Kat Villareal takes us on her journey with analog photography. She shares stories about her experience
with the medium and everything in between.
BY KAT VILLAREAL
Hey! I'm Katrina Villareal from Cebu, Philippines. I'm a respiratory therapist by profession and a shutterbug at heart. Aside from being a couch potato, I take photos during my free time. I mainly shoot landscapes and architecture, and occasionally take photos of our dogs at home, Bolt and Kobe. I delved into film photography in 2019 and I plan to learn how to develop and scan my own films soon.
How it all started
Just like a lot of people, I used to take photos just for the sake of it. My father gifted me with a Sony Cybershot when I graduated from college and brought it everywhere with me. I took photos of everything. I didn't care if the horizon was tilted or my lines were askew. All I cared about was getting my photos out there for people to see regardless if it were photoshopped and stacked with filters.
It was in the summer of 2017 when a friend offered to let me borrow his extra camera, a Nikon D40. It was big and heavy, but I didn't care. I was amazed holding a DSLR for the first time. The dials and buttons made me feel like I was a legitimate photographer. It was at that moment that my perception on photography changed forever.
Succumbing to depression a few months later, my camera gathered dust inside my closet for almost a year before I took it out again. I joined photography groups and became friends with awesome people. Among them was someone who was interested in film photography. He invited me to a Facebook group dedicated to film, Lomomanila.
I was greeted with film photos from all over the world posted by no less than Filipinos. I was awestruck. I thought film cameras were extinct and film photography was dead. Yet there it was on Facebook, alive and thriving.
How I fell in love with the process
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
We started reading about film photography online, spent hours upon hours looking for cameras, and joined a few more film groups on Facebook. He eventually bought a Nikon FE and a month later, on October 2019, he got me my very first film camera, a Diana Mini which I fondly call Dee, and 3 rolls of film.
Aside from loading the film, using the camera itself was difficult. The Diani Mini was small and had limited functions having an aperture range of just f/8 and f/11 with everything being done manually. Being so used to digital cameras, shifting to analog made me sweat bullets.
Imagine taking a photo and not being able to see how it turned out. Unlike digital cameras, film cameras don't give you the luxury of letting you review the photos that you shot. You have to finish your roll first, have it processed in a film lab, and wait even more for the lab to send you back your prints/scans.
I remember handing over my first roll of film to the lab guy with mixed emotions. I was both excited and anxious with constant thoughts of "what if nothing shows up on the negative?" and "what if my photos suck?".
Is inventor of the first prototype digital camera in 1973 using components he got from components of Kodak’s Super 8 movie cameras
I got my scans back the next day and much to my relief, there they were. my very first film photos. They weren't perfect but I was so happy with how my photos turned out that I wanted to cry. The satisfaction I felt with the whole process of shooting analog was so great that I realized right then and there that film photography is something that I wanna keep doing for a long time.
The Downfall and Rebirth of film is an ongoing article by Franz Lopez that is released monthly in PhotoNation magazine. Stay tuned for the next episode where we will talk about Polaroid and how the company bounced back.