Seeing is not enough. You have to feel what you photograph.
By no means I’m a professional, but there’s something magical and precious about that device that’s weighing pretty heavily in my hands. It’s my parents’ old camera from ’82. Quite bulky, yet bloody sturdy and definitely not a rare singleton. Still, it’s the best thing ever and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything – or does anyone want to swap for a Hasselblad? Just kidding. Sure, I could just shoot everything that crosses my path with my pocket-sized phone, leave the chunk at home and don’t waste my time with loading a new roll of film. Probably works for 90% of the photos I take on a regular basis: Selfies, embarrassing party images, street art and the odd bunch of randomness. Aside from that, I want a bit of thrill sometimes. A bit of playing the lottery game. That extra amount of preparation for those rather precious moments, I’m about to capture through my lens.
It’s no secret that shooting on film makes you a lot more careful about what you photograph and how you want to bring the subject to life in the darkroom. No quick snaps. Only 24/36 shots left until the next roll is ready for action. Being more focused and aware of what you’re doing is a thing most people, who are travelling to extraordinary places or witness beautiful things in their surroundings, should bear in mind a little more often.
Camera Ready. Action. Click. Click. Next spot on the list. La tour Eiffel, check. Montmartre, check. Champs-Elysees, been there, done that.
Why not step back, take your time and have a look at the wondrous details here and there along the way instead of just rushing on from A to B. It’s not like you can experience these things over and over again, it’s a moment in time that passes by and never turns back. Inhale, exhale, feel the breeze, grasp the stillness. Then take the shot. Once you release the trigger, pull the switch and the count rattles on to the next number – a sound I find quite satisfying – all emotion, beauty, sadness or even weirdness is caught in this particular frame.
About the author
Mathias Benninghoven is a freelance journalist and culture writer,
who currently lives in Edinburgh, UK. When he’s not putting words on paper,
he’s hunting for exciting new art, travelling, taking photographs
and riding his skateboard.
Photo credits in order of appearance
Mathias Benninghoven | Alex Talmon | Victoria Alexander | Todd Quackenbush | Michael Quinn