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Celebrating the art, process, and gear of the film photography community!

18 May '19

Taylar Stauss: Musician, Photographer, and Mobile Darkroom Tech!

Posted by Mike Padua

Taylar Stauss Featured on ShootFilmCo

Easily the best part of ShootFilmCo is that I get to meet some of the greatest, most interesting artists doing the most unique work. When I came across was Taylar Stauss was doing, I had to talk to her and learn more about it.

She is photographer, musician, and she tours with a mobile darkroom! I'm going to turn it over to her to tell you all about it:

Tell us about yourself

I’m Taylar! I was born and raised in Nashville, TN and currently live here as well.

How did you get started taking photos?

I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember. My first camera was a little P&S that I took to school and parks and pretty much anywhere I could. I’d save my pocket money and get them developed at Walgreens. In high school and college I took disposable cameras to every single party. That’s more or less where my love for (and style of) candid, behind-the-scenes photography came from. It annoyed my friends to no end, but ten years later they’re all grateful that I did it because no one else in our friend group documented those moments.

Photo © Taylar Stauss

You're in a band: what's your musical background and how did that band come to be?

Yes! I’m the frontwoman for Peach. The band’s inception is a bit of a winding tale.

I actually have a pretty deep musical background. I was in choir for ten years, as well as musical theater and opera. I was professionally trained at UT Chattanooga for two years before switching to Music Business at MTSU. I quit singing about four years ago.

Peach was born out of a desperate need for catharsis. Last year I was blindsided by secrets my husband had kept from me that spanned the entirety of our relationship and led to our divorce. It was brutal. Despite my best efforts to keep our relationship alive, everything was ripped out from under me: my home, life, future, everything I knew.

I found all of this out three days before going on tour with Early Humans (the band I work most closely with). We had a run with West Means Home, and I found out that they lived about two and a half hours away in Florence, Alabama. Nashville was dead for me, and I was wasting away. I decided (rather rashly) to move to Florence. I figured if I was going to start over, at least I’d know a couple of people. One of West Means Home’s guitarists (Zack) and I became fast friends. We were hanging out at a friend’s house one night and, after generous amounts of whiskey, I decided to show him some things I’d written, and sang for the first time in a long time. We wrote a song that night, and within 2 months we formed Peach, wrote two more songs, and recorded the Peach EP with two members of Early Humans and our current drummer.

Taylar Stauss developing film on the road

If I’m being honest, the entire EP was kind of a big “fuck you” as well as the only healthy outlet I had for my horrifying grief. Back when we were first dating, my ex-husband and I were at a Hozier concert. I’m used to the DIY scene, and singing in general, so singing along to the music is my way of enjoying a show. I was asked, rather coldly, to stop singing because, “we came to hear Hozier, not you.” It was the first time in my life that anyone had asked me NOT to sing. It affected me so badly that I did stop. Completely. Until Peach.

Zack and I decided to part ways after West Means Home started gaining traction. He gave me his blessing to continue Peach without him, and to take the songs we’d been working on with me. I moved back home in February; Peach is now made up of myself, Ryan Vaniman, Adam Cox, and Zach Crooks. We’ve all been friends for over ten years, graduated high school together, have all been around each other during various musical pursuits, and never even thought about making music together. It was perfect timing; everything fell into place and we just enjoyed our full-band debut and EP release show in Nashville this past Wednesday. We’re currently working on a potential split, singles, and a full-length record. It’s really exciting and incredibly humbling. I never thought I’d do anything like this. I never expected anyone to care. I just needed to do something to get the poison out. The reception has been absolutely astounding.

Taylar Stauss developing film on the road

You've given yourself a very unique project: you're developing and scanning your own film on the road. What brought you to think of that?

Honestly, I hate digital photography. It’s necessary on the road to provide daily content for bands, but I don’t enjoy it. Film was my first love; I learned to shoot on a manual 35mm camera. I wanted to find a way to incorporate film on tour without having to wait for the end to send it off for development. I started compiling a list of gear I’d need to make it a reality about a month ago and just took the mobile lab on the road for the first time last week.

What challenges have you faced while shooting and developing on the road?

