Salut! I’ve recently returned from another trip to Paris (does that make me sound worldly or pretentious? Either way I don’t care, because #lifelongdreamscomingtrue) and while I’ve got thousands of digital images to continue editing, my film scans are back!
I recently got into shooting on film while traveling thanks to my good friend and fellow photog, Krysta Norman. I traveled with her to Italy last year to second shoot a wedding, and as we toured around Paris, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome together, she would often wander with only her film camera.
Isn’t that risky, I’d think, realizing you could mess up an entire roll and have nothing to show for your trip? I’d experimented on film before with an old manual focus/manual metering vintage camera, but I’d also reproduced the shot on digital afterward. But she shared her film scans with me and they were killer. Softer focus, a little grain for a vintage appeal, and almost a documentarian feel to them.
So I got myself a more modern film SLR (thanks, Garrett!) and tried it myself on my recent trips to Ecuador and Paris. And then I fell in love.
I’m not a regular tourist, I’m a cool tourist.
There’s a sort of je ne sais quoi about shooting film in a digital era. Walking around a city with only my film camera makes me feel as though somehow, I will be taken more seriously than everyone else taking their digital or iPhone snapshots. I’m willing to carefully compose each shot and consider the outcome before hitting that shutter button, because I’ve only got 36 exposures to work with. Sometimes I would frame a shot, wait for the right moment, and when it never came, I would move on. C’est la vie.
It’s like I’m not a regular tourist, I’m a cool tourist, because I’m taking my photography ~*seriously*~ right now. This is all mental, of course, because the average person on the street isn’t going to realize I’m shooting on film vs a digital sensor. They’re looking at me like they look at every other camera-wielding tourist. No, this confidence comes from within.
Shooting with film also makes me feel more brave, like I’m a documentarian or something. I’ll take more photos of people, even getting a little closer than I usually feel comfortable with digital. It’s this sort of magical confidence and bravery that makes me love taking film along on my travels.
My future with film?
I have no intentions of bringing film photography into my professional work; I love that it’s something I can do as a personal project while traveling. The outcome is a raw look inside the way I see a place when I’m exploring – what do I find truly interesting or meaningful enough to document on film, vs. what’s temporarily interesting enough to snap with my phone for an IG story?
If you’ve used film while traveling, tell me more! What are your favorite film stocks to travel with? What are your preferred settings to photograph on? I’d love to know!
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