Updated: Apr 19, 2020
I plan carefully on how I would like my images to be interpreted as I treat all of them as stories to be told.
Mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography?
Stephen: Let me introduce myself. I am Stephen Sales, a TV cameraman by profession. I am also a photographer, and video editor. I got into film photography back in 2010 when I was influenced not only by my Facebook friends who shoot film but as well as famous photojournalists and street photographers.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Stephen: I use 135 and 120 films for black and white and color negatives. Most of the time, I shoot in black and white with my Nikon FM2, Canon 7 rangefinder; my favorite Yashica MAT 124G TLR when I feel like shooting in a 6x6 medium format.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Stephen: Personally, I think it is the aesthetic look of film softness and grain that create dramatic and nostalgic effects. Digital on the other hand, gives off a different story wherein some images may look unnaturally sharp. Some would say digital has no soul unlike film, you get to have a raw, negative copy--but I think both film and digital photography have their own uniqueness.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Stephen: To be honest, I do not print my photographs because I don't own the right equipment. That being said, I have all of my selected photographs printed in professional laboratories. However, I process and scan my own negatives at home.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Stephen: What motivates me to shoot film besides digital is the shooting experience--you have to slow down, manually focus, and properly expose each frame and composition. I plan carefully on how I would like my images to be interpreted as I treat all of them as stories to be told.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Stephen: Yes, there are photographers that have influenced me in filming apart from my work as a news and documentary cameraman. To name a few, these are: James Nachtwey, Henri Cartier Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado, Josef Koudelka, Fan Ho, Sir Don McCullin, and Hiroji Kubota.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Stephen: Shooting with film is a different experience, as it adds a new feel on how a particular medium captures--compared to that of with digital.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Stephen: As for me, it is a fast growing hobby turned professional aspect in my life. I think film photography is here to stay for a while, coexisting with the world of digital photography.
What’s your dream photography project?
Stephen: I am planning to have a personal film-based project on my retirement as a TV cameraman.
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?
Stephen: Give it a try if this medium works for you. But, I assure anyone the enjoyment and satisfaction of venturing on shooting film.
Photographers around the world are finding ways to keep themselves busy during this lockdown, and coming up with activities to make self-isolation a bit more interesting. What are your ways to keep busy while you have to stay at home?
Stephen: Actually, I'm still working outside. I work for a TV network and we're currently covering COVID-19 related stories and issues.
Anything else you want to add, Stephen?
Stephen: For now, there is none for I am still working full time as a TV cameraman. In the meantime, I am planning for this year a personal portrait project about the farmers of Sorsogon, Philippines.
Thank you, Stephen for sharing your thoughts on this. Give us a heads up once your portrait project is done. We would be happy to share them to the world. All the best!
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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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