Why Film?

Why film?

When my husband, Joel, bought me a 35mm film camera for our anniversary last year, to be honest, I remember thinking, "I just don't even know where to start with this thing." But something drew me to the timelessness of it, to the fact that this was a medium that my grandmother used. I was intrigued by the authenticity that film offered and to the artistic skill it required. It was a new challenge for me, but it was something I felt an insuppressible longing to pursue.

And then during spring, I was capturing photos of our family with my film camera, and I saw my daughter, Emmalyn, standing by a bush with a dreamy-looking stream of light cascading down, like a waterfall. It was absolutely magical. I remember being nervous. I took one single shot. I didn't snap shots continuously, like I might with my digital camera. Instead, I had to trust myself and trust in my ability as a photographer to capture this moment. I also had to believe in the beauty of film and in its authenticity. In its power to capture this magical moment on film and to portray it just as I was seeing it in person. I couldn't look at a screen on the back of my camera to change the settings. I just took the shot, and hoped that film wouldn't disappoint me. And it didn't. I got the scan, and it was beautiful.

Emmalyn on Kodak Gold 200 shot on my very first 35mm camera, my very first roll of film.

All mediums of photography have unique characteristics and strengths, and each photographer has to find his or her own niche... The thing that is closest to his or her own heart. When you love what you're doing, that's when you're able to produce the most beautiful photography. I have been a photographer for ten years, and I'm so thankful that my journey has led me here. I have a deep passion for film, and I feel privileged to be able to revive this unique sector of photography and to be able to share its beauty with others.

Jess on Fuji 400h, medium format

When preparing for a photography session using film, I consider the location, the lighting, and the colors that I want to be prominent in the images, and I choose the stock accordingly. If I want minty green hues to be more prevalent, I'll choose Fuji 400H. If I want to downplay harsh red tones, I'll avoid Ektar 100. I choose certain stocks for indoor settings and outdoor settings, for low-light conditions and for settings with dreamy backlight. I love the artistry and the skill involved with film photography. It is a process that takes preparation, rather than hours of editing and sorting through countless photos later.

Hillary & Harper on Portra 160, 35mm

Film photography allows me—forces me, really— to slow down and to wait for the right moment to take the shot. When I'm photographing an individual or a couple or a family, it's such an intimate experience. I'll never say, "Okay, everyone look at the camera and smile." I'm not pressing the shutter repeatedly. I am waiting for the exact moment when I know the most beautiful and most sincere scene is right there waiting to be captured on film.

I strive to photograph family in its truest form and the relationships and connections between people in their most genuine, authentic state. Sometimes that means capturing smiles. Sometimes that means capturing a mother comforting her son with a tear streaming down his cheek. I capture all aspects of life and family, all of the moments that we cherish. Those are the images that we look back at and that make our hearts swell.

My littles laugh on Ektar 100, medium format

There is such value in film photography. Again, photography in and of itself is an art form, but the most incredible images happen when the person behind the lens has a passion for what they're doing. I have absolutely fallen in love with film photography, and I hope that as my clients experience film, they too will feel the timelessness, the sincerity, and the incredible beauty that film has to offer.

A double exposure of Sam on Fuji400h

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Mary Beth Photography is located in North Judson, IN serving Valparaiso, IN and surrounding communities.

© 2019 Mary Beth Johnson Photography