Ho An Lau is a Film Club Member whose images caught our attention on Instagram. Her photos have a striking quality of light to them that made us want to see a larger collection of her film photos and get to know her more through an interview. Scroll down to learn more about her and see her photos.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
HL: My initial interest in photography developed throughout high school and only ever encompassed digital mediums. However, when I entered medical school, I discovered my passion for radiology which historically utilized film and light boxes to image and visualize disease within the body. With that, my interest in radiology coupled to my (very) basic understanding of photography, ultimately, sparked my curiosity to learn film photography. As with radiology, I became fascinated by the value lighting adds to film photography and the stories told through contrasting shades of light. I further fell in love with film photography as it provides a grounding sense of permanence and encourages the appreciation of moments in time.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
HL: I absolutely love shooting with my Canon AE-1 Program and would highly recommend this model to any amateur or aspiring photographer (like myself!). It truly is a wonderful camera that allows you to focus on learning the importance of lighting and basics of photography while also giving you the freedom of shooting in auto for those moments you can’t bother with the settings! As for film, I am constantly reaching for vibrant and warm 35 mm color film - I keep a mini stockpile of Kodak ColorPlus 200 and Fujifilm Fujicolor 200 in my fridge.
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?
HL: My film journey began with black and white film to experiment with the depth of an image. I was focused on translating the basics of photography into the realm of film photography and working with black and white film in the beginning helped shape my understanding of components such as light, contrast, texture, and framing. Once I began to venture into color film, I became completely obsessed with the vibrancy and nostalgic energy the color added to an image. With both black and white and color film, I love the way both add a uniquely special component to any image and may change the evoked feeling of an image.
PL: Many of your photos have a beautiful quality of light. Is there anything that you purposely do to achieve this quality? What inspires you to take photos of objects that are nicely lit?
HL: I find myself inspired by sunlight and the way in which light changes our mood, emotions, and energy. I aspire to capture the way light impacts a moment and evokes a response - all of which is best accomplished through capturing the natural light of a space or scene. In order to amplify this quality of light in my photography, I shoot mostly during the haze of sunrise and glow of sunset. I find that midday sunlight is ideal for creating dramatic contrast between colors and shadows - which creates equally stunning images.
That being said, I often find myself uninspired to shoot on rainy/gloomy days. However, I am trying to extend my creative sparks into these scenes, as well as hoping to explore the realm of nighttime film photography.
PL: There are a mixture of landscapes, street scenes and close-ups in this collection of images. How would you describe your style of photography? What do you like to take pictures of most?
HL: I am still discovering my style of photography - but I like to describe my style as capturing natural light and lines in beautiful surroundings to evoke nostalgic feelings. As of now, I am really enjoying shooting streetscapes, restaurant decor, and the more mundane items that are often overlooked in our bustling daily lives. I also began exploring the world of portraits recently and actually took my best friend's engagement photos and, although not pictured in this collection, they are undoubtedly some of my favorite photos.
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
HL: My favorite photo of the collection is the full frame, sheer pink curtain billowing and contrasting against the sliver of the natural, pale blue sky. I love the captured motion within the image because it helps to create dynamic, natural lighting and shadowing that bring depth to an otherwise mundane (and probably very dirty) curtain. For me, this photo emulates the soft and serene moment of a warm summer breeze that makes you feel a calming sense of pure content.
Every day, Club Members take exceptional pictures. If you are not a Film Club Member yet what are you waiting for? Join today to support the photo community in Philly and to start saving money on film processing!