Beginnings | An Australian Film Photographer's Journey

After years of dreaming about owning and shooting on a Contax 645, one finally arrived on my doorstep this past Christmas Eve. I cried tears of joy and jumped up and down with more excitement than, I'm pretty sure, my two year old daughter on Christmas morning!

I am a complete newbie to film in general, let alone medium format. But it's the look of medium format (and the Contax 645 specifically) that drew me to photography 5 years ago, and inspired me to become a photographer.

I remember the day I came across Jose Villa's Instagram feed- I'd never had such a strong reaction to art or photography! Not long after that I discovered Elizabeth Messina and that was it- I was hooked! I was staying up late at night pouring over their work and the work of other film photographers, obsessing over their blog posts and the beauty they were creating, and still do! I finally knew (at 25) what I wanted to do with my life.

I've loved shooting digital the past 5 years. I've learned a great deal and experimented so much that, now, I'm finally in a place where I'm confident enough in my abilities, my style and my vision to make the step to film.

I'm starting this journal for myself, to look back on my hurdles and triumphs and grow and learn from them. I thought I'd put it out into the world just in case there is someone else out there like me looking for information on getting started with film photography and what to expect.

Being based in Australia is no doubt going to make this road a challenging one. There isn't a huge community of Contax 645 shooters or medium format photographers here as there is in Nth America. No beautiful film workshops to attend and meet like-minded people. Cameras, film, and accessories need to be imported from the USA and everything costs twice as much when you're buying with the Australian dollar! Don't even get me started on the cost or what I went through to get my camera into the country! God forbid it ever needs repairs done! The lack of film labs in Australia is also a hurdle and something I'm sure I'll be talking a lot about. At this point in time I'm feeling extremely overwhelmed but I'm sure I'll stop stressing about the great divide soon enough.

Nothing worthwhile ever happened without a challenge!

Image credit: left Elizabeth Messina, right Jose Villa.

Image credit: left Elizabeth Messina, right Jose Villa.