First Roll of Film Ever is my newest series right here on Shooting Film. Here, I would be investigating your very first encounter with film: when and how you got into analogue photography, what your first camera was, what film you used, where you spent your first roll, how the actual pictures appeared, what lessons you learned, and how it was like to shoot with film—for the very first time.
Today's story is by Andra Mavropol.
1. When did you first get into film photography?
"When I was in the fourth grade, I found my grandfather’s camera and planned to use it at a friend’s birthday party. I asked my father if it was still working and he said ‘yes’. I didn’t know it was a half-frame camera so I was surprised at the amount of photos it could take. Unfortunately, I thought the camera wasn’t working properly, so I opened it, although the film was not finished. So my first attempt wasn’t a happy one. But, few years ago my boyfriend bought a Smena 8M, and after n years, I remembered I still had my grandfather’s camera and decided to give it another shot.
2. What was the first film camera and which kind of film did you use?
"The camera was Chajka II with an Industar-6 lens, which has a focal length of 28 mm. I still have it, and still use it from time to time. My first film was the cheapest I could find, namely Kodak color, since I didn’t expected for it to work."
3. How did you spend the entire roll? Where did you shoot?
"I was in my first year of philosophy when I shot my first roll. I used it basically to photograph things related to my life as a student: nature, people, a Japanese festival, and the place where I lived. So there were all sorts: from portraits of colleagues, to architecture (the university where I studied), origami, and the woods in which I used to take walks from time to time."
4. How was your first roll? When you saw the outcomes, what was the feeling like?
"For some reason, I was surprised at how the first roll came out to be. Some of the photos were very sharp and saturated – and I never expected that to happen. As I was saying, I was studying philosophy and was very interested in aesthetics. At the library there weren’t so many texts on photography, so I decided to learn more and write something relevant in the field. So, this inspired me to write my MA dissertation on photography."
5. After taking your first roll ever, what did you keep in mind for your next rolls?
"After my first roll, I read Vilem Flusser, so although I was proud of how my photos came out, I thought I had to change perspective to a more post-modern one. So, what I kept in mind was that I shouldn’t focus so much on sharpness, vividness and such, since everything is not what it seems."
Author's Note: Want to share a story about your first roll of film ever? Email me!