My interest in film photography can be traced pretty far back into my childhood. I’ve spent a lot of time investigating various types of cameras and their functions since before ever reaching for a digital camera.
I found myself playing with my parent's old cameras and quickly took a deep interest in documenting our daily lives using methods I had discovered. Eventually, we were able to afford a small digital camera and it seemed mind blowing how incredibly convenient it was to get immediate results. We upgraded our little camera every year to get the next available megapixel that was on the market. The results, while exciting, never seemed to satisfy me the way film photography had.
I eventually regressed into my old methods with film and have spent the past ten years or so analyzing the different results of old 35mm vintage cameras and the diverse methods of developing its film.
My recent return to film studies in 2005 included using the pinhole camera. From scratch, I built several types of cameras ranging from the simple box or cylinder canister to more intricate designs such as the one below where a book was hollowed out for a film compartment. The following are a few photos, which look at one example of a pinhole camera made and the photographic results:
Nikon FM - 35mm B/W Film - NYC Washington Heights
Most of my current studies with a 35mm Nikon FM are an attempt to document the city and the changing landscape that constantly surrounds us. The results vary widely as I test different exposure lengths, overlapping images and timing of developer chemicals in my tiny Bronx apartment bathroom. The images below are a small glimpse into a few moments that were captured around various cities.
Nikon FM - 35mm B/W Film - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nikon FM - 35mm B/W Film - NYC St. John the Devine
My love of photography is the way I diagram and document the city. At one point I had opened a small business where I was cleaning, repairing and reselling cameras. As a result, I was offered several freelance jobs to photograph architectural models, spaces and events.
As the birth of cell phone photography becomes increasingly popular, it seems that anyone and everyone is a photographer. We choose to use this incredibly sharp image technology and then manipulate and transform it to appear vintage with filters and other apps.
I hope this post inspires even a few people to put down their phones and try a film camera. The results are incredibly rewarding and authentic.
Olga Anaya, Designer