Natalie Mischello is a Film Club Member and is currently featured in our Best of the Year exhibit. We enjoyed seeing the photos she submitted to the show so we thought we would interview her. Scroll down to read the interview and to see a group of her photographs.
PL: What got you interested in film photography?
NM: Growing up, my mom always had a camera in her hand. I remember being annoyed by this as a kid, but as an adult, I am now the person shoving my camera in everyone’s faces. I love the nostalgia of sitting down and looking through picture albums, and I fear we are not going to have that anymore with the progression of iPhones and digital media. I think the look of film is something that just can’t be reproduced digitally, and that’s what makes it so special. There are few things that excite me as much as getting the email “your scans are ready”. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning again, ecstatic to tear into the folder and see what I got.
Additionally, my boyfriend has been super encouraging of my film photography. He pretty much taught me how to shoot manually, bought me my first wide angle lens, encouraged me to start my film Instagram, and even introduced me to PhotoLounge to get my pictures developed. So, it’s really nice having a partner that supports your hobbies wholeheartedly.
PL: What type of camera do you shoot with and what kind of film do you usually use?
NM: I have two cameras that I switch between. I have a point and shoot Canon Sure Shot Z115 and my Canon AE1. The Canon AE1 was my moms, gifted to her by my dad, so it’s very special to me.
For film, I would love to expand my horizons. Portra 400 is my tried and true color film, or Kodak gold. For black and white, I have only tried Kodak 400TX. I definitely want to branch out though.
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?
NM: Black and white is a little more challenging to shoot because you don’t have the color aspect to make the photo interesting. Ironically, I recently shot what I thought was going to be an absolutely fire roll of fall foliage pics (on what I thought was color film), only to get the roll back and realize it was black and white. Huge bummer.
With color film, I like how you can get a totally different look/color profile depending on what film you’re using.
PL: Many of these photos capture people. What do you enjoy about photographing people? What is challenging about it?
NM: I feel like so much personality can be portrayed in an image. The most challenging part for me is finding the courage to photograph strangers, because I’m always afraid I’m going to come off as weird or invasive. I feel like I need to wear a sign that says “I’m not trying to be weird I just want to take pictures for my film Instagram”. For photographing people I know, it’s hard for me to capture people/moments organically at the right time without saying “hey can you pose for this picture” and ruining the candid aspect. I think that’s something that will come with practice.
PL: When taking pictures, what are some objects or elements or feelings within a scene that inspire you to take a photo?
NM: Honestly I want to give an inspiring answer but the reality is 9/10 times I will just see something and think “that looks cool” and press the button and hope for the best. I feel like my best pictures have been ones where I wasn’t trying, which is really annoying but that’s how it usually goes for me. I try to just stick to photographing things that I personally love, which is usually nature, friends/family, my boyfriend, my cat. I also like places like an amusement park, a fair, a bowling alley, any big city— basically any place with a lot going on visually. I find those places to be easiest to find inspiration in.
PL: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
NM: My favorite one at the moment is probably the black and white photo of my boyfriend and the golden retriever. I knew as soon as I took it it would be a good one and I wasn’t wrong. The dog is smiling, he’s smiling, I love it.
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!