“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” (Anaïs Nin)
Last Spring, the unthinkable happened. I was walking into Studio Movie Grill to photograph an event – carrying my Canon 6D – when I tripped over my wedge-heeled sandals, sending my camera crashing onto the parking lot cement.
After the shock wore off and my bloodied knees were bandaged, I looked at my broken camera body. This was a sign of two things… one) it was time to stop walking in heels with expensive photography gear, and also- I was ready to make the full switch from Canon to Fuji.
The following week, I packed up all my Canon gear and brought it to a local camera store to see what could be salvaged for cash. As the salesperson examined my lenses in another room, I browsed their vast selection of vintage cameras. A beautiful Canon AE-1 Program from the 1980s in pristine condition caught my eye. When the salesperson came back with the final sale amount they could offer for my gear, I decided to subtract the cost of the camera and two rolls of film.
My new (old) camera came out with me and my husband that weekend for a test spin. I loaded Kodak Portra 160 film into the camera, took a couple shots while we were out at a nearby park, and afterwards placed it on a bookshelf as part of our home decor. Finishing the roll and sending it somewhere to be developed seemed like too much of a hassle at the time.
But, lately, I’ve been feeling more and more uninspired. The influencer lifestyle has worn me down. Taking hundreds of shots in search of the most “instagrammable” one, seeing an endless stream of overfiltered images and orange skin tones from fellow bloggers on my feed, constantly fighting my obsession for upgraded camera gear to stay on top of tech trends… it’s time for a photographic reset.
Going back to the basics this year and spending more of my personal creative energy on making photographs the old-fashioned way. I’m hoping the intentionality necessitated by film will carry into my digital work as well. Follow @stephaniedrenkafilm for more analog aesthetic.