Kellie Matson is a Film Club Member who has photographs featured in our Member Show Seasonal Reflections: Fall. We were drawn to the images she submitted to the show for their composition and drama. So this week we wanted to know more about them as well as share a larger group of her photographs. Read our interview with her below and see her images.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
KM: If it came down to one thing, it would be my absolute gem of a friend, Skylar Sokolowski. I saw her capturing moments of our friends that would have otherwise been fleeting, or lost on a phone, and I knew she was onto something special. Many people have had a lifelong interest in photography, both digital and film, but for me it really only started once I picked up a film camera a few years ago and have fallen hard in love with it ever since. There are few things as joyful as getting a roll developed that you’ve eagerly awaited, and I know Skylar would agree!!
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
KM: Everything I shoot is on my dad’s old Canon AE-1, and most of it is done on Portra stocks. Keeping my camera and film somewhat consistent has allowed me to experiment elsewhere with my settings, lighting, subjects, and editing afterwards, and all in a way in which I learn something new from every shot. I suppose I’ll get curious to try something else eventually, but for now I’m holding onto the reliability I’ve found in them.
PL: Your photos have a strong composition. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
KM: I spend a lot of time (maybe too much) looking at every edge and corner through my viewfinder to see just exactly what I am capturing. It doesn’t always lead to spontaneity, but one of the nice things about shooting nature is that generally speaking, the subject isn’t moving so I can lean into that preference without the limitation of time. I especially like composing shots that can convey a sense of scale, and almost make the viewer feel like they're standing at the same place in time that I was when I took the shot.
PL: Many of your photos seem to be taken while traveling through natural landscapes. What does it mean for you to capture these moments on film?
KM: There are pictures in this batch from ten different states, seven different trips, numerous different friends who are just out of frame, and very specific moments I hope I will never forget. When I look back on how special these trips were, it will always be the film I reference to re-live them, not the more numerous phone pictures. Even though most film becomes digitized now, it still offers the same permanency equated to holding a book versus reading it electronically.
PL: What do you enjoy about capturing nature? What can be challenging about it?
KM: When it comes to shooting nature, I like to think that our planet has done the hard part in creating what I’m looking at, and I just have the pleasant task of being there to capture it on film. I’m sure everyone has now had the experience of picking their phone up to snap a picture of a sunset and being humbly disappointed at how flat it looks on screen. I’ve found that both my favorite and also the most challenging part of shooting nature is just that sometimes, managing to capture it so that it translates without losing an ounce of the spark it held in person. Of course in this piece you see the ones that worked, but there are many more that didn’t even come close.
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
KM: It’s hard to pick a favorite because they are all uniquely attached to a moment, story, trip or person as well. The Oregon coast picture was followed by a pizza and bottle of wine on the beach, one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen erupted just after the dock picture, and the shot of water crashing onto rocks in Acadia was followed by a wonderfully stormy afternoon alone on the coast. If I had to pick one though, the mountain goat walking towards me on a ridge does stand out for the experience of it. Friends and I had gone to this mountain outside of Glacier National Park specifically with the hopes of a run in like this, and we were not disappointed.
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!