If photography was a language, I would be striving to become fluent as quickly as possible.
It all started in the summer of 2015 when I saved my money to purchase a brand-new Canon t6i. I knew almost nothing at the time, my lack of knowledge about the used photography market frustrates me today… Knowing that with a little effort and research, I could have purchased a used kit capable of much more than the kit I bought then for nearly $900 (maybe a 5Dmkii with a nifty fifty for almost half the price. yikes!). But that is neither here nor there, the point is, I was clueless when it came to taking photos. I was convinced that because I had a mainstream DSLR I could instantly photograph stunning portraits, crisp sports pictures, and sunsets that would put my iPhone shots to shame. If you know much about photography, you know that that is far away from the truth. To put it simply, I was humbled quickly, and soon learned that there was much, much more to photography than I had ever imagined. To know it all, would mean more time than any of us would be able to put forth. And so, the journey began. Fast forward 2 years, and countless hours of editing tutorials and gear reviews later, I felt like my photography was finally to a point that I had imagined it back when I first picked up a camera. I knew my way around Lightroom, knew all the photographer’s verbiage, and finally thought my images were something maybe Peter Mckinnon or Ted Forbes would find decent. Yet, every time I pulled hundreds, sometimes thousands of photos from my SD card for a single shoot, and spent late nights editing and organizing, something felt off. Something was too polished, too remote, and too sterile. I no longer felt the intimate connection to my photos.
It had been a few months since my grandpa had given me his mint Olympus OM-1, so I decided to order some film and give it a go. I didn’t fall in love immediately, the clunky slow controls and manual focus (yes, I was auto-focus dependent) were, at times, too much for me. But something felt right. Something felt natural. That camera sat on the shelf a few more months until I stumbled across a YouTube video about a mainstream photographer shooting film. It wasn’t until then that I understood the objective benefits and grasped the results that film can produce. I was sold, I ordered rolls and rolls of cheap film and started shooting film regularly. I was not prepared to give up digital though, and for about 6 months I put on the face of a hybrid shooter. After a trip to Texas and seeing the memories that I had captured on film, I decided to go fully analog and I haven’t looked back since. I adore the sentimental feel, tangibility, and care that I am forced to take with each photo.
Before, I might have shot 400 to 500 photos on my Canon for a portrait shoot and would have been happy to get 10-15 good edited shots from it. The other day, I took a friend out and took 13 shots the entire time, and guess what, I am happy with each one.
The way film has transformed my process and broadened my perspectives is something I am very grateful for.
Currently, I shoot my OM-1, my moms Canon Rebel G (or 500n outside the U.S.), and Yashica C 6x6 camera. I love taking photos of people and portraying the human soul the best that I can. I still know almost nothing, but love learning and absorbing all that I can to get better, and film has given me that passion again.
Long live the power of photography!