My father teases me that I’m a bit of an old soul even though I’m only 16. I like shopping at thrift stores, collecting vinyl records, and now taking photos on film. My fascination began the summer of 2019 when I bought a disposable Fujifilm camera at my local drugstore. I carried the pocket-sized camera everywhere, taking pictures constantly. Very quickly I ran out of shots, so I dropped off the camera for processing and waited impatiently for weeks. When I got the pictures back, I was hooked.
Knowing my father to be a serious camera enthusiast, I inquired about getting a “real” film camera of my own. It just so happened my mother had her old Canon EOS Rebel Xs sitting in her closet gathering dust. One Saturday morning my father taught me how to load film and adjust the controls. I carried my camera everywhere for the next couple weeks determined to get the right images and not waste shots as I did with the disposable camera.
During the President’s Day weekend my friends and I decided to have some fun with the camera and set out on an adventure to Amoeba records in Hollywood. The first photo is of my friend Rowan in the backseat when we stopped at a gas station. I was playing around with the camera and caught him off guard. The second photo is my friend Mckenna braving the I-10 freeway on our way to our destination. The third is me taking a cliché selfie.
After shopping we decided to visit a popular hiking trail on our way back home. The final two photos were taken at sundown during the last fleeting moments of daylight. We were all shivering and unaccustomed to the cold weather that set in.
Weeks later, when I got the CD back and saw the photos for the first time, I was thrilled. It was my first time shooting on a real film camera. They were grainy and textured and reminded me of something I could find in one of my mom’s old scrapbooks. People my age use artificial filters on their iPhone photos to get that effect, so I was proud that my images were authentic. I shared them with my friends, and they loved them – so much so that they asked their parents for film cameras too. All in all, using this camera was a fun experience; it made me think of photography in a whole new way.