September 10, 2015
Film Month: Wendy Laurel
Throughout September, we’ll be catching up with some of our favourite film photographers to talk about everything from gear, to clients, to that magical, intangible thing that draws them to shooting film. Today we’re chatting with lawyer turned photographer, Wendy Laurel. Shooting exclusively film, Wendy’s dreamy images capture her beautiful, beachy, Lahaina lifestyle.
What was your path to becoming a photographer? And have you always shot film?
My path is pretty funny. I actually went to school at UC Berkeley and got an economics degree, then headed to Stanford Law School and got my law degree. I was a lawyer for a number of years but when I had my third child and was drowning in diapers and sleepless nights, I decided to do something for myself and took a photography course at the local college. I fell in love. That child is now 12 years old and I’ve been shooting ever since that first class.
How often are you shooting film vs. digital?
I only shoot film. And I love it. I don’t even own a digital camera and cannot really see any reason to.
Shooting film comes with its share of additional expenses, processing time and far less room for error. Why do you shoot film?
I shoot film because its FUN! Because I LOVE the way it looks. Because when I get my scans back, I don’t have to edit or use presets or actions or any of that gooblegook. I just choose my favorites and I’m done.
In the stock industry, what are the benefits and challenges of shooting film?
Well, I always think the benefits of shooting film is the look of film. I don’t think digital is able to replicate it quite yet. Film handles the sun and light in a totally different way. It lets me shoot backlight here in Hawaii where the sun is so strong and hold details in the background. Also, I think the colors and tones are so much prettier. I love experimenting with different films and cameras and it allows me to be really creative in camera (and not on computer). I love doing double exposures and playing with toy cameras and light leaks.
Do clients hire you specifically because you shoot on film?
I don’t know. I think they hire me because they like the way my images look (which is from film), but probably don’t know that it’s because it’s film.
What film products that you loved have been discontinued?
Too many to mention… most notably Kodak VC film and all 220 films. Kodak BW400CN.
What would you say to a digital shooter romanticizing the idea of film but hasn’t yet taken the plunge?
Why not? Grab a 35mm camera, throw on your existing lenses from your digital system and play. It’s addicting.
How is participating in social media different as a film shooter?
I don’t think its any different. I only show my film shots because honestly they are the only shots I take. My feed on instagram really reflects my work — there is a lot of variety and different styles because I love all sorts of looks. My love of color and creativeness shines through though.
Which film photographers do you admire?
Yan Photo, Marta Locklear, Jonathan Canlas, and John Dolan.
What’s the creative community like in Lahaina?
I pretty much stick close to home and my kids. I interact with other creative minds mostly through social media, Facebook groups or workshops.
What creative projects are you currently excited about?
Double exposures, and a series of colored palm trees.
Because I love the style is shows. It’s very modern and authentic; not cheesy (like some stock can be) at all. And they embrace my more odd or creative images.
Stay tuned to the blog all month where we’ll be featuring interviews with some of our favourite film photographers. We’ll be chatting gear, influences, stock, and most importantly, why they shoot film. #FilmIsNotDead