Recently my lecturer gave me an old film camera out of the blue, which was perfect because I had been wanting to shoot on film for a while. The next day I went out and bought my first roll of film and started shooting, a roll of film which would end up being ruined by the rookie mistake of exposing the film to light. I mainly use it for social situations to keep all the memories without having to carry my heavy camera around with me all the time and my friends soon started asking me why I like to shoot film and it made me think. There feels like an intrinsic feeling but sometimes it is worth thinking about it and exploring the reasons you find it fun.

After spending the last year on exchange and visiting cities around Europe I always kept tickets and souvenir shrapnel in a little bag buried away in my room. Eventually, I put them in a book where I keep my memories and it made me realise how great it is to keep physical memories. With everything increasingly going digital, all the messages from friends and photos are online and as a result, I rarely go back to look at them. Even when you do, it feels like there is something missing, the strength of emotion – something quite raw and unique! So now I travel with a journal for people to write in any random page with their name and date when I meet them. The idea: when the book is full, it will be full of disordered memories.

Already I have looked back at the book more times than any Facebook message or e-mail..

Back to the film camera, as a photographer it makes you appreciate the full process of taking a picture. In many ways. Initially, you decide whether a moment is worth capturing and if so, put your full concentration on it. Each element – the shutter speed, aperture and focus have to be physically changed and it all requires more attention. The result: that beautiful sound of clunky mechanics working independently to, for a brief moment, let in light and physically burn the moment on photosensitive film. The silence is then broken by cranking the lever to wind the roll of film primed to capture the next photograph. Now, having worked in event and nightclub photography a lot, people often want to see the picture or maybe retake to try a different pose; with film, there is none of that and your attention is immediately back to carrying on with your life. The vivid descriptions are everything about the process that I love – having to wait a few days or weeks to see the pictures; no problem!

In fact, I embrace that as one of my favourite parts of the process. You have to make time in your day to put the roll of film in for development before a few days later picking the prints up and holding the negatives up to light out of curiosity. You receive an envelope and by that point you have forgotten many of the details you put into the photographs but because at the time your attention was there it all comes flooding back. Sitting in a coffee shop, holding those memories in your hands and thinking about each one noting down on the back the dates and memories associated with. The point of completion which encapsulates the process and why I do it, the smile to yourself is a reward in itself.

I rarely print out any pictures that I have taken digitally and similarly I don’t have my film pictures saved onto a CD and few of them will I ever put online – unlike those in the gallery below which are specific for this blog. It makes me take more care of them. But also, I prefer to enjoy them for the moment and then send them off to the friends of which some are taken so that they too can relive the moments. It’s important for your own well-being to experience these emotions…

…and that, my friends, is why I shoot film.

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