I am not sure how I first heard or found out about the Film Shooter’s Collective. It probably had to do with fellow Muse, Cara, but to be honest I really don’t remember. What I do know is that film is not dead, especially when it comes to the contributors to the FSC website. I took some time earlier last month to chat with Cameron Kline, the creator of this film loving community. I hope you enjoy his answers as much as I did when first reading through them.
The five photographs Cameron is sharing today are part of series he calls, Cambodia 2013. His instrument of choice? The medium format, Fujifilm GA645. Cameron wrote a great review of the camera on the Film Shooter’s collective blog last November. So when you are done reading his interview here, click over to this link and learn more.
How did you come up with the idea for the Film Shooters Collective?
The Film Shooters Collective came about shortly after Instagram changed it’s terms and conditions to say “we own your soul” sometime in the Fall of 2012. I wanted to create a place where film photographers could share work and have discussions about
photography and make that a place far from the hashtag “yolo”. I had made some pretty awesome friends on Instagram, but was really bummed out about the terms of service, and honestly a little burnt out on the whole idea of sharing serious photography on a platform like that. I’m not saying that you can’t share serious photos on social media, I’m just saying for me it doesn’t work. I needed somewhere slower, and with less pressure to produce.
Do you only shoot film cameras, or do you also use digital on a regular basis? Did you leave film and come back to it or?
For me it’s probably a 70/30 ratio between the film cameras and the digital cameras. The most important quality to me is repeatability, and I think I’ve grown to be formulaic in my shooting so I know what to expect a lot of the time with film. Digital feels like an experiment sometimes, and I think that’s kind of cool too so when I want to see what something will look like I’ll try it with a digital camera. I care less about the medium than I think most people would believe. It’s of far greater concern to me the content of the photograph than what it was shot on or how it was made.With that said, I do think there’s some importance to the tools which we use, but I think that instead of asking “what was this shot with” I think we should ask “how did you shoot this”, or “why did you shoot this?” I’m pumping up my chest a little bit when I say this, but I’ve shot film since the beginning pretty much.
The first camera I owned was this Canon Powershot A510 which boasted 3.2 megapixels. I know you’re blown away right now, 3.2 million pixels. At some point, and for a reason I can’t remember, I decided that if I ever wanted to be taken seriously with my A510 I needed to learn more about the fundamentals of photography and that meant film. It seems funny now that I was concerned about being taken seriously while I was using my Best Buy point and shoot, but I digress. At the time I lived in Portland, OR and they have a couple of really excellent resources for film photographers. I signed up for an intro to black and white class and was hooked. After that I started spending a lot of time at Newspace Center for Photography taking various workshops, most of them film based.
What film cameras do you own and which one get’s the most time in your hands?
I have a pretty disturbing collection of cameras. . .
Canon EOS 3
Olympus Pen F
Honestly it’s probably a tie between the Leica M6 and the Olympus Pen F, but I rotate them pretty liberally depending on what I’m working on at the time. It’s funny because I actually didn’t like the M6 when I first got it. My M4 had died, and I “needed” a replacement so I picked up the M6. The meter in the finder drove me a little crazy, and it just didn’t feel the same to me. After a brief period of adjustment it’s become a favorite and has traveled the world with me.
Is photography a career or a hobby for you?
It’s my purpose I think. Which might sound corny, but I think it’s true. For a few years I did wedding photography full-time, and it was really challenging, but also rewarding. At the moment I’m living in Japan in support of my wife’s career, so I’ve given up on weddings in pursuit of personal projects and editorial work. When we return to ‘Merica I’ll continue doing photography the way I am now and see where it leads. It’s already looking like a promising year and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me. Most importantly I’m in love with it and so whether I stay at the level I’m at with small commissions or make it big it doesn’t matter.
What do you want people to know most about film photography?
It’s important for everyone to know how easy film photography is. Think about it, your parents did it for years, and I’ve said this before, but only a few of us can say our parents are actually rocket scientists. As an aside, I think it’s also important for people to know that film is awesome, and I know that’s not a tangible quality, but it is true.
When you get negatives back from the lab or watch a print emerge from a developing tray for the first time it’s magic. It’s that part of the process that I think we all can potentially agree is important to preserve. On the flip side of that I’m not advocating that film photographers simply should be preservationists; we should be out there making important bodies of work. Find a film and camera combination that you love and go out there and express yourself. “Wow” people with how awesome your work is. That’s the most important thing.
What exciting things does the FSC have happening in 2014?
We actually just finished out first book together which is a collection of photos telling stories from all across the globe. The dedication that some of the folks put forth in this project is second to none and I think the final product really illustrates that. We’re going to follow up on the success of the first book with not one, but two more! One of the books will be a follow up to the one we produced last year, and the other title will be devoted solely to the magic of instant photography. There’s a chance we’re going to see a webshop this year as well with all sorts of awesome stuff, our books, and rare film!
Where can our audience find out more about you, and about the Film Shooters Collective?
Well, I’d encourage everyone within ear shot to check out the Film Shooters Collective website. It really is an incredible group of photographers regardless of the mediums they’re working in. If you’d like to find out more about the work I do you can visit me on my website, and feel free to drop me a line; I love to chat about photography.
* You can also keep up with Cameron and the Film Shooters Collective on twitter, @cameron_kline and @film_shooters or follow along on the Facebook page .
Words of film shooting wisdom?
No grain, no glory!
Keep those shutters snapping, Vanessa Simpson