I decided to do a FAQ for some of the questions you guys ask me the most. I wish I had time to answer each and every question individually, but unfortunately that is not possible at the moment. So without further ado, here you go:
What’s your favorite camera?
I don’t have a favorite camera… that’s like asking a mother which is her favorite child. I love all of my cameras equally… but my first born, which is a Nikon FM2, definitely has a special place in my heart.
How did you get into photography?
I took a photography/darkroom class at summer camp when I was 10 years old. When I first put a piece of paper in the developing tray and watched the image magically appear, I fell in love.
What’s your favorite brand of film?
This is a hard one…. I was a die-hard Agfa user for ages. Agfa Optima and then Agfa Ultra after the Optima was discontinued. I like bright, poppy colors that still look natural. Currently I use a lot Fujichrome Provia 100F for portraits/people and Fujichrome Velvia 100 or 50 for landscapes.
I have an [insert obscure camera here] with a [insert technical problem here], what should I do?
I don’t really know, I’m not an encyclopedia of obscure camera knowledge. When I answer these questions, I usually Googled the problem… you can do that to :)
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all over the place…. definitely from other photographers. In the “dead” category I am in love with Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton… and Herb Ritts was pretty badass too. In the “still living” category I am a big fan of Ellen Von Unwerth, Peter Lindbergh and Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf. I am also in love with Joel Peter Witkin’s black and white fine art work.
Do you shoot digital too?
Yes. I don’t despise digital, contrary to popular belief. I use a Nikon D300S for small jobs or when clients specifically require digital.
Why do you shoot film?
It’s largely because I learned on film. I feel like my photos don’t have my “style” when they’re shot on digital. And I like chemicals, they smell good.
Did you go to school for photography?
Yes, I went to the School of Visual Arts… but the program was entirely film based back then.
Do you make Photoshop changes to your film photos?
For color, contrast and regular post processing, yes. To manipulate, deform or change the image, no.
How many cameras do you have?
I’m not sure… definitely over 50. I limit myself to only cameras that still work. It prevents me from being a hoarder.
Where do you find cameras?
Everywhere! Flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops. I also get a lot of cameras from friends and family who don’t use them anymore. When people know you collect cameras, they tend to offer them to you first before throwing them away or selling them.
Where’s a good place to get started with film photography?
If you have the budget, take a darkroom class. It’s invaluable for understanding light and shadow. Otherwise, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Film Photography, in collaboration with The Photon Fantastic.