Member Moment: Naabia Romain

Film Club
Naabia Romain is a Film Club Member whose work is featured in our Member Show Seasonal Reflections: Fall. The composition and lighting of her images are what caught our attention so this week we interviewed her to get to know her better and see a larger group of her photos. 

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of person under street lamp

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of person

PL: What got you interested in film photography? 

NR: I’d say Tumblr. I was always drawn to movie stills and photos that look a little not real in the way that film often does. So I was definitely mimicking it before I really knew what it was. That’s what I love about it to this day, the unreal way colors and textures can be captured and essentially preserved. Over time I started picking up disposable cameras at CVS and blowing through as many of those as I could afford. I borrowed a friend’s AE-1 and started shooting more often. I probably carried that camera around for like 3 years before I got my own.

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of persons feet

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of person leaning against street lamp

PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?

NR: I primarily shoot on a Canon A-1 that I got on Facebook marketplace. I generally shoot whatever cheap film stock I can get my hands on.

Double exposure photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of two people looking out over lake

PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo? 

NR: I’m always drawn to how light moves and interacts with colors. I grew up outside of Detroit so I love cool buildings and cars, especially from like the 70’s and 80’s. I definitely still find myself drawn to taking pictures of design or architecture that stands out to me. 

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of street intersection

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of buildings in sunlight

PL: Many of your images have a strong composition. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter? 

NR: It’s funny you say that because now that I’ve made a habit of printing I’ve totally changed how I think about composition. However, a lot of the time I can kinda see the image I want more clearly in my head than I can see it through my viewfinder. At any given moment while shooting my brain is mostly trying to align the two. I’m usually thinking about the subject or focus and then the best way to arrange any other prominent shapes or elements. Sometimes I can’t make everything fit and I give up though, especially adjusting to the density and scale of Philly.

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of the entrance to a building in sunlight

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of blue car parked

PL: Some of the photos within this collection capture people. What do you like about photographing people? What is challenging about it? 

NR: I love the way taking pictures of people brings an inherent emotion or theme that sometimes I have to dictate or create when I’m taking pictures of objects or buildings. Honestly, I’d probably do it a lot more if I had the social skills. But the most challenging part for me is usually directing, which is probably why I love candids.

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of people shopping for flowers in Rittenhouse Square market

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of the side of a diner

PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?

NR: I have a lot of photos I love because I got lucky and probably couldn’t recreate them, but I love the picture of Zack’s because it captures what’s there. The picture always feels like the place to me, a local diner in my hometown that was always open when everything else was closed. I love that it is what I set out to shoot.

Photograph taken with Canon A-1 camera of a fair on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia


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