Growing up, some of my favorite toys were viewmasters and disposable cameras. Film was photography. Before digital, that's just the way things were back then. Baby photos of myself, early photos of my parents and grandparents, everything was shot on film. It's what I knew and enjoyed, and it continues to be a passion today.
Allowance money as a young boy and as a teenager were often spent on disposable cameras. I'd shoot my toys, life experiences and friends. Why did I do this? I did it because I loved the subjects and knew they would one day change. I knew that by taking a photo of them, I could keep them just the way they were, forever.
The imperfections are what drew me to film: the dust marks, scratches, light leaks, and grain all add a creative element to photography that I cannot and do not wish to reproduce or alter. Growing up, my best friend's grandfather Jimbo gave me his Canon AE1. This camera is beat to shit. He shot with it for 30 years, then gave it to me. I've been shooting with it since 2006; it has light leaks and only half the photos actually turn out. Why do I keep using it? Because it has character! The images it produces are one-of-a-kind and unique to this camera. This camera also has a story, it's special. I get so damn tired of taking perfectly exposed, bright, shiny and sharp photos. In the past, this was a skill and today every phone in our pocket can produce an amazing photograph. To hell with it! I need a challenge here people. Give me a camera with all manual settings, no screen and a viewfinder. That sounds much more rewarding! And don't label me as one of those Fountain Square, Indiana delusional "film makes better art" snobs either. I know for a fact it's not better. At least, the kinds of photos I shoot on film are not better.
My relationship with film has always been the same "snapshots" just like when I was a kid. The photos are about people I care about, and the things we do together. Unlike photos I take for work, I make no money from these. The photos are for me, alone. There are no expectations, nor am I critiqued on them. I follow no rules, nor briefs, and they are not meant to be critiqued. I love the excitement of not knowing what will develop. To me, there is nothing cooler than developing a roll of film six months to a year after it was shot. It makes it so much more fun to look back and see what I was doing. It makes them feel vintage-like, even when they're new! Shooting film reminds me of taking photos as a young boy. Dad would say, "Ya only got 24 to 36 (photos)," "Don't shoot too many on the same thing," and "Save some for later."
I have 170 rolls of unused Fuji Superia 100 (expiration date March of 2004) Even with all this film and everything that I've learned, I still can't break that "save some for later," mindset.
Here are some of my favorite 35mm images from 2006 to today.
- Canon AE-1 Silver (Jimbo)
- Canon AE-1 Black (Bret Kelly)
- Nikon N90
- Lomography-Fisheye 2
- Lomography-Action Sampler
- Various Disposable Cameras
VIEW THE WHOLE GALLERY OF MY FAVORITE 35MM PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE LINK POSTED BELOW.