I have always wanted to try and shoot on a film camera, there is something unique about film imagery, it all feels so raw and authentic. As you may have noticed, all of our features are shot on film. I have been meaning to buy a film camera for several years now but it’s been one of those things – I just never bought one. A couple of months ago, I visited Somerset (on the West coast of the UK). While I was mooching around the streets of a small town there, I walked past a secondhand/random trash store and saw some old cameras in their shop window. So I went in and bought this Pentax camera for £20, the store owner claimed it to be “excellent”. To be honest, I have experience with video cameras, but not with these kinds of cameras. I tried it with him… It made some noises, it felt good to go.
Growing up I always took my own photos (on digital cameras) and while I studied my A Levels (in fashion) at Leeds College of Art, I had a photography lesson every week for two years. Now, that’s now quite a few years ago, without practice, so I have lost a lot of the knowledge I gained at the time about light, exposure etc.. I’ve kept all my other skills sharp, like on Premiere Pro, Photoshop, etc.. so I’m just keen to get photographing again – especially so I can contribute to CULTED visually.
Around a month after buying the Pentax film camera, I finally hit up Laura Aguilera, who you’ve probably seen in quite a few credits of our images. Laura shoots most of our features because I love her work, the images always come out feeling so effortless. She sat down with me and showed me the basics about using the camera, she also thought my camera was fine. I guess the fun in these cameras is in the anticipation of waiting for the images, you just don’t know what they will look like until you have developed them.
I thought I would give it a go last weekend and take behind the scenes photos on our shoot for our recent shopping guide with our close collaborator TJ Sawyerr and our style and sneaker editor Sam Le Roy. Laura was shooting that day, it was good to have her there while I was having a go for the first time. During the shoot, I used a whole roll, snapping left, right and centre. Laura did me a favour at the end of our shoot and took my film roll with hers to the lab to be developed. A few days later she rang me, sadly with bad news. My whole roll turned out blank – there were no images. Turns out the camera doesn’t actually work. I’m still unsure what’s wrong with it.
I was a little annoyed, but felt it was a good experience and afterall, I guess this can happen to anyone. It’s the fun in shooting with film, it’s the unknown. I still wanted to share my experience, because the point of this is that I have a lot of respect for photographers who shoot on film. It’s clearly challenging to get the hang of, it needs patience, consistency, a good eye and most importantly lots of practice.
Laura advised me to go and try to get my camera fixed, but I have already started looking at some others online which are tested and come with a 12 month warranty. So who knows, I might soon write another story, with images taken by me. Stay tuned!