Friday, September 23, 2016

Clair Saint-Camille - 5 things I love about Film

27 year-old New England-based photographer Clair Saint-Camille who joined with us in few film photography projects before now coming back to share his thought about 'Why he loves shooting film'.

1. The nostalgia. I love finding cool vintage clothes and capturing portraits that look like they could have been taken in the 60s, 70s or 80s.  I’m primarily inspired by cinema from those decades, so it always feels rewarding for me to produce something that pays homage to those styles and aesthetics.  I sometimes use one of my grandfather’s old SLRs, and his kooky patterned strap.  It’s crazy to think of the hands that have held my other cameras, and the lives they must have affected before they came to me.

2. The experimentation. I think the culture of film photography particularly encourages experimentation.  There are so many variables to the dark room process, so many weird tricks (running a roll through the dishwasher before you shoot it, using urine for developing, crafting pinhole cameras), and so many different formats in which to work.  One of my favourite ways to experiment with film is to cross process E-6 film with C-41 chemicals.

3. The moodiness. There’s something about the grain, the way the light and colours get interpreted in the chemicals, the depth of 35mm photography that lends itself to creating captivating moods.  I say ‘creating’ the moods because it often feels like the photographs are showing a world slightly different and more intriguing than our tangible world.  I don’t know, I just think there’s something moody about the 35mm world.

4. The flora. I adore flora and fauna, and the natural world in general—especially in a 35mm photograph using expired film.  The grain, the soft focus, and the slightly (or sometimes wildly) deteriorated colour palette of an expired-film photograph captures people and flowers closer to how my brain records them with all the synesthetic melancholic sentiments attached to those memories.  I love flowers now more than ever thanks to film photography, and I love film photography now more than ever thanks to flowers.

5. The practise. It takes a while to get comfortable with film, and a lot of money and work.  Even then, working with expired film and new formats keeps me on my toes, keeps me vigilant and in the moment.  With my camera in hand time and space seem more precious, as I become more critical and more observant than I am normally.  And then I wait for the results, wondering how they’ll look, hoping they’ll look really cool and beautiful.  And sometimes I’m rewarded for my waiting, sometimes I’m disappointed.  Then I track down more film and cameras and repeat the process.  This is why I think film photography ends up being a lifestyle more often than just something casual.

See more of his work at:

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