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?
PJ: Just start picking a camera, put a roll and start shooting. Don't be discourage if you're just using a cheap camera. As I've said, film has magic. You'll get surprise with its outcome. Don't focus on gears, its just tools. Shooting film is a learning process. Don't be afraid to fail. Feed your eyes with inspirations and things that motivates you. Listen to music when you shoot. Don't forget to enjoy! :)
PJ is currently working on some projects that focuses on portrait work. His recent project is now up on zines like Rekt Mag. He is also open for collaborations and an email away, guys!
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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 everyone 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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