Girrlscout Style in 35mm

I have always been a sucker for film photography. I used to sit on the internet for hours looking through hundreds and hundreds of battlefield photos from WWII. I have a borderline unhealthy fascination with war and guns. But film photography is expensive and very difficult. And in this day and age, excruciatingly under appreciated.

 1940's Welta // Expired Walmart 400 35mm

1940's Welta // Expired Walmart 400 35mm

 Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

Being a broke musician and photographer, I can't afford to blow through rolls and rolls of film. So I pick my shots very, very carefully. Which means it takes a minute to a minute and a half for me to set up a shot. This is not ideal for lifestyle photography. So I try to limit my film shooting to situations that I can control. Like a style blog set with my beautiful better half. She's so pretty.

Anyways, I recently went down to a camera swap meet with a dear friend of mine and fellow photographer by the name of Austin Locke. He told me that this little meet was a gold mine for cheap film cameras. So I went along with him, intentionally leaving all my cash at home. A place like this was surely trouble for me. Sure enough... We walk through the door and the first thing I see is a 1940's era German Welta pop out camera in just about mint condition. JACKPOT.

 Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

I ran to the gas station across the street, grabbed some money out of the ATM and bought the beautiful thing. 

I threw a roll of test film in it (expired Walmart brand 400) and took it to my shoot with Michelle, not knowing if the thing even worked. Much to my surprise, it was in perfect working condition. The beauty of 100% mechanical cameras. 70 years later, they still work like they're brand new. 

I was more than thrilled when I got my exposures back from Bill's Camera and most of them had come out awesome! ...I need some practice focusing and framing it. 

 1940's Welta // Expired Walmart 400 35mm

1940's Welta // Expired Walmart 400 35mm

Good film photography is so beautiful because you know a lot of thought and care went into the shot. Nowadays, you can pick up a digital camera, set it to auto and snap away. And chances are you're going to get a decent shot. 

But with film, every aspect of the shot has to be thought out. There is no tiny computer that is going to do it for you. You have to see every obstacle and asset and set your shot before you take it. Because you won't know if you got it right until you get your exposures back from the film lab. Which makes it so much more of an emotional investment. There is no immediate gratification. And it costs money to develop film. So you take the shot and you hope like hell you got it right. It's exciting, really.

 Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

Canon AE-1 // Portra 400 35mm

Because of the hard work that goes into every shot, it makes getting your exposures back from the lab so much more fun. It's like opening a present or getting a test score back. You almost don't want to look because you don't want all your hard work to be in vein, but at the same time you can't wait to rip that package open and see how well your meticulous shots turned out. 

In the end, when you get your 36 exposures back and only 5 of them turned out, it's a bummer, but at the same time those 5 exposures mean the world to you. Because you know what you put into it.  And it's warm and grainy and dull and beautiful. And no one can take that from you. Because you created it with your heart, soul, and a little bit of luck.