FAQ for You

Man reading a newspaper. NYC. Canon-AE 1, Kodak Portra 400

Ever since my Mobbie nomination, I have been getting a lot of questions pertaining to this blog through various platforms like email, instagram, facebook, in person conversation, etc so I figured I’d take the time to answer them all here! These are all questions that I have been asked a handful of times each.

Q: Why is your blog called 120Pearls?
A: Well, 120 is the size of a type of medium format film. Many old cameras take larger film sizes than the 35mm many of us are most familiar with. Since this blog is focused on older film cameras and old camera techniques, I figured I’d base the name off of 120 medium format film. Pearls comes from the fun fact that I’m a girl and pearls were the most common type of jewelry worn back in the time period many of my cameras that I talk about on here originated from. I like to think of a house wife in pearls taking photos of her family with a DuoFlex II (which is 620 sized film, but whatever).

Q: What made you want to blog about something so obsolete?
A:
First of all, film is not obsolete. It isn’t used as much as digital, true, but it does have its niche markets to many amateur and professional film photographers. It will be around for awhile! I started this blog as a homework assignment for my digital publishing class. We are learning about the powers of self marketing and self publishing and we are utilizing what we learn by having a blog. We could choose any topic that interested us, thank god, to make the process of learning self publishing more fun. I love the look and feel of film and I am still learning, so as I blog and teach you guys how to do things I am also learning along with you.

NYC coffee shop. Canon AE-1 and Kodak Portra 400 film.

Q: Is photography what you want to do when you get out of school?
A: Yes. More specifically, photojournalism. I work as an independent photographer now and I love what I do. I try to incorporate much of a journalism style to my photo work as possible. I usually photograph couples, families, editorials, weddings, events, etc. My ultimate goal is to be a staff photographer for a publication, hopefully a publication with a high circulation. BALTIMORE SUN IF YOU ARE READING THIS PLEASE TAKE ME. 😉

Q: You seem to really hate digital. If you like film so much more, then why is almost all of your published work done digitally?
A: 
I don’t hate digital. Let’s be real, news photos need to be edited and uploaded right away. Almost as soon as you take it. It’s like baking a pie and taking a huge bite before it comes out of the oven. For this, I will use digital. For my client work, I also almost always use digital because they are paying me not only for the shoot but also for my timelieness in delivering my product. I also need to be able to retouch people as requested. I shoot film for my leisure photography and for my fine art photography. Film interests me more than digital but digital’s convenience in deliverance can’t be beat when it comes to photojournalism no matter how much better the film versions look.

Q: What camera do you suggest I start shooting film on?
A:
I’m probably going to get a lot of heat for this because everyone has their own idea of what works best. For me, I re-started shooting film on a Canon-AE 1, a little 35mm SLR. I’d start on any 35mm camera really. Rangefinders are also good cameras to start on as well. Any camera that you can easily see the settings and play around with the settings is the one to learn on. The most important thing is to keep your learning tool simple at first. Get something you can learn aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and F-stops on. Those are what primarily matter. Once you understand how each one affects the other, you can then figure out a style all your own.

Q: After your class is over with will you still continue to post?
A:
Depends on if I win a Mobbie or not. Just kidding. Probably. I really enjoy it. I have thought of taking my blog in the direction of blogging more about my journey as an independent photojournalist. I would still keep blogging about film cameras and film techniques but just add more of my own struggles about being in the industry. I searched for other blogs on the same topic and none of them really projected the type of information I was looking to read. Maybe by writing it myself I can change that.

Q: Are you from Baltimore?
A:
Yes! I was raised in South Baltimore. Now I reside over in Upper Fells point.

Q: What do you think of the film scene in Baltimore?
A:
There‘s a film scene? I know a handful of photographers who dabble in film and they are wonderful artists.

Q: What do you think of the potential public dark room opening up?
A:
I think it’s awesome! Living in the city, space is limited. You could always turn your bathroom into a dark room or get dark room in a bag but having access to a large space would be awesome. Many photographers give up film after school because they don’t have darkroom access anymore and don’t want to pay the prices. If a space were available for people to come and go and use their own materials I feel like it could flourish into something great. I’ll try to keep updated on the progress! Look for a post about it coming soon.

6 thoughts on “FAQ for You

  1. As always your Q & A was very informative….. I don’t think photography whether film or digital is an easy task to master……..I think you are a master in the making…..great job!

  2. Your recommendation of a starter film camera was spot on … there are many good choices, but the Canon AE-1 is rock-solid, easy to learn … and there are loads of very-affordable lenses and accessories available. The Pentax K1000 is another great choice, but it’s completely manual … which is good news and bad news.

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