Film has been an emerging trend for a couple of years but I never wanted to be a photographer that took it up because it was ‘trendy’ all of a sudden.
However, over the years I find I’m being drawn to images that were shot on film and loving the pastel tones.
Then one day not even a year ago and I remember the time, it was March 2013 and I was about to embark on my first trip to the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International conference in Las Vegas, when a light bulb moment went off in my head and I realised why photographers were returning to shooting film. When shooting film you send it off to the lab to be processed and they then send you back the negatives so you can print. With the invention of digital, the labs now send you back digital files of the film scans making life a little easier for film photographers. But for digital photographers, after taking the photo, we have taken on the role of the lab so there is a lot more hand-ons on work to edit our photos. So my light bulb moment was realising that shooting film cuts down on the amount of time I would sit at a computer editing my photos – Boom!
I returned to Australia inspired but time went by and it wasn’t until July I went and bought some rolls of film and took my old Minolta 35mm film camera with me to Coolangatta while I was down there for a wedding.
The day before the wedding I went for a stroll along the beach with my film camera in one hand, Frankie & Peppermint magazines in my bag, and ice cream in the other hand … and took a few photos.
Shooting film you need a little patience as once you’ve finished the roll you need to send it off to the lab for processing so its going to be 2 weeks before I see the images. Part of me hates the waiting, but another part of me that loves slowing it down, thinking about what you are capturing as every frame becomes more precious as every frame costs money to produce but you also are taking a lot less photos compared with digital cameras where you can snap away and delete all the duds later, but not with film.
Then I kept taking out the film camera with me but never felt inspired to take a photo as I’m not much of a happy-snapper and considering every frame is precious so a lot more thought goes into it before pressing that shuttter.
The roll of film from Coolangatta was still loaded in the camera which meant until I finished that roll I wouldnt see if my Coolangatta images even worked out okay. Ahhh … again I love/hate this!
Then the end of August rolls around and I get news from Sydney that my mum passed away overnight and I race to Sydney. When I returned from Sydney a week later I found that I was just not inspired or wanted too much of anything. And I’m so grateful to my wonderful couples who were so patient with me during this time. For about 3 weeks I didn’t do much editing or want to even take a photo while I grieved and came to the realisation that this person who was my mum for over 40 years just didn’t exist anymore.
That said, we weren’t extremely close and I always put that down to being adopted. There was a whole range of mixed emotions I was coming to terms with and in all honesty probably never will come to terms with. I’m not one for sharing my personal feeling on social media or my website because this is my business and I feel my personal life and business world do need to remain separate to a large degree, but this experience was a big kick up the backside that we don’t know how much time we have so there is no point putting things off.
When I was in Sydney preparing for my Mum’s funeral gathering up family photos, I was quite ashamed to be a photographer and realise we didn’t have many family photos. I remember sitting through the service and watching the photo slideshow and realising that while I do just take pretty pictures at weddings, the pictures I actually take could be the last photo I take of a person.
When saying my goodbyes, I was thinking wouldn’t you want to have a nice photo for people to look at as they say their goodbyes. I don’t want this to be a marketing exercise but it really struck home even to me a photographer, how important photographs are! Sometimes it takes for an experience like this to really sink in that as photographers we are preserving history. I came away from this experience wishing we had many more photos of my mum and family.
Here I am now making the most of what I can while I can and one of my dreams over the last few years has been to shoot film. I realised that it probably wouldn’t happen under my own steam, so I signed up for the Feather & Stone Film Photography Workshop in Byron Bay as I felt I needed some subjects put in front of me to shoot to get the ball rolling along with some guidance. I came away from the workshop learning much more and a huge thank you to the wonderful Tenille & Seth of Feather & Stone who are amazingly talented film shooters but also the loveliest of people you could imagine. It was also so nice to spend the day with other people who also loved film.
Today I’ve just got back my images from the workshop and have mixed results, but I’m more determined than ever to shoot more film and get better.
I can’t wait to share my analog film journey with you.