On a quest to slow down, I try to keep my days as simple as possible. In my photography, I try to slow down by imposing some sort of limitation on myself to get me thinking and, thus, be more creative. One of those limitations is to only shoot on film.
When I was young, I was the girl that would shoot 7 to 10 rolls of film in a 3-day school trip. Most of the frames would turn out bad, but I loved doing it nonetheless. Back in the summer of 2011, I attended a Lomography workshop at the Lomography Embassy in Lisbon. Somehow, this workshop (re)introduced me to film photography and I was drawn back to it.
Film photography was here to stay, so in 2013, I gave away my Canon EOS 450D - bye bye digital - and bought a Canon A1 - still my favourite - at a store called Câmaras e Companhia in Porto. I also bought a few rolls of expired film and started shooting with it immediately.
My fascination for analogue photography comes from the need to slow down. With digital, I was taking way too many pictures and never looking back at them. Even today, I don’t go back and look at those digital files. I can’t really explain why, but it’s like they’re not real to me.
I guess being a mother helps wanting to keep every mundane experience, especially with all the memory loss that hormone imbalance comes with. Everything from a friend’s wedding to a walk to the nearby park becomes important, because you never know when a true moment will be right there in front of you. Why not just use your smart phone?, you may ask. Well, I guess I just have the sense that all those photos will get lost in endless galleries.
I’m not trying to impose on digital - actually, some of my favourite photographers shoot with digital gear -, but I guess I just crave that organic feeling of film. The manual loading of film in the camera, the sound of the shutter, the grain, the colours, and then the fact that, because it is so much more expensive, every click counts. I have to think twice (or even more) before pressing the shutter.
And the wait. Sometimes I wait months to see what I shot, and that makes it all worth it. It makes me slow down, it makes me to just sit back, relax and not worry about it. It makes me to live life in the moment, instead of immediately sit down in front of my computer (as if I don’t do that enough already), upload and edit all the images. With film, I get home, put them in my fridge, and wait to have at least 10 rolls to send to my favourite inexpensive lab, Máquinas de Outros Tempos, in Porto.
Of course there is much more to analogue than film photography. I try to embrace it in several ways. For instance, I still buy physical books, instead of keeping an endless list of eBooks. I do appreciate the search tool that PDF’s provide, but there is nothing better than smelling an actual book in your hands. I also try to keep a journal for my tasks, instead of finding one of the many apps to do it. I specially like tho follow this guideline. A few years ago, I received a typewriter for Christmas, and even though I don’t have the space to have it at the moment, I long for a day when I can have it with me and write letters to my loved ones. Letters, I still write letters and postcards. I am actually a little behind on this. Forgive me, friends! And coffee… Those that know me well, also know that I am not a real coffee drinker. I’ve always enjoyed the smell, but not the taste, so I have to add lots of mylk (plant-based). I try to quit coffee ALL. THE. TIME. but being a mom has its perks. I know I’ll manage one day, but, for now, having a cup of coffee in silence (or something close to it) is all I need sometimes.
Unfortunately, all those slow rituals crash with my minimalist quest, but more on that in another post.