Ashley Stanford is a Film Club Member who is currently studying photograph conservation. This week we interviewed her to get to know her more and talk with her about a group of photos she took during a photo conservation internship she did in California. Scroll down to read our interview and see her photos.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
AS: My uncle, who was an amateur photographer himself, got me interested in film photography when he gave me his old Minolta Maxxum 3xi and dark room supplies when I was about 15. I took it everywhere with me and loved the anticipation of sending off my film to be developed. Eventually I learned how to develop my own film at Austin Community College and fell in love with the whole process all over again. After college, I taught darkroom photography during the summers as a Teaching Assistant at Wesleyan’s Center for Creative Youth and I continue to shoot film and learn alternative processes (wet collodion, salted paper, etc.) as part of my studies in photographic materials conservation!
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
AS: I usually shoot with my Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm. I love how easy it is to travel with and how fast the lens is. I also love shooting with my Olympus OM1 35mm. Those two are probably my favorite in my personal collection. Film-wise, I usually go for Ilford HP5 for black and white, and Kodak ultramax for color. Really any film I find cheap or am gifted I will shoot with!
PL: There are a mix of black and white and color photos within this collection. What are some qualities that you like about both black and white and color film?
AS: I like black and white to be able to create my own prints. I like that aspect of control I can have over the final print, whereas color I don’t have the tools to develop or print.
PL: You mentioned these photos were taken during your time in California doing a photo conservation internship. What does it mean for you to have captured your experiences there on film?
AS: Yes, I spent 8 weeks in Lagunitas, California for an internship in photograph conservation where I worked with a range of photographic materials, from daguerreotype to digital prints. I was definitely inspired by the works I was seeing every day in the studio, especially the landscapes by Ansel Adams. Adams’ work was definitely one of the reasons I shoot in black and white during my time there. Shooting film also makes me slow down and enjoy the moment more while finding that perfect composition, instead of just snapping away on my iPhone (which I definitely do as well).
PL: What did you enjoy about taking photos of the west coast? Was there anything challenging about it?
AS: I enjoyed all the nature I was able to experience and capture, from the mountains to the beaches, I loved it all!
PL: Out of all of these images, which is your favorite and why?
AS: I love the ones from Muir Beach Overlook, especially the one with the two bushes (41820004), it reminds me of a Van Gogh painting. Even though they are over exposed, I love the abstraction it created in these landscapes.
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