Emily Rohlfing is a Film Club Member whose work is currently featured in our third annual Best of the Year exhibition. We really liked the photos she submitted to the show so we thought we would interview her and share her images with the community. Scroll down to see it all!
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
ER: I’ve been staring into the lens of a camera since I was born. There’s not a moment of my life that’s gone undocumented, thanks to my mom. I think she subconsciously instilled in me the importance of a photograph. In hindsight, taking a film photography class (and falling in love with it) as a junior in college feels less like a random decision and more like a late homecoming.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
ER: I’m currently shooting on a Canon EOS Rebel GII. I work with whatever film I can afford at the moment; usually, that’s Kodak UltraMax, but my best photos are usually shot using Kodak Portra and Cinestill film.
PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?
ER: I’m always looking to capture a feeling, and I think there are infinite ways to do that. I usually find that inspiration in emphasizing the nameless and faceless individual, or a scene void of people completely.
I think that limiting most of the distinguishing characteristics of the people in my photographs allows people to more closely identify with the feelings being conveyed in the image without an unconscious attempt at comparison. Photos without anyone in them work in a similar way—the person viewing the photo is now the nameless and faceless individual. It kind of reminds me of an inkblot test—you’ll see (and feel) what you want to.
PL: Your photos have a strong composition. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
ER: Usually, it’s: “How can I do this differently?” I’ve only been shooting for about a year now, so I’m still actively experimenting and trying to figure out what I like.
PL: All of your photos are taken in color. What are some qualities that you like about color film?
ER: Using color film when shooting is more of a necessity than it is an aesthetic choice. I can’t overstate how important and effective color is at priming feelings and emotions—they call it “feeling blue” for a reason, you know?
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
ER: I think my favorite is Air (the basketball shot). It’s from one of the first rolls of color film I’ve ever worked with. By no means is it my best work, but every time I look at this photo, it takes me back to that day. That summer started off cold, but that was the first day that the temperature had gotten above 70 degrees. “Love Her Madly” by The Doors was playing loud enough to drown out every attempt at conversation between me and my friends. The energy was really high—we were thankful for the warm day and to be there together. Also, he didn’t make the shot.