Back in high school, I took my first photography class in tenth grade (Black and White 35mm beginning photography with Mr. Williams at Hilltop High School in 2005). We had to have a manual 35mm SLR camera (film!) for the class, so I borrowed my mom’s old AE-1. I learned a lot from that camera and really enjoyed taking photos with it. It was the first SLR camera I ever used and it yielded the first roll of film I developed and printed with my own two hands. I graduated on to a Canon Rebel T2 35mm film camera the next year when I took advanced photography. Shortly thereafter, I got a Canon Digital Rebel XT DSLR.
After jumping into the digital world and making some money with the Rebel, I was able to upgrade to a Canon 40d and started buying some nice Canon “L” glass. Then I was fortunate enough to work with Richard Cassey and his staff at Air Marketing on some big resort projects, which enabled me to afford a Panasonic HVX200. This led me to work with Mad Media as an intern for a while in college while I studied Television, Film and New Media.
After a while there, I moved on to work for the County of San Diego Department of Child Support Services as a student worker, doing all of their video production with an HVX. With the introduction of the new video-capable HDSLR’s, I knew I had to sell my HVX before it’s value dropped too much.
I purchased a Canon 5D Mark II shortly after it came out – and it was my dream camera. It’s a full frame camera, 21 megapixels, great ISO performance and HD video capable with interchangeable lenses on a 35mm sensor (hello DoF!) That camera is/was a game changer and I truly love everything about it (although I do wish it had 60fps and raw file format for video, but I can live with what I have for now).
As I really started to hone my skills and style, I developed an interest in good ol’ film. I collected several old cameras from eBay and eventually came across a Mamiya 645 1000s for sale on Craigslist (which I picked up, more on that later…) and decided that I wanted to go back to my film roots and found an old AE-1 on eBay.
There’s just something about film that digital doesn’t have. You can make the most amazing and beautiful images on digital (or manipulate them until they are that way), but they still don’t have the same feeling of film. Film feels so real, so intimate. You have to pay more attention to what you are doing and be more careful with film. Theres more dynamic range, more appealing grain structure, tangible images rather than 1′s and 0′s on a computer screen. You have to be patient and you never know what you’ll end up with.
Since picking up those cameras, I’ve been experimenting ever since – trying new films, trying old expired films, cross processing and more. Film has become the medium that I get to keep for myself to just enjoy taking pictures instead of feeling like I’m working all the time.
Now, after all that blabbing (I really didn’t anticipate rambling that long), I share with you some images from the AE-1. They aren’t phenomenal pieces of art by any means, but that doesn’t even matter to me. What matters is that they are fun to make and I love the vintage aspect of this LoFi artform.