Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Scott Southall - 5 things I love about Film

Scott Southall is a 28-year-old American film photographer from Columbia, South Carolina. He loves to shoot portrait, especially beautiful female models with different film cameras.

Scott has just been featured on Shooting Film for 1 month. He has different reasons to keep his passion on shooting film and he want to share with us his main ones.

1. A love of film is contagious. I've photographed a number of people that have never had their photos taken with a Polaroid camera, and the wonder that engulfs them as they see the image slowly start to develop is a joy to watch. More than one of my models is addicted to film now, learning to wield old cameras as well and searching out more and more photographers that share our love of film.

2. Film is a relationship worth having. Anyone can shoot with a digital camera. You pick it up, set it on auto, and snap shots to your hearts content. It's all love at first sight and passion that burns fast. You can shoot 800 frames of the same thing, and keep only the one that you got right, discarding the rest.

Film is a love you have to build and truly want. The first roll of film I ever loaded into a 35mm camera didn't catch, and I wasted it. The second one took, but I learned that my camera had no seals and the photos were stained with light leaks and imperfections. I started with frustrations, and there has been one struggle after another to learn how these cameras that are either as old as I am or that predate me work and move. But I'm love it all; if this wasn't something that truly grabbed me and held on tight, I wouldn't still be at it after 4 years. This could have gone very differently with a digital camera. I couldn't see myself saying I'd never stop taking images that only exist in a digital cloud.

3. Film and film cameras are like quiet partners. I've had a habit of meeting new people and talking incessantly ever since I started photography, and when I reach that point in the conversation where I ask "Can I take your picture?", I know that there would have been a lot more negative responses had I been using digital cameras. You see digital cameras everywhere, so most people aren't fazed by them. I sucked for a long time when I kicked off this photography thing, so to be another guy with a common camera would have stopped those conversations in their tracks. But when you pull out a Polaroid SX-70 and people have no idea what you're holding until you pop it open, there is amazement in their eyes. I haven't run into many people that have encountered an SX-70 before, or my Mamiya C330 so you get to show them something new. That curiosity has given me a chance to get in the door many times, and I'm grateful to this cameras for that.

The film itself is a partner in an entirely different way though. The Impossible Project started producing instant film just before I ever picked up my first Polaroid camera, so I've grown up with that film. And for anyone that's used it in the past few years, you know how unpredictable it can be. I've had half of an idea in mind for a shot or a specific vision I wanted to capture, and I've ended up with a surprise many times. I've got a number of photos that are like miracles, little unique wonders I couldn't recreate if I tried, and I love them.

4. Film makes me take my time. As has already been said in previous versions of this series of posts, when you only have 12 medium format shots or 8 Impossible Project shots, you tend to take your time and look for the best shots possible. The added bonus for me is that I get more time to run my mouth. I love getting to know the people I'm shooting with, tell jokes, and wander around parks and the city looking for the best possible shot. Treating a shoot like an adventure and waiting for my models to organically do interesting things is my favorite way to spend my days.

5. All of my teachers use film. I never got to take photography classes in high school or college, so I was inspired to start taking photos by the artists I found on Flickr and other places online. The vast majority of the photography that made me want to create was taken with film cameras. Artist like Lou Noble, Parker Fitzgerald, Zoetica Ebb, Michelle Karpman, and Amanda Jasnowski have endlessly motivated me to keep trying to get better with every photo they take. Film is contagious, and these are the brilliant people that got me hooked on it.

See more of his work at:

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