Patience, patience, patience. Take your time, both with printing and photographing.
Please tell us something about yourself and how you got into film photography?
Sarah: I am a 20-year old female photographer based in New England. I was born and raised in New Hampshire, and am now a sophomore studying photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA. I was originally a graphic design major, but it was not for me, so I took last year off to figure out what I really wanted to do. I have been a photo lover for basically my whole life. My first camera when I was in elementary school was a small film camera that I took everywhere with me. I brought it to school, field trips, etc. I was constantly taking pictures of my friends, family, and practically anything I could photograph. I moved onto digital in middle school, when my parents bought me a little point and shoot, which I also took everywhere since it was super portable. I was starting to get more into the professional aspects of photography, and my Dad handed down my first DSLR, his Canon 30D. I began doing paid shoots when I was in 8th grade, and continue to do them now. I’ve done everything from senior pictures, engagement parties, modeling heads hots, and I photographed my first wedding this summer, which was a great learning experience. My favorite thing to photograph is people (portraiture). I just got back into film this fall, as the curriculum for photography majors at MassArt begins with medium format black and white film photography. It was frustrating at first, but I have been enjoying it and am proud of the work I have made so far, and will continue to make.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Sarah: I have a Yashica Mat-124 TLR, it has a 6x6 negative size. I bought it because it was one of the more cost-effective ones (vs. a Hasselblad for example). The film I use is Kodak Tri-X Black and White Negative Film (120 Roll Film), which is what our teacher requires us to use. In my current class, we are only doing black and white photography, but we will move onto color film in my junior year, which I am looking forward to!
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Sarah: Once you really know what you’re doing, there is an amount of detail that you can get on film that you can never get on digital. I also just love the nostalgic feel that film gives, both while photographing and in the actual look of the photographs.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Sarah: We are required to make our own prints at my school, which has been a great learning experience so far. I kind of like having the control of doing my own printing, because I can make them look exactly as I want. It can also be frustrating because it is easy to make mistakes, and it is very time consuming.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film?
Sarah: While in school, since I am still just starting out with black and white film photography, I am motivated to continue getting better and making nicer photographs to present to my class. I hope to make multiple photo books one day once I have enough good images. I would like to make some of film photographs and digital photographs, but most likely keep them separate, to show the different qualities of each.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Sarah: I do have certain photographers that I enjoy, but I wouldn’t say anyone has necessarily “influenced” me or my work.
Do you see any value or merit shooting with film?
Sarah: Doing film photography has actually greatly helped me with my digital photography. Since I have to perfect all my settings before snapping a picture with my film camera, I have gotten better at figuring out/estimating my settings on my digital camera as well. I also pay more attention to how I frame my photos.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Sarah: I don’t think that I will ever completely switch to film from digital, which is my main practice, but I would definitely love to continue to use film photography throughout my life, along with digital.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Sarah: I have a lot of ideas, but I wouldn’t say I have any major “dream” projects. Maybe someday!
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?
Sarah: Patience, patience, patience. Take your time, both with printing and photographing. It is also a very costly method of photographing (camera, film, printing paper, chemicals, etc are not cheap!), so you need to make every shot count, and not take any shortcuts in your process. Be prepared and expect to mess up a lot! It is easy to get discouraged initially, but you only get better with practice (this is something I have to remind myself of all the time).
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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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