About three years ago, I purchased a Canon AE-1 from a local antique store. The guy gave it to me for, I believe, $10, since he was unsure if it worked or not.
I quickly watched a youtube video on the basics of using it, “ok I got this”, I said, as I loaded the film into my camera.
Once I had snapped all the pictures of my dogs that I could, I sent the film off to be developed, only to receive the dreaded email: “your film is blank” or something like that.
So, for a while I completely put off film; I was convinced it wasn’t the rusty antique store camera that was broken, but that I was an idiot doomed to the digital world.
Well, I ended up receiving a much better condition Canon AE-1 for my birthday a year or so later.
I watched a youtube video on the basics, took it with me on a day trip with my friends, and then proceeded to unload the film with the back hatch open in broad daylight, which pretty much damages all your film.
Again, I sent my film in to be developed. This time I received about eight pretty overexposed pictures. Disappointed, I left my camera on a shelf for a whole year.
On my family vacation this summer, I promised myself one thing, I was going to shoot film. So I spent an hour in my room at my grandparent’s house watching a couple of basics videos, and this time actually listening.
Pro (or not-so-pro) Tip: I have a Canon AE-1 Program, which basically means there’s a setting on the camera that programs the (in simple terms) exposure based on your environment. If you’re new to film I suggest getting this camera, because you can take it off the program mode anytime once you get more comfortable with the camera’s manual settings.
Before I bore you back into the digital world, here are the images I took on my trip to Florida:
So why shoot film? As a photographer who’s been tied to the digital world for four years, I was feeling like I was stuck, a one trick pony. All I knew was how to use my digital camera.
There’s something about film. It makes images more dreamy, more cinematic. Since the process of developing takes so goddamn long, it makes you relive memories once they are processed.
Digital cameras just can’t do what film does, they try, but they can’t. I’m not sure if I’ll ever completely abandon my digital camera, not for now at least, but film has given me a whole new perspective on photography.
No matter if you’re a hobbyist photographer or a professional photographer, don’t hesitate to try new forms of photography. There’s so much out there, and you may even be surprised at the outcome