Member Moment: Frankie Piccone

Frankie Piccone is a long time customer and Film Club Member of PhotoLounge. The photographs that she has tagged us in and that she has submitted to our photo contest on Instagram have always caught our attention. So we decided to reach out to her and hear more about her experience with photography and see some of her photos from a trip she took out west. 

Q: What got you interested in film photography?
A: I had been using only a DSLR for years when eventually I realized that I was only really shooting when I had time to really make an event out of it. When I moved to the city (first Seattle, then Philly) I realized that was limiting me a lot. I wanted a camera that I could carry around with me that wouldn’t feel so intrusive if I wanted to snap something real quick and I just so happened to have an old film camera set up in the attic that belonged to my mom’s dad. I had been avoiding using it for years because I assumed you had to be really “good” at photography before you could use it until then but I’m really glad I got over that. The constraints of using film have pushed me to learn a lot more about light and the fundamentals of photography than I was learning through digital at the time. 

Q: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
A: For my film, my main 35mm camera that i first started on is a Nikon FM which has been just about everything I’ve needed in a camera. When I want to go out and be super breezy with it I picked up a little point and shoot - a Konica Z-up70. For 120mm (that I shot most of these photos on) I use a Mamiya 645 :). I was a biiiiiig fan of Fuji PRO 400h (RIP) so since that’s been discontinued I’ve really been experimenting trying to figure out what I like best, which is actually what led me to black and white for this set - still haven’t found a color film I’m totally loyal to but I’ve been enjoying Ilford HP5 a lot for black and white.

Q: What did you enjoy about taking photos of a different landscape? Was there anything challenging about it?
A: I loooove taking photos of different landscapes. Growing up as a big-time NatGeo fan, landscapes and wildlife photography have always been my favorite photos to look at and make. I think the most challenging thing about it is looking at a scene in a way that can draw people in while also offering a kind of unique perspective that maybe wouldn’t otherwise be captured. A lot of these photos are taken on the side of the road on the way to our “final destination” and shooting them was my way of being fully present the entire duration of the trip. 

Q: All of your photos are black and white. What are some qualities that you like about black and white film vs. color film? 
A: I love both black and white and color. Overall Im definitely way more comfortable with color and for a while was actually too “afraid” to shoot black and white because I thought there was some level I had to reach or some skills I had to have before I could do it “properly”. So really I’m starting to work with black and white to push myself into being alright with learning and experimenting right now. I’m really enjoying the simplicity it brings. 

Q: The photos in this collection seem to have a quiet and intimate quality to them. How would you describe your style of photography? What is it about a scene or an object that inspires you to capture it? 
A: Thank you for saying that, I’m glad that’s how they come across! I mentioned earlier that I really enjoy landscape and wildlife photos and I really think what I enjoy so much about it is that I get to document something that already exists out there in the world. To me, if I can show someone that a thing exists and thus, has value and permission to take up space then I’m happy. And the easiest way to do that is to show them a picture of it. I’m super passionate about wildlife conservation, and I often get to see things in a way that people who aren’t already passionate about it don’t get to. When I see something I want to take a picture of a lot of times it is a seemingly ordinary part of this way bigger system but if you stop and give it your undivided attention, it can be breathtaking. 

Q: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why? 
A: My favorite is the photo of 2 strangers hanging out at Crater Lake! It was just a really quiet, beautiful moment and the sunlight happened to be hitting the perfect spot in the water just as a person was swimming by and the sparkles in the water make my heart sing. I love to see people (and animals) interacting with their environment and this photo just unraveled in front of me! Love it when that happens. 

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