Member Moment: Rachel Dwyer

Film Club
Rachel Dwyer is a Film Club Member who has won our Photo Contest on Instagram and has been featured in several Member Shows. Their photographs capture light in a beautiful way and are pastel in color which brings a calming quality to the photos. This week we decided to get to know them more and feature some of their photographs for the community to see. Scroll down to read the interview. 

Photograph of waterfall in the woods

PL: What got you interested in film photography? 

RD: Ten years ago when I attended The University of the Arts we worked exclusively in film for about the first year and a half, so I didn’t have much of a choice! However, I really fell in love with the medium once I was able to take a color photography class where I got the rare opportunity to print in a [now defunct] color darkroom.

Photograph of indoor plant sitting on table next to window

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

RD: I shoot with a Pentax ME Super and usually use Kodak Portra 400.

Photograph looking up at towering sunflowers in front of a house

Double exposure photograph of sunflower and person taking a picture of their reflection

PL: All of the photos within this selection are color. What are some qualities that you like about color film? 

RD: I really feel that the tonalities captured by color film cannot be duplicated by a digital photograph, no matter what type of filter is used. Color film feels so true to life yet dreamy and cinematic all at the same time.

Photograph of lifeguard stand at the beach

Photograph of person wading into a body of water

PL: Many of your photos have a beautiful quality of light. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter? 

RD: I aim for the light to elevate the subject from something average; water, a plant, clutter on a table, into something that is worth capturing; something that will evoke emotion in myself or the viewer. 

Photograph of people waiting at an airport gate

Photograph of old radio sitting on work table with soda can, lighter, watch and other objects

PL: Some of your images also feature people. What do you enjoy about photographing people? What is challenging about it? 

RD: My work feels incredibly personal so being able to include people I care about is always special. I try to keep my images of people unposed and natural. I feel that shooting with a small un-intimidating camera takes the pressure off. And in particular shooting film has a benefit when capturing people because I take far fewer frames than with digital; I get the shots, hope they turn out the way I want, and move on.

Photograph of child running fingers through their hair while walking along a sandy path

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

RD: My favorite is the image of the young boy in a striped shirt with his blonde hair blowing in the wind. The extremely shallow focus brings to mind the fleeting nature of childhood.

This image evokes the way that childhood memories feel; dream-like and vague, yet visceral.

Photograph of child from behind running through a meadow


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!


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