LONG LIVE FILM
Something that many of you may not know, unless you’ve known me well, is that I had my start in photography a little different from most of the other “professionals” that are out there today. I started out shooting film. I shot old school, black and white, 35mm film, and I STILL do. I still to this day shoot 35mm and medium format film and I still develop and print my own images. When I was accepted into numerous universities for photography, I was saddened by the reality that all of these big name schools had gotten rid of their film labs and transitioned to strictly digital. I wanted to learn from the bottom up, I wanted to learn about the history of the camera and photography from the start. I wanted to know how the original cameras functioned and I knew that I NEEDED to be in a dark room developing my own photographs. I was shocked to learn that Oakland Community College in Royal Oak was rated as one of the top photography programs and that they indeed focused largely on film. Everything from the history of photography, every type of process, and all the way to the BUSINESS of photography. So that is what I did and it’s made me who I am. I have been featured in many shows and recognized for my film work. My LONG LIVE FILM images were printed 16×20 and hung as the opening images for conferences at OCC that were based on the future of film photography and I was flattered to be a part of it.
The dark room is my ZEN. I could spend hours under amber light making prints. Only other film photographers will understand why the smell of developer and stop bath is comforting and nostalgic even if its terrible for our lungs 😉 When you take on the world of film it’s not just taking and developing pictures, it’s the whole process that gives it it’s charm. Its popping open film canisters and rolling freshly shot film onto reels, standing at timers counting seconds, leaning over light tables with loops to pick your negatives… it’s the whole time consuming journey that you go through that makes it feel so good. I couldn’t tell you how many combined hours of my life I have spent in the dark with nothing but negatives, headphones, timers, and my creativity. I wish I had more time to be in the darkroom now. I truly believe it was the best type of therapy.
When I dove deep into my business and began shooting weddings, portraits, and commercial work full time I knew that digital was the only answer and I have kept my film process for myself to keep my heart grounded. I have played with the idea of somehow incorporating my film background and skill into the wedding division of my business but I was talked out of it every time I brought it up. I was convinced by many others that it was too expensive, inefficient, unrealistic, and not INSTANT enough for customers. So I waited.
As I look around me today and see how the photography industry has gotten so flooded and over-saturated, I know now how much harder it is to stand out and have something DIFFERENT to offer. With people who one day decided that they were going to go to the store, buy an expensive camera, put up a facebook page, and call themselves “First Name, Last name Photography” just because they have nice equipment and can charge $1200 for a wedding, it’s frustrating for those of us who have to fight and prove what we are worth. I have also noticed that in the world we live in where everything is electronic, digital, wireless, and INSTANT… people are starting to crave things that are unique, handmade, and one of a kind… Art that requires mastered talent and technique. I will tell you that shooting film isn’t for everyone. It takes patience, awareness, HEART and PASSION. You can’t snap 40 images and just look at them through the LCD on the back of your camera and delete the bad ones. You take the seconds to do it right and make every frame count.. and in turn, that love and passion that you put into that image pours back out of it when it’s printed on paper.
After discussion with some of my amazing fellow photographers, friends, and family… they have encouraged me and given me the extra push I needed to take this leap and do something that I have wanted to do for such a long time. Incorporate FILM into my professional life and show my clients a very passionate and personal part of me.
I am ECSTATIC to announce that I am introducing FILM into my wedding and portrait collections for this coming year and beyond!!
I shoot with two medium format cameras, including my HOLGA, and multiple 35mm cameras. I will also be welcoming some new medium format big boys to the RSP camera family very soon.
I have always photographed in a very photojournalistic and editorial style. Many others have described my work as modern and raw at the same time and I always wanted my work to have an emotional feel and tell a story. When people tell me “it looks like it belongs in a magazine!” it’s such a huge compliment and I feel that incorporating film images will add to that feel that give it that much more life.
I will be scanning and digitizing negatives on my top of the line film scanners and including them in client galleries as part of my PREMIUM wedding and Senior Portrait collections. These are collections that I am building specifically for those clients that want not only more of my personal touch but also desire the most unique, artistic, and one of a kind look and feel to their images. I also feel very lucky to have the support of some of my colleagues who have decided to work with me and shoot film as a second shooter. I couldn’t be more energized and excited to take this on and it feels amazing. It feels personal.
Incorporating film back into my photography at a professional level is not just about me trying to change it up and get back to basics, this is about me getting back to MY roots. This is the place that made me the ARTIST I am. The place that helped me find my style and identity as a photographer. The place that gave me my patience, focus, and drive that I feel many new photographers don’t have anymore. Film is where I started and it’s where my heart still resides, it gave me the spark that is still burning to help me create the photographs that make people gasp. I never want to lose it.