Back in 2007, I picked up my first camera that wasn't a point-and-shoot. It was a Nikon D40 and I had no idea how to use it. After a couple of years of working with it and doing a ton of reading, I found myself standing on my front step with a lightning storm approaching and my camera on a tripod, determined to do a long exposure of lightning.
Even on full automatic mode, my camera argued with me as to what it thought I was trying to accomplish. It wouldn't focus, it wouldn't fire and it made me frustrated. I brooded on it for a few days and was so grateful when my answer came through a Facebook post from a photographer I'd been following for a few years, Kim Orlandini.
She shot film. In this day and age, she shot what many considered to be a dead medium and her images were stunning. Most important to me however, she had full control of her camera. I blog stalked her for a while and came across a juicy piece of information; there were more people who shot film and there was a whole group dedicated to film shooting, Film Is Not Dead.
After that I started thinking film. I talked film, I read film and I became obsessed with the idea. When we moved to Chicago in 2011, my husband gave me a Pentax k1000 35mm film camera. I got some rolls of Fuji from Walgreens and tried it out.
I couldn't go back after that. That fall, I signed up for the workshops run by Jon Canlas for the next summer. I had to change my plans since running around downtown Chicago in 110*F heat with 97% humidity isn't a good idea when you're five months pregnant.
This year we realized that with being in Las Vegas, it was a great time and opportunity to finally go to the workshop. I got signed up for San Diego and in mid-July, I finally got to go.
I don't know what other workshops are like, but this was amazing. Jon is down-to-earth, he was available the entire time, let us pick his brain constantly, held nothing back. He will tell you how he got every shot, what film he uses, why, what rig, why and everything else in between. With a lot of others in the photography industry, there's this idea of "trade secrets" and folks can be very possessive of their skills. Jon's philosophy is that "[he] can hand you [his] camera with all the same settings and because we're different people it doesn't matter if we copy [him] exactly because we're not going to get the same shot."
My brain ached from the amount of information that I was frantically trying to cram into it over the three day workshop. He spent time going over whatever we wanted his input on and I think I learned more from other people's reviews than I did from my own. He went over what I was needing to focus on, what I needed to consider and why and why he does his the way he does. Again, no secrets.
We got to shoot several couples the first day and a family the next. He had us practice group poses using the concept of "Touching Strangers" where we would get total strangers to pretend they had some sort of relationship with one another and pose accordingly. Our final day we spent walking around the pier at Oceanside taking photos of whatever we felt inspired by.
At the risk of sounding like I'm a disciple of a cult following, I'll leave with this; Jon is only holding a limited number of workshops and I believe that only one has space left. If you can afford it, go. Just do it. You will not regret it, you will only wonder why you didn't didn't do it earlier.
All images were scanned and processed by the FINDLab.
So, long story short; I'm shooting film from now on.