Mostly exhaustion, and forgetting essential pieces of gear. We’re in a van most of the day, I’m trying to catch film-worthy shots between shows and pleasure stops while also shooting digital photo and video. By the end of the night, wherever we’d end up, I was completely wiped and had to wait for everyone to use the bathroom, shower, do whatever before I could get in to develop and dry the film. Motivation was hard to find. My scanner isn't the greatest either, so it's difficult to get quality renderings of the film from time to time.

Being that it was my first tour with the mobile rig, I forgot a few things that were essential to the operation. We were three states away before I realized I had left my film reel in another developing tank. I tried developing a roll without one and ruined half of it. I also forgot a can opener, stop bath, a container to save my fix, and a USB-C adapter for my scanner. Thankfully most of it was easy to find; I ended up using rice vinegar as my stop bath and a friend of the band had a USB-C adapter. I wasted some fix, but otherwise it was alright. Huge shoutout to Safelight District (Chattanooga’s new community darkroom) for providing me with a reel. I was desperately searching for a solution after I left Atlanta’s only darkroom supply store empty-handed, found them, and reached out through Facebook. Turns out that their darkroom was right next door to that night’s venue, and they left a reel on the front steps for me. If anyone ever wonders what the film community is like, that’s a perfect picture of the love we share with one another.

Photo © Taylar Stauss

What gear/film are you shooting with?

I shoot with a Nikon FG-20 and a 50mm f/1.8 pancake. The FG-20 was my first camera, given to me by my dad three years ago. It’s still my daily shooter, despite having purchased and tried automatics (like my poor Nikon N80, which is collecting dust). I love that camera more than anything. I was shooting with a Sunpak 422D Thyristor flash, which got demolished the third day of tour. Thankfully we were able to stop through Atlanta on the road and I got myself a Nikon SB-16 Speedlight for $20. I’d wanted it for a while, so it was a very exciting purchase.

For this tour I shot on Ilford Delta 100 and Ilford FP4+. I’ve done C-41 development by hand, but because of the temperature requirements (and lack of experience) I just shot black and white. I’d REALLY like to figure out a way to get a Jobo on the road so I can do color as well.

What chemicals are you using?

Ilfosol-3 Developer, rice vinegar (1:4) for stop, and Ilford Rapid Fix. Typically I’ll use an actual stop bath or distilled white vinegar dilution, but since neither was available I found the most plain vinegar I could that had at least a 4% acidity. We stayed with one of the band member’s parents one night and raided the spice cabinet for that one.

For those who haven't developed their own film yet, any words of wisdom and encouragement?

Film is a temperamental, unforgiving, frustrating, incredible, and glorious art form; the lessons you learn from messing it up are, at times, extremely demoralizing. Don’t give up. Give it the time it deserves; the reward is in the wait.

I wasted my first ten rolls of film. I was loading my camera incorrectly and basically shot photos on the same frame over and over again without having a clue. The lab I sent it to (and my film mentor) emailed me to let me know, sent me ten rolls of his own stock, and told me to try again. I’ve never looked back.

Follow Taylar and Peach:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/t.e.film615 / https://www.facebook.com/abandcalledpeach/

Instagram: @t.e.film / @abandcalledpeach

Twitter: @tayladyy / @bandcalledpeach

Bandcamp: https://www.abandcalledpeach.bandcamp.com

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6f7WQhDA3f9u2dPeY17CsY

30 Apr '19

Inspired by the Rolleiflex: New Shirts and Hoodies in Collaboration with Artist Victor "Tijuanauta" Lebowski

Posted by Mike Padua

Roll With It Rolleiflex Heart T-Shirt from ShootFilmCo

Last year, my friend Eduardo shared with me a t-shirt with an illustration created by his friend, Victor... The illustration was so dramatic and striking that I knew I wanted to work with him in some way. I figured the best way to start would be to collaborate with him on bringing his art to my audience.

In the process I got to know him better and I want to share with you his thought process behind his work and creating this piece of art that we're offering you now. I'm going to let him tell you about his work in his words:

Victor Lebowski, aka Tijuanauta in Tijuana with the famous Tijuana Zonkey

Photo © Eduardo Heredia Cabuto. All Rights Reserved.

