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Celebrating film photography, gear, and artists. Check out gear talk and interviews in the blog!

18 Aug '18

In The Frame: John Helmuth


John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

All Photos © John Helmuth
Instagram: @jhelmuth87

 My name is John Helmuth. I'm currently living in Philadelphia, but grew up right over the bridge in South Jersey. I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011 with a BA in Graphic Design. I've been a film photographer since 2000-2001 when I got my first film camera, a Canon AE-1p. I stopped shooting film for a long time to get more digital work, but ended up selling all of my digital gear to invest in some Leica gear about 2 years ago. Most of my freelance work is shooting classic cars and classic car shows / events, but since I live in Philadelphia I always find myself shooting around the city focusing on whatever catches my eye. People, architecture, signage, all different things. I also usually travel with a batch of film whenever I'm on vacation.

John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

I ended up getting back into film photography a few years ago after taking a long break because I found my digital work more or less getting lost in the sea of digital photography online. I was able to get a better a response from my film work while continuing to photograph the same things I shot with digital. On top of getting more recognition for my film work, I love geeking out and getting into the more technical side of film. Absolutely love finding my favorite black and white films, using certain color films for certain times of day, pushing film to gain more light and texture and making the subjects of my images feel like they're from another space and time by just using certain types of film. Not to mention making new friends and being included in the film photography community.

My Domke F-5XB is filled with a Leica M6TTL .85 with matching leicavit, Voigtlander 35mm f1.4, Summarit 50mm f2.4, Tele-Elmarit 90mm f2.8, all BW XS-Pro filters, and a Yashica T2 point-and-shoot.

The first image is a photo of a 1949 Mercury that was shot in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in front of a retired aircraft carrier. This was photographed for the Jalopy Journal. I wanted to photograph this car surrounded by interesting elements of the city the car was original from.  I shot this image on Portra 400 around dusk. It was shot with a Leica M5 with an early 60s Summicron 90mm f2 lens.

The second image is a photo of my cousin on a smoke break outside of our beach house. Her positioning in front of the window, the back-lite glow, the framing of the plants around the window, and the timing of having my film camera loaded with black and white TMax 400 were all by chance. This caught my eye immediately. One of my all-time favorite BW shots. Shot with a Sears 35RF.

John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

The third image is a night photo of a motel called the Beach Comber located at the beach town of Wildwood, New Jersey. This town is packed with retro motels stuck in time. Many of their original neon signs still glow in the night. This specific motel was the main headquarters of the car club The Oilers during The Race of Gentlemen, which is a motorcycle and automobile racing event on the Wildwood beach showcasing all pre-WW2 motorcycles and cars. This was shot on a Leica Minilux with Portra 800.



24 Jul '18

In The Frame: Michael Neal

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews

ShootFilmCo In The Frame: Michael Neal

All Photos © Michael Neal
Website: http://michaelneal.photography
Instagram: @that135vibe

My name is Michael Neal, and I'm from a small town in Ohio. I began shooting concert photography which I am still very passionate about, however after taking classes through the New York Institute Of Photography, I've discovered a real passion for shooting 35mm film. Being from Ohio, I didn't have much exposure (get it?) to film work, however after spending time in Seattle and Portland, their community really grew my fascination and love for analog work.

ShootFilmCo In The Frame: Michael Neal

One of the things that I love most about shooting with film is the connection I feel between the artist and the camera. I love that I really have to "earn" my shots. There's a certain look with film that sets it apart from digital work, and though I can't really describe it, I think a lot of photographers know when they see it. A lot more thought goes into the shots for me when I know the cost between each frame advance. Additionally, I like that more of the process is on the front end of the shoot since there isn't as much you can do in post to alter the image. What you see is what you get. There's an immense amount of responsibility and pride behind each shot in such a permanent and manual process. Also the fact that it isn't quite as saturated as the digital photography scene is nice. I still shoot quite a lot of digital work for various jobs, but film has a special place for me. As I travel, being able to document specific instances, moments, people, and places I see in a tangible format is a really rewarding process.

