Emily Bowers

In the digital age, it seems a bit crazy to take photographs using film. It’s expensive, it can be tricky to use, and you don’t know what you’ve got until the moment is long gone. But shooting on film is magical, and what you get from it isn’t something you can recreate with anything else. It’s an image in its purest form; it’s exactly how you captured it, and it’ll stay like that forever.

I started shooting film back in 2016, and I instantly fell in love with it. The feeling I got when I saw my first roll was indescribable. I had no idea what I was going to get in my images, but they were better than I could have expected. I even got a fun accidental double exposure – another thing that makes film photography so unique.  

Shooting film has made me less afraid of making mistakes. What I get is what I get, and it’s such a comforting feeling to make art with that idea in my head. It’s also made me more patient and makes me look at the world a little closer than I did before. I have 36 shots on a roll, and I have to make each of them count.

I spent the summer shooting primarily on film because I had more time and because I wanted to document my life on something different. The photos I made make me happy, and I can’t wait to keep documenting my life on 35mm film.

Ambria Whalum 

Shooting film came into my realm of interests only recently. I knew people who shot film for fun, and I referenced photographers who shot film. I didn’t entertain the idea of shooting film myself until a friend, Emily, had texted me about a camera sale happening downtown. Without thinking twice, I jumped. For $10, I was now the owner of a Minolta x-370, a heavy, silver time machine from the ‘80s.

Almost immediately afterward, Emily and I were on a flight to Utah where we spent ten days beating the odds as Floridians not used to the beautiful death trap that is the Grand Canyon. We visited seven national parks and monuments in seven days, driving from Salt Lake City to Flagstaff, Arizona in a 1999 Honda Civic that truly had no business going that far.

Throughout the whirlwind of hiking and praying from the backseat, I was also learning how to capture moments in a more permanent way. With film, there’s no double-checking to see if you got the shot. Emily always tells me to “trust the process. What you got is what you have.” And that’s the beauty of shooting film. My first roll has so many mistakes on it, from overexposures to a shutter issue. They’re some of the best pictures I’ve taken, sentimentally.

Shortly after coming home from Utah, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia. There, I shot my first roll of black and white film. This was the roll where I had to figure out a lot of technicalities on my own, like fixing my aperture in low light.

There’s an anticipation with shooting film. Film makes me trust my instincts. I’m more conscious about what shots are worth it or not. I lean more toward the quality of film and look forward to exploring different types of film.

Enjoyed The summer on film?

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