"My name is Victor Lebowski, a.k.a. Tijuanauta. I am a Tijuana based graphic designer and illustrator.

"As most people who are inclined to drawing, I started at a very young age, pretty much as soon as I could hold a crayon. What I lacked in social skills growing up I made up with a keen sense of curiosity, imagination and creativity. Always looking for something to create, a story to tell, a feeling to express or simply the wish to draw something because it's fun. It is difficult for me to pinpoint where inspiration comes from, because it could come from anywhere and anything; from the brightest moments to the darkest feelings. I never had any kind of formal training, so I always did things my way, without preconceptions of how things should be like. That is until I got to college, where I studied Digital Graphic Design. That gave me a lot of the tools I needed to do what I love: translating ideas, thoughts and feelings into graphic form in a more elaborate way, always keeping a balance between what I want to express and the functionality of it.

"I mostly like to work with ink and paper, and when I mean paper, I don't mean only the traditional paper formats, but ANY KIND of paper I can get my hands on: napkins, purchase receipts, paper placements, bus tickets, boxes, envelops, etc. I love the idea of transcendence and spontaneity; grabbing something that is meant to be disposable and give it new life, making it more than it was. A lot of my work is done on the go, not being limited by a sketchbook when inspiration hits. I also enjoy digital illustration because it's a great way to adapt my works, making it more accessible to the public, taking advantage of new technologies and platforms.

"The theme behind this design is the Passion for Photography. It is inspired by a quote I read by Arnold Newman that says “A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” I know this quote talks about being a good photographer or not, but honestly I think that what it comes down to it, deep down is all about how much you love being a photographer. Photography is more than the camera or the finished result, it is experiencing the process of using your head, your heart and the camera, a device that works as an extension of your body in order to freeze a moment in time, making it last forever. Anybody could take a photograph, but not everybody will take one that will have life of it's own. The camera is just fancy device, what is truly important is who is holding it. And that is what it's all about.

Roll With It Rolleiflex Heart T-Shirt from ShootFilmCo

Roll With It Rolleiflex Heart T-Shirt from ShootFilmCo

Roll With It Rolleiflex Heart Hoodie from ShootFilmCo

Roll With It Rolleiflex Heart Hoodie from ShootFilmCo


11 Apr '19

Film Photography Day 2019

Posted by Mike Padua

April 12 is Film Photography Day! I'm celebrating at ShootFilmCo by Sharing YOUR work in our ongoing series, In The Frame, where we feature film photographers, their gear, and their thought processes, and most importantly, their work.

Check out a few of the latest features:

Gandy Street by Hannah O'Brien

Gandy Street, © Hannah O'Brien - See Hannah's feature

Film photographer Hope Roach at ShootFimCo

Self portrait © Hope Roach - See Hope's feature

Film Photography Day DEALS!

I'm always trying to hunt down deals to save a few bucks--this is an expensive hobby after all, what with film, paper, chemicals, and cameras. So I figure I should ask a few friends to hook up some discounts, and here's what I found for you!

7Artisans Lenses are 10% off at 35mmc.com

7Artisans lenses at 35mmc.com

Orders over $75 get a FREE roll of film at Japan Camera Hunter

JCH StreetPan 400


10% Off Your Purchase from Polaroid Originals with Code ShootFilmCo10

Polaroid Originals OneStep


20% Off at ONA with code SHOOTFILM19

ONA Brixton Bag


Film Photography Project: Kodak ColorPlus $3.99/Roll

Kodak ColorPlus 200 at Film Photography Project


20% Off Beers & Cameras Shutter Releases, Hats, and Stickers with Code "BCFAM"

Beers and Cameras Soft Releases by Artisan Obscura

The Darkroom giveaway: Lomo LC-A 120 and Lomography film

Lomo LC-A from The Darkroom


Lomography is offering 20% off Lomochrome Purple preorders, 15% off all film if you buy a camera, and 15% off Lomo'Instant Square

Lomochrome Purple from Lomography

20% Off Everything at ShootFilmCo with code FILMDAY2019

20% Off at ShootFilmCo for Film Photography Day 2019

10 Apr '19

In The Frame: Photographer Hannah O'Brien

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews
Black and white photograph of Gandy Street by film photographer Hannah O'Brien
All photos © Hannah O'Brien

I'm Hannah, I'm 24 and I'm a passionate photographer from Exeter, Devon; in the South West of England. Photography is my main passion in life and has been for quite some time now. Despite at times not being able to get out of the house to pursue my photography endeavours all of the time, due to being chronically ill the past 11 years with severe M.E, which unfortunately means that I'm bed bound 95% of the time. For that other small 5% when I'm hoisted into my wheelchair, I seize those opportunities more than anything and don't take a single moment for granted. I fill as much photography as I can in those outings and that time spent pursuing my passion means so very much to me.

