The practice of 35mm film & other forms of analog had a resurgence online in 2017, & its renaissance has only grown stronger.
It seems counterintuitive to many. The art of film is riskier than digital. It is a larger investment. "Mistakes" occur, be it a light flare, a blur, or a faulty focus.
So why, then, include film photography in your wedding gallery?
For us, our "why" behind film runs deep. For us, it started way before analog became a part of our business. In fact, it started before the two of us even met.
I bought my first (and only) film camera from Craigslist eight years ago in San Francisco.
My brothers had previously gotten into film; naturally, their antique toys intrigued me. Immediately, I was hooked. Playing around with the settings, biking to Photoworks SF to get my film developed, the wonderful grandeur of the camera itself - all of it teleported me back into the world as it was 30 years ago.
During the holidays of 2019, my dad & I spent two hours going through his old film albums from the 80's.
Next thing I knew, he was gifting me his Canon A1 from his college days to get me started in the craft. I was so nervous to get started - I am a chronic over shooter on digital, so the thought of only having 36 exposures terrified me. I had no idea what a life changing gift it would be.
Over the years of practicing film in my personal
life, I grew to love how difficult film photography is. Every shot has to be intentional. You can’t check the lighting in your photos right after you take them. The anticipation of waiting for the photos to come back from the film shop is unbelievable. I still get so nervous. What if all the photos turn out dark? What if light flooded into my camera? What if the film shop made an irreversible mistake on my roll? The risk with analog is real, but like most things in life, the reward is more than worth it.
I had yet to even finish a roll before COVID
brought my film journey to a temporary pause. Once I got back to the city, though, in June of 2020, going on film walks became a therapeutic rhythm in my life. The nerves I experienced dropping off my first roll of film to get developed were unparalled. To be honest, my first set of scans weren't great. But, the summer (& meeting a certain someone;)) brought me ample opportunity to grow in knowledge of my dad's old camera & how to create magic through the foreign medium.
The mystery of film causes me to come back to it every single damn time.
It’s old. It’s tough. It breaks. At times, I’m sick of practicing patience. The patience required to wait till the images are developed to see what we've captured, rather than the instant gratification digital photography provides. But the character, texture & “mistakes” in the photos remind me why film photography is one of the most beautifully rewarding practices I’ve ever been involved in.
Before we started dating, I learned that Carissa had just received a film camera from her dad.
Obviously, I used that as an excuse to hang out with her outside of the friend group we first met in. Of course I wanted to shoot film but really I wanted to get to know Carissa better. We would go on walks and take pictures of buildings, the street, and each other, although Carissa would only take pictures of the back of my head.
Ah yes. At this point, I already had a massive crush on him, so I was too nervous to ask him to pose. Taking photos when he wasn't looking seemed like my best option, haha.
*Image taken September 8, 2020, the day Viet asked Carissa on an official first date.
As I grew in boldness, I asked him to shoot film with me for a second time
That same night he asked me out.
Now, we've been together for nearly 2.5 years, traveled abroad together,
& taken countless domestic flights, always holding our film cameras in hand. Film is an avenue through which we explore new cities, & a way we make New York City new to us again.
*Images taken in San Francisco, Lisbon, Paris, Chattanooga, a random US town off the highway, & New York City. Yet somehow Carissa is wearing her comfort coat in basically all of them.
Early on in our relationship we committed to doing a weekly date night.
Every Monday night is sacred in our relationship. Monday night date night is a time to connect, with no distractions, doing the things we love. Often, that looks like exploring different Brooklyn neighborhoods, venturing out to the newest restaurant our friends are raving about, or taking the 28 minute train ride to Ornithology in BedStuy for their $8 happy hour old fashioned & live jazz music.
Date night or not, we value the ordinary joys in life. The first sip of coffee
in the morning, lighting a match on the first try to light our favorite candle, repeating the same old bits we do every single day, the feeling of soft grass beneath our feet at a McCarren Park picnic, freshly baked goods, laughing so hard it hurts, discovering something new about each other, or the anticipation of getting a roll of film back from the developers - these joys fuel our life.
No matter which of the above rhythms we are practicing, it is not unusual for a portion of our time together, planned or spontaneous, to look like this -
Us capturing the beauty that surrounds us on the streets of New York &
every so often, pausing to ask for a picture of each other.
&, now, I even ask Viet to face me when we do.
One day, in August of 2021, I posted a personal "film dump" of sorts on
my Instagram story. A few hours after I posted, one of my 2021 fall couples texted me & expressed interest in the vibe 35mm film creates. They both felt the magic of film calling their names, & asked if it would be possible that I could take film photos at their wedding, in addition to the standard digital coverage.
I was ecstatic. But I knew that I could not balance the two mediums - film & digital - on my own. Thankfully, my partner Viet happened to be the most talented film photographer I know, so I asked my client if they would be okay with Viet joining, we settled on an investment option for the film add on, & it became official!
I was so honored to join Carissa in her business as the film photographer &
second shooter. Up until this point, I had only shot film for fun. I was excited to say the least. It was time to go on this adventure and put my seven years of amateur practice to the test!
When we first shared these 35mm film wedding images we never could've
imagined how core to our business analog would become. Before we knew it, people started indicating in their inquiry form that a large reason they inquired with us is because having 35mm film in their wedding gallery is a MUST for them.
& we don't blame them!
We love film for so many of the reasons our clients & inquirers do.
Film has a special character to its images. It is not just a trend making its way through the current wedding zeitgeist, it is a timeless practice of capturing love in a magical & authentic way.
We genuinely think that film photography is the most romantic way to capture a love story, as the character of the images give off warm vibes & are inherently both nostalgic & timeless. The practice of film photography brings such intentionality to the moment, that can be felt & experienced when you receive them once developed.
We are so thankful to our 2023 clients for entrusting us to capture their weddings on both 35mm film & digital this year.
19 of our 2023 weddings will include 35mm film in their final wedding galleries, which makes our analog obsessed hearts happier than we ever could've imagined.
The first year we dated Viet gifted Carissa her second ever film camera for her birthday. For our one year anniversary Carissa gifted Viet a keychain full of iPhone photos scanned onto fake film negatives to display some of our many memories from our first year. Film was always a connection point for us. Now, a practice that began as a bonding point for us in our relationship, will be taking us from our home in New York, to Dallas, to Cape Cod, to Paris, & then to Bali before this year is over. All with clients who value 35mm film as much as we do. In fact, we're being flown to Bali to work entirely on film!
Our jaws are on the floor.
Whether you've hired us for film in the past, supported us on social media, or are one of our future clients, none of this would've been possible without you. 2023 is going to be one hell of a year. We cannot wait to share it all with you along the way.