blog by Michael Raso
Mary Shoots Film! 7 Questions
“In today’s world of electronic, digital, data-versions of everything from news, magazines, books to music and photos there is so much less that is physical, tangible, in the here and now. With a Polaroid (instant prints) you can literally capture a moment, hold it and see it, carry it with you, send it to a friend, treasure it and leave it for future generations to see, hold and feel.”
The above quote is from Mary Ciesynski, a Phoenix, Arizona photographer who regularly visits the Film Photography Podcast You Tube channel. Mary contacted us at The FPP to tell us how much she loved our videos – “a quick thank you for the awesome YouTube videos as they have helped me out tremendously with my newly acquired pack film cameras and now I want to do the Big Shot shuffle!”
I asked Mary about her film adventures and I’m happy to share her answers with you! (I made “hot links” to all the different formats Mary writes about!)
How long have you been shooting film?
I received my first film camera when I was 3 years old, so I guess you can say I have been shooting film for 25 years now.
Why do you shoot film?
There is so much to explore with film, I love shooting with any film I can get my hands on and trying different techniques, different cameras, seeing how far I can push the film. It is an element of comfort and nostalgia as well, since I grew up with film and my parents still shoot with film, I’ve always been around it. The history of film and cameras fascinates me too, it’s like being able to go back in time when I can shoot with my father’s 40 year old Polaroid camera, or shoot with a medium format film camera made decades before I was born—and still have film to shoot in it! I shoot with film because it is comfortable, exciting, historic and the possibilities are endless!
Tell me about the film cameras that you use? Why do you love them?
The cameras I use most regularly are the Holga 135, a vintage Lomo LC-A, a Diana F+ (with 120 film and with an Instant Back and Instax Mini film), a vintage Diana, my Father’s Polaroid One Step, and most recently a newly acquired Polaroid 100 Land Camera.
I love the Holga 135 because of its simplicity and I feel because of its quirks, the challenge is in making those quirks work for you as a photographer to get a great shot. The Lomo LC-A has a heft to it being metal, and it’s funny to see “Made in USSR” on the shutter cover, for what appears to be a point and shoot I like that it has aperture settings. I love the Diana cameras for those moments when you get it just right and you end up with this beautiful shot, perfectly framed in a vignette, I’m amazed sometimes of what I can get out of them. Polaroid is pure joy, I love the warm glowing dreamy images I’ve shot with the One Step thus far and hope to experiment with it more. I’ve fallen hard for pack film after seeing the range of tones and inky detail in the Polaroid 100 images, absolutely stunning and inspiring!
What inspires you to shoot?
I try to always have at least one camera on me at all times in case I see something that I must capture on film. A dog swimming in a public fountain, the perfect sunlight shining through a margarita glass, crazy lights at a concert—I find inspiration everywhere in everything.