Embracing the analogue

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.

The importance of personal projects

I’m 32 and I still cannot call myself an artist. I am not sure why, but it may be because:

a) I have been brainwashed by society into thinking that if I do have not a degree in arts, then I am not an artist;

b) my job is not in arts;

c) I have no idea what art is.

For now, I’ll leave a) and c) for other posts. In today’s post, I’ll focus on b), and I’ll try to explain why I think it is important for me to separate my job from my art (or whatever it is I do with photography).

Sometimes I think that if I was working on photography full-time and my income was entirely coming from it, I would not enjoy it. Even though I would like to get more recognition for it (whether it is monetary or not), I don’t do it for the money and I intend to keep it that way. Needless to say that if the money comes in through photography, great, it’s very welcome! My bare minimum being: I hope that my photography - as a hobby - pays for, at least, whatever I spend on it. That’s my goal. The surplus of that is just a bonus.

Having said that, a hobby does need work as well, and it is very easy to get distracted away from it if you do not financially depend on it. Since I don’t, I struggle to get inspired to photograph after a full day of work, or during the weekends when all I want is to be with my family… And here is where personal work comes in.

So far, all of the photographs you have seen on my website stemmed from personal work - ALL OF THEM! They stem from my travels, my day-to-day life with my family, and occasional headshots of friends. That is why they are so important for me, because it’s with these personal projects that I learn.

Every time I use photograph for a personal project, I get to experiment with a camera I am not that comfortable with, or with a film stock I have never used, or a new light setting I never got to enjoy photographing.

I hope you get an idea of why you see so many of my personal projects. I also use both Instagram and this blog to document my learning process, so that also explains a little why you see them =)

Urban vibes

In early August, I asked one of my dear friends living in Copenhagen if she could pose for a few shots with a urban vibe. We didn't plan much more than this. We met after work, before going out for dinner, and just started enjoying the full blast of the last hours of sun. This is the result.

I chose to try out the Efke KB 50 on my Bronica ETRS before the sun started to set. On my Canon A1, I had Ilford HP5 Plus 400, which would be the perfect comparison to have with the not-so-contrasty Efke KB 50. Then I ended with a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 on the Bronica to get those vibrant colours, and one of Fujifilm Superia 100. What do you think of the mix? I prefer less saturation in the colour shots, but I thought this would be a very good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.

Now, all that is left is to thank my friend: Thank you, sista! Remember we have to do it again soon ;P

Using Format