Updated: Oct 7, 2017
Because sometimes photography can spread a lot of joy, and that's awesome! Especially when you received a film camera for a gift.
Before we start, Rui. Can you tell us something about yourself and how you got into film photography?
Rui: Hi! My name is Rui da Silva, I’m Portuguese and 44 years old. I lived in Switzerland from 1977 until 1991 and since then I live in Portugal. I work as a special products draftsman in a multinational office furniture company for almost 25 years.
I grew up surrounded by 35mm and Super 8 film cameras. My father was always taking pictures, or filming. The results are thousands of pictures of me and my brother from the early 70’s until the early 90’s. Despite that, I never had a big interest in photography.
I only get into film photography 2 years ago. I saw an online shop with some cool and cheap analog cameras and I just fell in love with an Olympus Trip 35. I bought it as a Christmas gift to my father and next thing I know, I was buying a Yashica Electro35 GTN for myself with a couple of expired black and white rolls. That’s when I started to read anything I could find about photography. Just to try and understand how things work and decided that the best way to learn, was to do it the old way, on film.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Rui: For almost a year I used mostly Ilford films (HP5, XP2, FP4 and Delta 400) and some Kodak TriX and T400CN. Lately I started to give color films a try and so far, I shot Fuji 400H PRO, Kodak Ektar 100, Portra 400 and 800. Recently I shot a couple of slides films (Fuji Velvia 50 and Sensia 400), both expired and crossprocessed and I just loved the results. I also have a few motion picture films from Fuji and Kodak waiting to be tried (soon I hope). I’m in that phase where I want to try different films, see what kind of results I get form each one of them.
I own four cameras, a Yashica Electro35 GTN, a Minolta SRT 101, a Mamiya C220 and a Kiev 4 and I use them with all kind of films. The only camera/type of film I stick with, is the Minolta SRT 101 with Ilford HP5 when I push it to 1600. As I used this combo a few times, I feel more comfortable and know what to expect.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Rui: Well, the grain. It’s hard to beat that! Film also has a much greater latitude than digital and depending on what film you use, the colors are amazing.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Rui: For now I have my rolls developed and scan in a lab, but in the near future I want to start doing it myself. I think it’s important to go through all the process, from pressing the shutter to the final print. Having full control and getting it right must be very rewarding.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?
Rui: The process and the results, is that simple.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Rui: A lot of them, but there is so much influences that it’s hard for me to be specific. Edward Weston and Don McCullin for example.
Do you see any value shooting with film?
Rui: Absolutely, shooting film is more organic, it slows you down. You want to be sure that every shot counts and then there’s the waiting. Waiting for the prints or the scans to arrive, rediscovering pictures you took, because sometimes you only develop your roll weeks (or months) later.
What do you think is the future of film photography?
Rui: It’s much brighter than it was a few years ago. We have new films coming lately, a strong community, a project for a brand-new camera (Japan Camera Hunter). I believe film will be around for a long time, #believeinfilm! :)
Would you like to share some advise to those who want to try out film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?
Rui: Buy a fully manual camera (don’t need to be expensive), put some rolls in it and experiment, explore and have fun along the way.
Be considerate. All photographs shown on this page are the sole property of Rui da Silva. 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 Rui da Silva. 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 email@example.com 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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