Rachel Zhang is a Film Club Member, PhotoLounge Student Ambassador and is featured in our current University Student Show! Come by the store to see her photo in person. Her images have always caught our eye in how they are lit and composed so we decided to get to know her a bit more! Scroll down to read the interview and see some of her photographs.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: I got my interest in photography from my dad. Growing up, I would always complain about how he was constantly taking pictures of our family and he would jokingly reply that it was so he could remember these moments when he was old and wrinkly. As I got older I understood the value of capturing the spontaneous yet formative moments in my life. Being able to capture the feelings and energy of a memory via photography is my way of tracking my path and progression throughout life!
Q: What type of camera do you shoot with, and what kind of film do you usually use?
A: I shoot with mostly my Olympus Mju II because it's super durable which is great because it's been through some interesting situations. I use Fuji’s Superia 400 because it was the only film accessible to me in Minnesota and I’ve just stuck with it ever since!
Q: All of your photos are in color. What are some qualities that you like about color film?
A: I love color film because there's just something about it that a digital camera can not replicate. The lighting and color makes every photo I take feel like a snapshot of a coming of age film (at least I hope so).
Q: Some of your photos are of groups of people and seem to capture a trip or gathering. What does it mean for you to capture these moments on film?
A: Although I love to photograph the day to day moments, I feel like there is something special about capturing a moment that is unique and distinct in my life. For example, the photo of the sleeping bags and van was in Joshua Tree during my road trip. We decided to sleep outside on the rocks and stare at the moon all night. I think it encapsulates the essence of what I want out of my life: spontaneity, fun, and fulfilling days.
Q: Many of your photos also have a strong composition and are beautifully lit. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
A: From a young age I have been collecting postcards from places I’ve traveled to. I really love the art and composition postcards because the whole point is to capture the feeling of a place in one small shot. I draw inspiration from that concept when shooting. I think to myself “how do I make this memory a postcard for the moment or place I’m in?”
Q: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
A: My favorite has to be the one of my friends sitting at a park table. We had all met after working on a farm in Hawaii for a month and this was our last day on the island. We brought grapefruit from the farm (that I was obsessed with) and just sat at the beach eating, talking, and watching the sunset. I thought about how special the moment was so I stood up abruptly and walked a few steps to snap a photo of the moment then went back to chatting. I get such strong nostalgia from the photo and can remember how I felt in the moment so clearly. I love this one especially because that feeling is my entire goal when shooting film.
Every day, 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!