Want to be a photographer? Start with film
For the past three months, I’ve brought a seriously old-school film camera along for pretty much every adventure. I’m a photographer-in-training, fighting the urge to snap seven different photos of the same scene in hopes that one of them will be amazing.
I took photojournalism in college, so I know the basics of the triangle of exposure and the rules of composition. But where I have really practiced my photography up until now is on my cell phone, where I can take a hundred different variations of the same image until I run out of space.
You can scroll through my Instagram and see that I’ve improved, substantially, in just the past year, but aiming a tiny screen at gorgeous, looming mountains does no good. Even the most sophisticated iPhone can’t capture the height and depth of mountains so far away.
So, a few months ago, I asked my professional photographer boyfriend to teach me. He said I could borrow his 1970s Olympus, and I ordered some film.
The grain was too much for me at first, and I felt disappointed when I picked up the first two rolls of Havasupai photos, transferred to CDs, and my photos looked like they could have been taken before I was born. “#embracethegrain,” I tagged them on Instagram.
But now I love the retro look and can't get enough of it. There is certainly some magic in waiting for your photos and discovering a few true gems you never could have expected.