ShootFilmCo In The Frame: Michael Neal

Film has caused me to focus more on portraits, street, and landscape photography. I originally started shooting film with a Nikon F100 due to the ability to use my professional glass that I already owned for that system. However since then, I've branched out even more into rangefinders, and I am currently using a Leica M6 primarily. For the F100, I love my sigma 20mm ART f/1.4, my nikon af-s g 50mm f/1.8, and my nikon f/2.8 macro. With the Leica, my kit includes the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 nokton, the Zeiss 50mm f/2 planar, and the Leica 90mm Elmarit - M. I find this setup is ideal for covering a wide range (get it?) of subjects. The Voigtlander has a really classic rendering which is great as I travel, and want a really classic, artistic look. The Zeiss is just so sharp. It's amazing for resolving high detail. The Leica is one of the best portrait lenses ever made in my opinion, and I love it. As far as film, I primarily used to shoot Fujifilm 160 and 400, however now my favored black and white film is the Kodak Tmax 400, and I lean on the Kodak Portra 160 most for color portraits. I love experimenting with different films, so I also find Ektar, HP5, Portra 400, Cinestill 50, Tmax 100, and a few others in my locker.

ShootFilmCo In The Frame: Michael Neal

I primarily do concert work through UnderAir Media, and I freelance on the side doing portraits primarily. Right now, I'm focusing on submitting work to coffee shops, camera stores, and galleries to hang prints in addition to hosting tons of film images on my website.

All Photos © Michael Neal

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27 Jun '18

In the Frame: Caroline Aro

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

All Images © Caroline Aro. All rights reserved.

Caroline's Website / Instagram

My name is Caroline and I live just outside of Washington DC. I only recently picked up a camera but instantly fell in love. I started out with my dad's old Minolta XG-M back at the end of summer 2017.

It can be pretty difficult to find a good film developing service that is convenient and affordable, so I decided that I would teach myself. Since November, I have been developing film at home for myself and for my friends.

I've been been collecting point & shoots and SLRs from thrift stores all across the country during some travels. I have been slowly teaching myself how to fix them up. There is a lot to learn but I eventually want to know a little bit about every aspect of film photography; from the way the camera is built, to the processing of film.

There's something about film that I just love. The entire process, the look and the feel. The anticipation to see your work after finishing a roll of film. I love that I can be involved in every step of the way.

Right now I've stuck with my dad's Minolta XG-M and the lenses he gave me with it; a Vivitar 28-50mm and a 50mm prime lens.

It's been a great reliable camera for me and I love that it came from my dad. He used it in a lot of his travels back in the 80s and I look forward to using it in all of my travels (and everyday life) as well.

I love finding and testing all of the cameras I've come across. Maybe because it's what I started with, but I've noticed I'm a bit partial towards Minoltas!

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

Two of the photos that I'm in obviously weren't taken by me; my boyfriend used my camera. However, I developed all of these photos myself. They were all taken with my Minolta XG-M

This January, I went on a trip to Iceland with my parents and my boyfriend. We stayed in a hotel in Reykjavik with this great spiral staircase. Definitely had to snap these first to shots.

This was a gas station literally in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. It had just been so windy and snowy all day. I don't know what it is but I love the way gas stations look at night. Maybe it's the lighting contrasts or something. We learned a fun fact though; this gas station was on the left side of the road, which didn't entirely make sense since we drove on the right. It turns out that up until the 60s or 70s, people in Iceland drove on the left side of the road until they all of a sudden changed it! Apparently it was just "Okay on such and such day, this is when the law goes into effect and we're switching how we drive. Have fun!" We heard it took a bit of getting used to.

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

This is a low-key popular spot near where I live to get some cool pictures. This stretch of road is lined by these big old trees and is surrounded by fields. It was a crazy windy day and I caught this shot of my boyfriend and the pup running back to the car. It didn't turn out very crisp or clear - someone actually commented it looks like a painting in a way. I really like that it's not "perfect", you know? It's a cool look to me.

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

I surprised my boyfriend with a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year. I'm not into partying or going too crazy, but I was just so excited for the atmosphere and the people-watching. I awkwardly made my way on top of this wobbly trash can to get the next photo. In the meantime, my boyfriend caught this one of me! The energy was so high and everyone was having such a good time. It was so incredible to get it from a higher perspective and I'm glad I got this shot of the crowd from there.

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

The next photo is from our last day in New Orleans. We went to the sculpture garden in the morning. This piece is called Karma and it's by Do Ho Suh. It must have been at least 20 feet tall. It was a seemingly endless chain of figures with their hands over the eyes of the figure before him. Even though the colors got a bit weird when I developed this picture, I still really like how it turned out, and this is definitely my favorite sculpture from the gardens!