I adore shooting film and everything that surrounds this way of capturing images. I've been interested in film photography for a long while now, but as my passion for photography in general has grown over the past few years, so has my intrigue for film. I love the personality and soul film photos have opposed to digital images, there's just so much more within the image that can be portrayed to the viewer. It's also so important to me how much film photography slows me down. Each and every shot on a roll is so much more valuable and I truly savour each of them, most especially when working with medium format.

Black and white photograph of Exeter Cathedral by film photographer Hannah O'Brien

The main camera I'm currently gravitating to is my Yashica Mat TLR. It happens to be my first medium format camera and I'm absolutely in love with this camera and the personality that oozes from it.
In regards to film I'm really loving Ilford FP4+ (in 120 specifically), as well Kodak Portra 400.

I'm submitting three images from the project I have recently completed, titled- 'Isca; The Eras Of Exeter', which is a piece of work that portrays the history the city I live in has over various eras in time, which is shown dominantly through architecture.
I was lucky enough to exhibit this project in a fantastic local arts festival this July in Exeter.

Black and white photo RAMM by film photographer Hannah O'Brien

It was all captured with my beloved Yashica Mat and the film used was; Ilford FP4+ and Kodak Portra 400.

Although, the three images I'm sharing where all taken with FP4+.

Apart from being shown at the local arts festival on July 8th, 2018, I haven't posted any of the images from this series of 10 photos myself online yet. And only one of them has been seen on social from being posted by the great site Your Exhibition.

I'm hoping to display the project again locally very soon and then make a series of print boxes that will be for sale on my website later in the year if all goes well.

06 Apr '19

In The Frame: Photographer Hope Roach

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews
chair in leaves with light leaks at bottom
All photos © Hope Roach. All rights reserved.
Hi, I’m Hope and I’m an eighteen year old film and digital photographer living in Columbus, Ohio. I started shooting my freshman year when I took an Intro to Photography course, never really thinking that it would stick. However my teacher became my mentor, friend, and father figure and helped guide me to expressing my thoughts into my photography. I have found a great love and appreciation for the world and my life because of photography. Photography allows me to cope with my anxiety, depression, and chronic illness in a healthy and positive way. I am so thankful to be able to continue my art throughout college at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Visual Communication majoring in Photojournalism. I am excited to go down a new path for my photography and see where it leads me.
backlit clouds against blue sky by Hope Roach
I love the intimacy of film. When I shoot film it’s such a personal experience that I can’t replicate with digital. The thought that it’s easy to mess up the exposure or get the angle wrong makes me really think about what I am doing, seeing, and shooting. After shooting comes developing which is my absolute favorite part of film. I love knowing that I am creating art with my hands, and that I can mess it up. The feelings that you experience when your film comes out or doesn’t are so overwhelming. I’ve cried and I’ve cheered over film, it all depends. Film is an intricate and interesting medium and I think that’s what I love so much about it.
Of all the cameras I’ve shot I can say that I personally love my Olympus OM10 the most. It’s a small, quirky camera that is so much fun to just take out and shoot with. I think I love this camera so much because I’m so attached to it, I have shot over 25 rolls on it. I shoot color film, Fujicolor, Kodak Gold, Portra, Velvia, Ektar are some examples. I love shooting the world the way I see it so color film is an obvious choice for me. However I do love to edit my color photos to B&W when I’m feeling something a bit different in post than I was before.

I’m submitting some pieces from very different points in my photography and in my life. I have grown with my photography and have learned from it as well. Everything I shoot is for fun, to see the world through my eyes. I love this planet and I love documenting it.

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