Member Moment: Sam Gregg

Film Club
Sam Gregg is a Film Club Member and Drexel University student who we interviewed this week. He submitted a group of his photos from a collection of work he thought paired well together and represented his style of photography. Scroll down to see his photos and to read the interview! 

PL: What got you interested in film photography?

SG: When I was probably around 5 years old, my parents got me one of those small reusable disposable-esque film cameras. I had it until I was about 10, when I got a super cheap Kodak digicam. Since then I had not shot with film until about three years ago. I had sort of burned out on taking photos with my mirrorless digital camera. I found that all the features and instant feedback digital gave got in the way of what was going on around me. Especially with street photography, my film cameras have always felt like less of a barrier between myself and the environment. When I saw my dad’s old Olympus OM1 in the attic, I decided to give film a go. Sort of been hooked ever since.

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

SG: I have an odd assortment of mainly 35mm SLRs, with some point and shoots mixed in. I would say the vast majority of my time is split between four cameras. The Olympus OM1, A Pentax K1000SE, an Olympus AZ-230 Superzoom, and my favorite of the lot, the Nikon FM2. With the exception of the Superzoom, all the SLRs were handed down from my parents and grandparents. Film stock wise, I usually try to stay on the budget side with mostly consumer color stocks from Kodak. Gold 200, and ColorPlus are my favorites. In the winter I shoot a lot more UltraMax and Portra 400 since the days are so short I can’t expose 200 speed film outside.

PL: What are some qualities that you like about color film?

SG: The way that color film handles light really is what sets it apart from anything else out there to me. I find that the warmer tones and highlight rolloff helps to evoke a strong feeling of nostalgia. I love black and white film as well for some work, but when I am just out on the street with my camera, or on a trip, the versatility of color usually is what helps to keep its spot in my camera.

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

SG: It kind of depends on the day, but I was really happy with the photo I took of the old post office building on 30th st with the two men entering the crosswalk. I saw the way the light hit the building and waited for them to start crossing. I love how both are mid stride in the photo. My other favorite in this batch is the photo at Rothman Ice rink outside city hall. It is a bit of a packed photo, but I feel like it really captures the frenetic feeling of the moment.

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

SG: For me it is really when geometry, scale and light come together. I love architecture, but without interesting light it is just a building. Scale for me is often about how humans fit in, a giant building is all well and good, but I always try to show human life. How people interact with the city so to speak. One of the only times I actively avoid people in my photos is nature, I think I personally prefer it to appear more serene. 

PL: Some of your photos seem to capture street scenes. What do you enjoy about this type of photography and what is challenging about it? 

SG: I really enjoy street photography, it has sort of forced me to go a bit out of my comfort zone and point a camera at the things and people around me. I have met a bunch of fellow photographers just from being out and about with my camera. It's also been an amazing excuse to keep always exploring new spots here in Philly and beyond. The most challenging aspect is the lack of control in the environment. I have had a fair few frames ruined by something like a car cutting in at the last second. Also having to remember to be conscious of your surroundings, I tend to get sucked into the viewfinder. 

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