Updated: May 17
Film conveys a distant longing of very warm memories for me.
Glad to see you here, Yashinta. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into film photography.
Yashinta: I am Yashinta, an animator from Indonesia currently living in Vancouver, Canada. Back in 2009 I was doing design school and picked up my first DSLR, Canon 500d. I did a short photography course to get the gist of it and could not get enough of photography. I brought it everywhere whenever I was travelling. Not long after that, I stumbled upon Lomography and it got me addicted to toy camera. I mostly used Lomography films and some expired films which I could get for very cheap in Indonesia. From Fish Eye, Actionsampler, Supersampler, Diana Pinhole, La Sardina till Spinner 360 I've tried them all, but my favourite was Superheadz Wide and Slim 35mm, I had it in Colourful White. I loved it so much till one sad day I brought it swimming in the ocean and sea water got in it. That was the last time I used it and my film photography journey kinda died down after that.
I went back to using DSLR for my travel adventure. However, it got pretty exhausting to carry such a heavy camera plus all the lenses, and it annoyed me to keep changing lenses just to get the 'perfect shot'.
In 2017 I had a random longing to get another Superheadz camera but when looking at it online the price has tripled from the last time I bought it. I didn't think it was worth it and I might be able to get a real film camera with the same price. So off I went doing due dilligence to see which camera would be good for a beginner. I always wanted to try a rangefinder camera and after a ton of youtube videos and camera review blogs, I decided to get any one of the Olympus XA series. I got both Olympus XA1 point and shoot from e-bay and Olympus XA rangefinder. Luckily enough someone in my distance was selling Olympus XA on Craigslist. From thereon my love for film photography got resurrected.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Yashinta: I'm trying to expand my film vocabularies by trying out different films, the Portras, Ektar, Pro Image, Agfa Vista, Kodak Gold, Fuji Pro, Supermax, not so much black and white. Portra 400 is still my favorite so far, the colour punch is just very beautiful, it feels different than the others for me and the results are almost grainless, but lately I've been discovering Provia 100 and want to see whether I'd like it better than Portra 400 if I could improve my skill shooting with it.
I could not brag enough about Olympus XA, it is the holiest of my holy grail. Combining Olympus XA and Portra 400 creates photos that feels magical to me.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Yashinta: I guess in any kind of art it is all about the feeling. Film conveys a distant longing of very warm memories for me. Like if I were on a fun trip and by the end of it I was enjoying the sunset and reminiscing the whole trip, the joy and tiredness. That's usually the feeling I get from film.
It is not about how pixel perfect a photo is, but what memory a photo brings you back into. Even an unfocused or blurry photo can have the same powerful effect with film.
I also like that in film camera (although it is true until some extent), that it is not about how technologically advance the camera is that determines the results, but the eyes and creative mind behind it.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Yashinta: I wish I did, I only develop and scan them so I'll have it in digital format and they're also done in a lab.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Yashinta: Film photography is a creative outlet for me. I like the beautiful pictures come out of it and want to continue to be a better photographer.
Not sure if it's about myself but I do learn something. I feel that slowly I'm discovering my style and also learning that perfection is not everything. It is the imperfection that brings beauty to a picture. If something is too perfect, I definitely could not relate to it. It keeps me being open minded, just because a photo is grainy, it does not mean it is a bad photo. Also it has helped me work wise too, to be able to stage things and do composition better.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Yashinta: Fred Herzog definitely inspires me especially since he lived in Vancouver too, I recognize some the places in the photos helps me learn what makes a picture interesting through his eyes, and Fan Ho. I don't think I have the same style as them but their photos get me in awe.
Do you see any value or merits shooting with film?
Yashinta: It pushes me to be more creative with the limitation. I don't take 1000 photos of one angle like if it were digital and so far I only shoot with fixed lens, then I'd have to decide what kind of picture that will make it worthwhile. It trains my eyes too from past experiences to capture things better from the start, instead of having 'edit in post' kind of frame of mentality.
I also find it very fun that I don't see the result right away, liking the suspense and the surprise.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Yashinta: I hope it gets brighter and brighter. I want to get more confident in it, doing push and pull, venturing into medium format and doing more black and white films. Also developing my own films. Maybe selling prints too. Haha! So many things.
Do you have any dream film photography project?
Yashinta: To create a zine one day :)
Most 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. Do you have ways to keep busy while you have to stay at home?
Yashinta: It looks different for everyone, but I am blessed that I could still work from home. Doing things that I don't normally do if it were a normal day like reading and spring cleaning. Trying out different recipes. Binging on TV shows.
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?
Yashinta: I think it is good to know basic understanding, but don't think too much about it, you could always YouTube them and learn on the way. Get any camera you can find, test a roll and have fun!
Anything you want to add? Future exhibits, projects you're currently busy with? Anything…
Yashinta: Thanks so much for the opportunity :)
Grateful to have you here, Yashinta. Your wisdom will surely help plenty of aspiring film photographers out there.
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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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