Isabelle Cotney is a Film Club Member who has tagged us in several photos on her Instagram which caught our eye so this week we decided to get to know her more and see a larger group of her photos. Scroll down to read the interview and see her images.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
IC: I guess I can trace it back to a few years ago when I fell back in love with disposable film cameras. I loved the look of the photos and enjoyed the entire process.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
IC: I got my first point and shoot back in March of 2022. It is the Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom. Normally, I jump between using Kodak Portra 400 and Portra 800. However, I am hoping to try out some Cinestill 800T soon and experiment with other kinds of film in the future.
PL: What are some qualities that you like about color film?
IC: I really love the texture and richness of color film. Nowadays, with smartphones, the cameras are great, yes, but there is still something missing about the photos you take on them. When I have the urge to document a moment, I find myself often reaching for my film camera over my phone.
PL: This collection of images has a variety of subjects such as natural and architectural scenes as well as still-lifes. When out photographing, what are some objects or elements within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?
IC: I am not sure if there are any specific objects or elements that I can pinpoint that inspire me to take a photo but more of a feeling that motivates me to take out my camera. I am the type of person who carries my point and shoot with me everywhere I go because you never know when inspiration will strike. I like to be super intentional with my photos because of my awareness of the complex process of loading and developing film. However, when I look at this collection of photos, I see that I often used the natural sunlight as a tool when capturing moments of observation and solitude.
PL: The variety of angles within this series of photos is engaging. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
IC: Because of my background in filmmaking, it is impossible not to have the rule of thirds as my most powerful guiding influence when it comes to framing my shots. I also remind myself not to think too deeply and just trust the process. I have found that a photo that feels pretty insignificant or average when looking through the viewfinder, can turn out to be quite remarkable after the developing process is finished.
PL: Out of all of these images, which is your favorite and why?
IC: I really like the photo I took of the yellow hotel. I was working on an independent film back in June and I took the photo on the balcony of the room I was staying in. It was around that time that I was just starting to challenge myself to take photos without people as the subjects. The photo was taken at a Courtyard Marriott in New Jersey and it was a quiet morning after the last day of the shoot. I knew that I was going to have to leave soon to head back to the busy city of Philadelphia. I was trying to soak up that quiet stillness for as long as I could. Every time I look at this photo, that memory comes back to me and it gives me a bit of peace.
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