Paige Walter was recently featured in our Fourth Film Club Member show and her photos really caught our attention so we thought we would interview her for this week’s Member Moment. We wanted to know more about her relationship with photography and what she likes to take pictures of most.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: Both my business and hobby is promoting the music scene in Philly, documenting it in words and images. I make a zine and have an Instagram presence with my roommate and best friend that shares what’s going on in Philly music these days, and we eventually needed our own in-house photographer. I bought my first DSLR during quarantine when I had the down-time to practice, and shortly after that I fell in love with film. Now I shoot both digital and film almost daily for work–either for the zine or my job at WXPN–and pleasure.
Q: What type of camera do you shoot with and what type of film do you usually use?
A: I have two Pentax cameras, a K1000 for 35mm and 645 for 120mm film. I also love my trusty Canon A-1. Portra for me is the gold standard for color, but I also love experimenting with Kodak’s Color Plus, Ilford Delta 400 or 3200 for black and white, and Cinestill 800 for night photography.
Q: Many of your photos are of people. What do you like about capturing people on film? What is challenging about it?
A: Many of my photos are of people, specifically musicians or other players in the music industry, because that’s been my focus as a photographer. And because photos of my friends bring me joy. What’s challenging is using the limitations of film to capture moving subjects in less-than-ideal lighting conditions (musicians playing on stage). But that’s what makes film so rewarding when your photos turn out. And even though I strive for the perfect shot, sometimes the best images are flawed in some way. Film surprises me often, even when I can control factors such as lighting and movement.
Q: The photos of landscapes have a really nice light to them. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
A: Lighting is everything in photography. Often when I shoot live music, I don’t have the luxury of perfect lighting conditions because venues are dimly lit. When I shoot landscapes, however, I like to set myself up to take the best picture I know how, and that includes considering lighting as the subject of the photo as much as the scenery. The same goes for my portrait work that’s not live-action.
Q: Almost all of your photos are taken in color. What are some qualities that you like about color film vs. black and white film?
A: Color can be the subject of a photo just as much as lighting or the figures themselves. Good color treatment can be the difference between a bland photo and something exciting. And with film, beautiful hues are built into the stock, unlike digital which captures images with tones that are closer to real life or duller. Black and white film gives me one less element to consider, which can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending. I prefer to shoot black and white when I know I won’t be able to capture the tones of color I want, or generally when I want the timeless feel of b&w.
Q: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
A: It’s so hard to choose a favorite because my photos all bring back warm memories for me. I use photography to capture moments that made me feel happy, and I hope that translates when other people look at my work. I especially love photos that show as much emotion in the slower moments of life as well as the fast ones, like the landscapes from around town that offer a snapshot of what it feels like to live in Philadelphia now. While it’s fun to capture the energy of places I travel to, my photography is mostly dedicated to living and loving in our messy, thriving city.
Everyday, Club Members take amazing 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!