ShootFilmCo In the Frame: Caroline Aro

All Images © Caroline Aro. All rights reserved.
23 Feb '18

In The Frame: Kayla MacInnis

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews


All Photos © Kayla MacInnis

My name is Kayla MacInnis & I'm from Vancouver, British Columbia. I can't remember a time I didn't have a camera in my hands. As a child I always had a disposable camera or a little point-and-shoot, in high school I was in all the media classes, yearbook and even voted most likely to be paparazzi (ha!) and as an adult I find that I am always the one friends & family ask to shoot their portraits, shows, weddings, or other events.

When I was a child my grandma gave me her old canon AE-1 film camera. I've always preferred shooting film but because digital was so much more forgiving I found that I rarely used my film camera and was editing all my digital photos to look like film. (Thanks VSCO & RNI Films)

In 2015 I took my camera on a trip to Port Renfrew and shot my photos strictly on that. When I received the images I learnt that the light seals on my camera had worn down and was sad to see most of my photos didn't turn out. The few that did were amazing. They were crisp, clear and I even found that the specks of light added to the aesthetics of the image. I've been hooked ever since.

Film is timeless. It forces you to be patient and to really be in a moment. You have to think through your composition and at the same time you have to think about light, motion and exposure. You're only allotted a certain number of images so you have to assess what you're shooting and decide if you want to take the plunge. Slowing down allows you to make sure every shot counts! To me, shooting film is a rush. There is something about waiting to see your photos that has my heart racing every single time.

Now-a-days, I only bring my Canon AE-1 with me when I travel or adventure but I do have a little Minolta AF point and shoot that I bring with me sometimes. I have dreams of getting my hands on a Hasselblad, Rolleiflex & Yashica T4. I really want to start getting into medium format and 8mm.

After a friend took me into their schools darkroom and walked me through the process of developing I knew that I had to learn how to develop my own photos and so now that's my next journey. When I watched the paper soak in the developer and a photo appear it felt like magic.

[I would describe my work as] West coast inspired with a dash of city life. I love to shoot portraits, the wilderness and lots of gritty alley ways. In the last year I've found myself to be more experimental and that's what these images will show. I've been shooting on expired film, black & white, low ISO, high ISO, push & pull processing, opening the back slightly to let light leaks in (though I have a friend who is much more brave about it than I am) and even playing with shooting underwater, long exposure & natural lighting.

13 Jan '18

In The Frame: Jaclyn Snook

Posted by Mike Padua in In The Frame, Interviews

All photos © Jaclyn Snook

Heyo, I am a 26 year-old hobby photographer born and raised in Sacramento, California.

What I remember most about my childhood is my Dad constantly taking photos. I picked up this habit around age eleven mainly carrying around disposable cameras everywhere I went. In middle school my dad gave me his digital Kodak EasyShare so I used to rally all my girlfriends over for sleepovers where we would style each other and I would take portraits of everyone. During my Freshman year of high school I used to get picked on for having pale legs in my PE shorts so I used to ditch PE to sneak into the school’s darkroom and learn black and white photo processing. I really liked how it felt to control light on paper and create photos in a way I never had before.

I moved to San Francisco to attend SF State at the age of eighteen and felt a kind of strange social pressure being a college freshman. I found it overwhelming; constantly meeting new and interesting people and trying to be your best self while also learning a lot about who you are and what you care about. I developed (no pun intended) a strange comfort in being able to rely on communicating via photos. When at house parties or shows (or in nearly any social situation) I liked taking the outside-looking-in approach. I’m a very extroverted person with social anxiety so I realized that if I left the day/night with some great photos, I would share them to show appreciation for my friends in different way and it really soothed me.

Overall, nowadays, I mainly lean towards candid portraits of loved ones, self-portrait photography, and roaming the streets snapping photos of strangers/strange scenes.

I spent the last two years in London and currently reside in Oakland, CA
I learned photography by taking photos with disposable cameras at a young age. I then learned dark room development in high school. So I guess I am attracted to photographing with film because it is nostalgic. It feels good, it is a constant in my life.
I recently (finally) got my hands on a little Olympus Stylus Epic which has been a game changer for taking photos out in public since it is discrete and fits in my pocket. However, my go-to for the last six years is my Canon Rebel 2000 with a 50mm 1.8 lens. I have started to play around with shooting more at night and in low-light with 1600 speed films such as Fuji Superia and Fuji Natura

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