Film photographer Cris Miranda (@crismiranda) has been active on the website since 2011 after beginning her journey with Lomography in 2008. She remains one of the most inspiring portraitists in the community and beyond who uses her lens to advocate for important topics such as women's rights.
Truly, the magic of her photos lie in their humanity and defiance of mainstream "perfection", whether this is with the individuals she takes photos of or the light she chooses to capture her surroundings in.
From her quarantine chronicles to her profile interview with us, Cris has shared many stories with us. In this edition of Dear Young Shutterbugs, she shares a few handy tips for beginner photographers on the importance of studying film photography and keeping in mind the basics.
I was born in 1977, thus 135 film photography was the cheapest available medium. My father has always been a photo enthusiast, and I’ve grown up like this. My first and beloved manual cameras are my father’s Canon AE-1 and Pentax MX. By the way, I got my first digital camera in 2001, it was a Cybershot.
I discovered Lomography back in 2008 when I was teaching. I asked the students to write about their hobbies and Luísa Ingrid (@luisaingrid) mentioned Lomography. It was love at first sight. I felt that it was time to go back to film photography.
One of my favorite memories is the Lomography Store in São Paulo, the city where I was born and raised. The "analogue community" was quite different at the time, it was made up of real artists, professionals and enthusiasts who did not depend on social networks and the number of followers to “display” their work.
The best photos are the ones I haven’t shot, I mean, the best is yet to come. I can't think of the worst ones. There are lots of photos I took and did not like the results, especially the ones that were out of focus.
I love my analogue paraphernalia. Some cameras were gifts from family and friends, I bought some, and fortunately, I won nice ones from Lomography's competitions. My collection goes from point-and-shoot to rangefinders, from cute toy cameras to a stunning Rolleiflex, from a Kodak Brownie (box camera) to Polaroids and other instant film stuff.
I’ve tried all formats available, and I loved all of them. Besides, I’ve been learning from the results I get. I currently use more 135 format because it’s less expensive and easier to find nice rolls. Collecting film cameras feels like owning a little piece of history.
I strongly believe everyone should try shooting film, especially if their goal is to become a professional. It’s a powerful teaching tool because it shows you all the primary elements of photography without the aid of present technology.
I believe my personal photography style is always changing. The more I study and practice, the more I realize that I know nothing.
Dear young shutterbug, I bet you have a lot of interesting ideas, and you are anxious to get started. However, film photography is an exercise in patience, you should think carefully about each frame (always remember that you will only have 36 shots per roll of film).
Don’t be afraid to ask! There are a lot of nice people out there that may be happy to help or share what they know for free. There are innumerous dedicated online communities and sites that you can check, videos to watch and so on.
Don’t buy courses and workshops just because you like some photographer's aesthetics. They might have nice shots, but they may not know how to teach, and in the worst-case scenario they won’t share anything you could not have learned on internet by yourself.
More importantly, you should try to find your own style instead of trying to have the same results as someone else.
Photography is all about light, never forget it! Think before you press the shutter button. Or don't think at all.
Lastly, enjoy. Have tons of fun and don’t give up!
Through this series, we hope to inspire a new generation of film photographers to dip their toes into the craft and learn from the adventures and advice of some of our long-standing community members. You may view previous letters here.
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