If you were to look at my family’s vacation pictures, you would see a discrepancy in the ratio of their faces versus mine. In a family that likes to take pictures in front of every single tourist attraction, it’s difficult to find time to take pictures for yourself when your aunties tell you to take their pictures almost every 5 minutes.
However, being the designated photographer of my family has never been a problem with me, since I have always loved taking pictures of people.
I remember the 10-year old Diego, armed with a digital camera my dad had just brought home from abroad, convincing my friends to pose for me after I was inspired by watching Britain’s Next Top Model on TV. With a little bit of convincing (and the promise that I will make them look extra pretty) we managed to turn out some pictures that looked pretty cute.
I prefer taking pictures of people than of inanimate objects. What I love about the latter is that as I focus on my subject, it seems to me that I get to know them better. From the little twitches of their face to the way they sway their body in front of the camera and the way they react to the flash, there is always something to be discovered whenever I take a picture of another person.
However, with photographs becoming more and more instant thanks to technology, this kind of magic that I have with my subjects get lost in the mix. I may be able to take better quality pictures, but at the expense of losing my connection with the person, I’m shooting.
Ironically, I found a new way to look at my subjects with the help of nostalgia, and an old film camera.
Shooting with film isn’t as convenient as its digital counterpart – it’s expensive, limiting, and uncertain. You don’t immediately see how the picture is going to turn out unless you pay to get your film processed. I have had many a loss when it comes to shooting film: whether from broken rolls, light leaks, or really bad developing.
But that’s where the magic of old school photography lies: you learn how to be more careful with shooting your subjects. As you only have one shot to get things perfect, you really have to pay attention to detail, making sure that the picture that you’re going to develop really captures what you want to get.
While digital photography gives us quicker results, I believe that film photography allows for a more careful relationship between the photographer and the subject. Only having a few exposures of the film gives one the chance to really connect with the subject and look for the unique quality that makes a shot truly perfect.
In the same way, I believe that in this fast-paced society that we are currently living in, we should take the time to slow down and actually get to know the people around us and find their own unique quality that makes them as valuable as we are.
Written by Emilio Paolo Fodulla, a current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office. WYAAP is already accepting applications for its 3rd batch of interns this 2017. Interested members may check www.wya.net/apinternships for more information.