The year was 1996 and I was in grade 11 year. Top movies were “Happy Gilmore, Swingers, and Romeo & Juliet” and the top songs were “Macarena, One Sweet Day, and C’mon N Ride it (The Train)”…but my personal favorites were Smashing Pumpkins, Sarah Mclachlan, and Cypress Hill. My teenaged angst felt still and peaceful behind my 35 mm film camera. It was a time of confidence for me, a time where I could tell a story thru my lens. The thought of digital never even crossed my mind. I remember developing film and the anticipation of creating images in the darkroom filled my soul which to this day I still believe part of it was left in that room. The smell of chemicals, quiet chatter and big smiles when my prints were correctly exposed and focused. Music would play softly in the darkroom, hours would pass like minutes, and I would lose myself in the process of creating my vision. It was then that I discovered my passion.
Fast forward 10 years where I married my husband, purchased a Canon Rebel and took 100′s of images on our honeymoon in Paris. I just could not stop shooting every moment and detail of our vacation. I knew Matt was perfect for me because I don’t recall a time where he told me to put my camera down….haha.
I believe it was my understanding of photography in high-school that assisted my learning curve in digital. I was shooting fully manual in a few weeks giving me more creative control over my camera. The instant gratification of digital was awesome, but the post production was kind of a nightmare. Despite landing perfectly exposed images, I yearned to create images that still resembled the softness of film. In the last few years I really started created the look of film (or faux film) in Photoshop by adding grain for example to the shots to give it that dream look. However, it’s not film.
The last few years I began researching film cameras. I fell in love all over again with the look, the style and the romance. I wonder if I had forgotten everything I learned some 13 years ago and was curious if I could recapture my skills with film? I also believed that shooting film is the measuring stick for any photographer: one shot, one pose, one light…no redo’s. Eyes closed, exposures off, shutter speed is too fast or too slow, lights changed, tilted horizon, shaky hand, all could result in a missed photo and I would never know until a few days later with no opportunity for a second chance. It is sometimes said that the digital generation of photographers are the “spray and pray” ones. I myself can admit that I don’t spray but I surely pray that the little screen at the back of my camera never breaks because I need to make sure I got the right image at a wedding.
Film allowed me to redefine my five key steps when I shoot: Stop, Breath, Focus, Set, Shoot. If you have one photo, and the bride laughs, or cries….you need to be present and prepared.
One of my goals in photography and my career has been to always learn and grow professionally and personally. I want to expand and continue to get better everyday. That doesn’t mean getting the new 5d mark III to shoot more. It means finding the right angles, the right light, and the right moment to take a photo that lasts a lifetime even thought it took a moment to create. Film continues to enhance my digital photos and gives me a creative allowance to focus my passion and create lasting moments. I am so excited to share with you some of the images I captured on film. I love these images because they are straight out of the camera and they are slices in time that reflect exactly how my current work looks and how I will continue to shoot.
There is something gorgeous and special about these images from Phoebe and Stephen’s wedding and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.
Alicia Keats Weddings an Events
Jayna Maria Hair and Make-Up
Florals by The Flower Factory
Hair Accessories by Adorn Atelier
Phoebe’s Dress was purchased on Once Wed
Anna Elizabeth Cakes
Rentals from Trove Vintage
Rentals from Pedersens
Pink Berry Frozen Yogurt