Who Are You? Why Film? Why Now?

This is one of those moments where you attempt to accomplish something, but you have so much that you want to do, you don’t know where to start. Let me begin with who I am and what direction I want for Utah Film Photography. I’m Shaun Nelson, a photographer from South Ogden, Utah, USA. I originally took up photography 14 years ago when my oldest son was born. I consider myself part of the new generation of photographers in the way that I started shooting digital. It’s all I’ve known until the last year. Prior to digital, I had no experience or desire to shoot film. In October 2013, Jacob Nuttall from Acme Camera Company was demonstrating an old Polaroid Land Camera 250 at a Studio o2o Creative Exchange. I was honestly shocked at the beauty and contrast of the black and white images coming out of the vintage camera. Two weeks later, I bought my first Land Camera. In December, my wife gave me an old Canon A1 for Christmas. From that point forward, I’ve been buying vintage cameras and shooting film for fun. Since January 2014, I’ve collected over 25 film cameras. At times it’s made my wife very nervous that I’ve immersed myself into something so quickly. My feeling about my camera collection is simple: I won’t buy a camera that I can’t put film in and use. Museum pieces are nice, just like classic cars and comic books, but I want to take them out and enjoy them. Along with collecting the cameras, I’ve found a lot of satisfaction researching them and learning about them. There are so many fantastic stories behind companies, specific camera models, and the people who made them. In many ways, it’s a new culture of creativity that’s been opened to me. And I want everyone that loves photography, film or digital, to feel the same. That’s why I’ve created this site.

Shaun Nelson – March 2014
Self-portrait inspired by Kenneth Linge and Uncle Fester.

This site isn’t about film versus digital. It’s not about who won the photography war, megapixels or silver halide. It’s about preserving what is becoming a fading art. It’s about sharing, inspiring, and having fun. The desires I have for this site can be found on the About page. This site will feature articles written by myself and special guests. If you visit Utah Film Photography and see something that you’ve known for years, or though experience, and recognize information needs to be added or corrected, I ask that you be patient with those who are just starting their own understanding of film photography. I invite you to share your own thoughts here, on Facebook and Twitter. This site will not be a negative experience for the content creators, casual readers, and participants.

Why start another site about film photography? Let me attempt to explain with a lame analogy. Remember the first time you heard your favorite band or singer? Do you remember wanting to share a specific song with your friends or family? It’s an exciting moment. As time passes we don’t typically wake up one day and stop liking that band or specific style of music. We might enjoy other types of music, add new genres to our collection, but that favorite band continues to stay with us, year-after-year, decade-after-decade. Even when that band has broken up, some members have passed away or entered rehab for the 10th time, we love that one particular song or album. If you know me on a personal level, you might think I’ve engaged in an expensive, eccentric, or trendy hobby. That’s not true. With this site, I want to share my own experience and discoveries with film photography. Talking about film photography and vintage cameras is exciting to me. Just like the excitement I had when I came upon my favorite band and music, I wanted to share it. That’s how I feel about photography.

8 thoughts on “Who Are You? Why Film? Why Now?

  1. Great first post! I started shooting film when I was about 4! Moved to digital in the 90s and now collect old Canon 35mm cameras. I have just started up a Camera Market website to add to my photography blogs so you could say I’m hooked on photography! Good luck with the blog.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Malcolm, thanks for the feedback. I’ve bookmarked your market storefront site and I’ll be checking it out often. It’s possibly something I can see happening with my site as I often buy a LOT of thrift store cameras.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I look forward to seeing your posts. I use film myself, but just for my actual photography – not for the snaps of food, friends or weekend activities I also share on my blog (I have a specific part of my blog for my ‘real’ photos). It’s simply too expensive here in Norway to use film for everything. I don’t have access to a darkroom any more, so I can’t save money by developing my own… Do you develop yours?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kirsty, thanks for your comments. I have yet to step into a darkroom. I’m going to attempt it later this year. I might even document my experience so that other digital to film experimenters can see how fun it is. Make sure to post a link to your website, I’d like to see some of your work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Best of luck on your endeavors in the film world. As you know, I was very fortunate to get into photography over 40 years ago. I was totally involved from bulk loading tri-x film, developing the film and printing in the darkroom. I still think about the many dodging, burning and vignette tools every time I use Lightroom & Photoshop. The darkroom is your next great adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Shaun. Much like yourself, I started getting back into film and old cameras recently, after using digital for some years. I did grow up using film though, so we do differ there (and I show my age). I never had an SLR to play with when I was younger, so it’s great to be able to buy them now so cheaply. I have a fair collection too and have barely scratched the surface of using them!
    A parcel from Ukraine arrived just the other day, so I aim to at least post some photos of the cameras on my blog soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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