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I couldn’t imagine someone stopping with film photography once they are in!

Mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography

Rolf: I am Rolf van Rooij, a (mainly street) photographer from The Netherlands, I live in a small town under Amsterdam. As I am speaking I am 15 years old, born in 2003. About 2 years ago, my mother bought me a very old camera. An almost broken Pentacon FB to be precise. It was meant as decoration for my room but soon after I found a roll of film in my dad his old camera bag, I started with my first roll. I kind of forgot about it over time and it took me a year to finish the roll. I sent it out to be developed, I wasn’t expecting much but I was amazed when I got the prints back. That is how my love for film began!

What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?

Rolf: I’m currently using 35mm ilford pan 400 film. It’s an awesome black and white film that is based on the old hp5. My go to camera is a canon ae1. This combination tends to give me quality photos and are a joy to use! I’m also venturing into the world of medium format! I do want to say all black and white films work. Ilford pan 400 is just my preference.

What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?

Rolf: I think for me, film has an instant wow factor that digital just doesn’t has. It has soul and most importantly: it’s way more fun! It’s also really rewarding to see a beautiful photo you have put much effort into.

Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?

Rolf: Although I have no problem to let other people print my photos, I would rather do it myself. I like having full creative control on my photography. Although I only print with ink at the moment, there is a lot of trial and error and I like going through that process to make the perfect print. That being said, I am building a darkroom as I’m writing!

What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?

Rolf: Film is the best. Every time I develop some film, it motivates me to go out and shoot. I have learned it’s okay to make mistakes! Although it can be expensive ;-)

Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?

Rolf: I think my top three will be Nick Mayo, Jahan Saber and maybe Henri Cartier-Bresson, but really, this list is never ending. There are countless photographers who changed my perspective.

Do you see any value or merits shooting with film? 

Rolf: Shooting with film slows you down. It makes you think, and this results in better photographs. Also when shooting with film, I have a better connection with the subject. I’m working on story rather than checking my screen.

What do you think your future is like with film photography?

Rolf: I don’t know. I just hope it will be filled with negatives and prints! I do know for sure, I will be meeting lots of awesome people just like I have done in the past year!

What’s your dream photography project?

Rolf: I would like to do some sort of long term project about a certain place. I would also love to shoot large format.

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?

Rolf: Put a roll in your camera, wind a couple times and shoot! It’s important to have fun and enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy it, quit! Although I couldn’t imagine someone stopping with film photography once they are in!

Anything you want to add?

Rolf: I am in the middle of making a zine about my trip to London! Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date. I would also like for you check out my collective here.


Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Rolf van Rooij. He devoted his time, and worked so damn hard in making 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 Rolf van Rooij. 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 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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