I fell in love with photography in high school. I learned how to develop my own black and white film and print in a dark room. The entire process was addicting. This was back when digital cameras were barely starting to take over the disposable camera's spotlight at school dances and other social gatherings. I remember feeling pretty darn cool when I got a 4 megapixel point and shoot.
Fast forward to being in college. I managed to take photography classes as part of my minor. I was still able to shoot film for some of those classes but was mostly excited for my digital photography classes. Because film was pretty much on its way out the door, right? In the meantime I'd follow photographers' blogs and daydream about being a successful photographer. (I tried to figure out a way to make that sound less pathetic, but reality is what it is. I was a major blog stalker. #noshame)
It wasn't until after Matt and I got married that we splurged and bought a DSLR. It wasn't anything professional, but I figured it would get the job done. After all, the success and flavor of a cook's meal doesn't depend on how expensive her pots and pans are, so I determined to Tim Gunn it and "make it work!" I would take photos and edit them, but for whatever reason my heart wasn't as into it as I thought it would be. I found myself slowly shooting less and less on it because I wasn't getting the results I wanted. At some points I started taking more pictures on my iPhone than my DSLR.
I fell into the trap of needing the expensive camera, wanting whatever equipment someone successful was using. I stumbled upon a few blogs of film photographers and was impressed that not only was their art beautiful and relevant but that they achieved it without all the bells and whistles of digital. What appealed just as much was that film cameras offered a full frame that my DSLR did not. I opted to buy a Canon AE-1 and see for myself if there was something to shooting film again.
There was. Oh, so much more!
Shooting film made photography exciting and rewarding again. I felt alive when I'd get my settings right and trust myself enough to get the shot. I wasn't a slave to the screen on the back of my camera. I didn't shoot 10 frames just to make sure I got the shot--I waited for the moment and pressed the shutter. Once. And then I moved on to the next frame.
It became strategic, almost like a game of chess with myself. I had to factor in so many components before I needed to commit. I became alive. It makes me focus and feel.
And for that reason I shoot film.
All of the photos in this post come from my first few rolls of color film I've ever shot. (At least, color film that wasn't from a disposable camera circa the early 2000s. Those photos are evidence of my most awkward years and probably won't see much daylight.)