World in B&W

Have you ever thought what the world would be like in black and white?

Would it be like a Charlie Chaplin movie where everything is mime-like?

Would there be complete silence?

Would it be better or would it be the loneliest thing you could ever imagine?

Black and white to me seems quieter, and more peaceful. There would be less pretention and more expression. It would bring a more careful understanding of the world as there would be more focus and observation on the substance rather than the superficial.

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Life in Freedom

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Life with courage is a life in freedom.

There are many words to define freedom and courage isn’t one of them, but if you wanna simplify the vast concept that is freedom, you’d most likely realize that huge part of it is brought about by courage. Now, I’m more confused.

Today, we celebrate Philippine’s 120th Independence Day.

When I hear that phrase, I always picture this humongous UFO hovering slowly over the sky and Will Smith on his yard looking at it like it was going to be his last day on earth. It creeps me out every time, but setting that feeling aside, I know that it is one of the iconic films of courage of our lifetime.

When you go 120 years back, ALL of the people we consider heroes today had extraordinary courage which, I should say was a major weapon against our colonists.

So maybe now you get why there is such an analogy between FREEDOM and COURAGE.

If you put it in a more contemporary setting, we could say that life lived with courage is a life in freedom. If you choose to brave heartache, failure, disappointment and all the negative but completely normal life stuff, then you choose to live freely as well.

The question is, do you? Do you choose to live your life courageously?

There are things that I want to change in my life that requires a whole lot of courage. I want to be able to face life as if it can never harm me or bring me down, even if it can and it will.

I want to be able to let go of the past, of the fears that only I inflict on myself to allow myself to open up to new people, to new possibilities.

I want to be able to do have the courage to do what I love even if it means taking a risky leap of faith.

I want to be able to express myself even if not everyone would agree with me.

I want to be brave enough to make a difference in the world even if it would seem impossible.

I want to be brave enough to do as I please without allowing the words of others easily pierce through me.

I want to be free from all these fears and live my life the way I want to, without hurting anyone, and without allowing people who hurt me to also take out the flame in me. This is my life. I will live it more courageously!

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Film Forever

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On the 5th of May, I will be celebrating my very first, real, film camera’s first birthday. It was such a whirlwind romance between us and now, I can’t imagine my life without it. I never felt so in love with film as much as I am now.

To date, I added 2 more analogue cameras to my collection, maintained a film blog, traveled with the analogue babies and followed and got to know local and foreign film photographers.

Throughout the year that has passed, I’ve learned to love the bittersweet feeling one gets when shooting film. Some photos turn out nah, others look really good while some, you realize, don’t get developed/exposed at all. You’ll also start to see that you’ve learned a lot, but still have a long way to go. You learn everyday, every time you use a new film or a different camera or simply when you teach others how to do it.

You also begin to understand that it doesn’t always have to be about being hi-tech or expensive for one to see and appreciate beauty in photography. It’s not about taking hundreds of photos and hoping you get a good shot and maybe just delete the rest. It takes great patience, understanding and a whole lot of effort and figuring out your own approach in getting a photo to turn out the way you want it to. But when it doesn’t, it can be something way, way better than you have imagined. It’s very unpredictable, film. It can surprise you in a reeeeaaaally good way!

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So how and why did I get into FILM PHOTOGRAPHY?

I bought my very first film camera from a college friend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to make it work. After getting 2 empty film rolls developed, I got very frustrated and I decided I just put it to rest.

Fast forward to a few years after graduation, a former colleague thought I would love his lomography cameras. He sold me his FISHEYE 2 and HOLGA CFN with a free 120mm film. I knew how to use a film camera. I know we used an “instamatic” film camera until I was in high school, but never have I seen a 120 film! I had to research how to load one into the Holga and to tell you honestly, it was pure joy what I felt when I did it. I was like “this is definitely not a thing of the past!”.

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I couldn’t really remember why that colleague thought I would enjoy using his cameras, but now that I think about it, I think I may have poured my heart out once about being a photographer. Also, I think assembling my own plastic toy TLR camera gave me away.

As much as I had the time of my life using these toy cameras, there came a point in my life that I wanted to take the hobby up a notch higher. So, I decided to get myself a real film camera. That’s when I joined the group, Film Photography Swap, where I got my very first real camera, a Canon Ftb QL. It is a heavy, all metal and a very good looking vintage camera. It is fully mechanical and I loved it the moment I laid my eyes on it. That was indeed, the start of my epic film adventure!

Why I got into film is a different story. At first, I just wanted my own camera. I knew I could not afford getting a DSLR as soon as I can get a film SLR so that’s what I invested on first.

I also realized early on that I never learned a thing about photography (except for taking photos with DOF) playing around with my father’s DSLR, so I thought, why not start where almost all great photographers started, with film photography? True enough, most film photographers and enthusiasts alike would say that if you want to learn the craft, you’d have to learn it the hard way. 😛

Kidding aside, I understood all the technical stuff playing around with my camera. I appreciated everything the manual had to say and also what the online photography teachers expounded on. As time went on, I appreciated the unpredictability of the end results, the great effort you put into getting a single photo, the grain, the delayed gratification and not to mention the excitement and the magical feeling you get from beginning to the end.

I often think about the fact that this camera was built in the 70’s when my parents haven’t even met each other yet. It must have been passed on to generations and must have been used to take hundreds of photos, yet it survived long enough to take photos of the modern day world. Doesn’t that sound magical?

Do I see myself going back to digital?

Digital photography will always be the go-to and less risky way to document the most special moments of our lives. That’s why it’s comfortable to use! I still take photos using my phones, and digital may never be completely shut out of my life, but for 90% of the time, I would always prefer to shoot film and rather than megapixels.

What are the two other cameras I recently bought?

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This one’s my first rangefinder. It’s a Yashica Electro 35 G. It’s an aperture-priority camera which means, once you’ve set an aperture on it, it automatically sets the shutter speed. It was customized by the previous owner, rangefinder lover and also a member of the FPS group I mentioned earlier, which explains the red leather cover of the camera body. It came with the complete and original leather case and strap, a rubber lens hood and a lens cap! Definitely a good catch! Plus, I got it in pretty mint condition!
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This one I took using the said rangefinder. Not bad, right? In the photo is the latest analogue camera I got. It’s a Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera. It’s very odd-looking, uses peel-apart instant film and looks very intimidating to use, but once you get the hang of it, it seems pretty less complicated than it looks.

So far though, I’ve wasted 2 film sheets because it’s mostly for bright and sunny, outdoor photography. Sometimes, the peeling of the photo causes small parts of the photos to come off as well, especially when the photos have not yet been fully developed (I think). That’s why some of my photos were damaged mildly. Other than that, everything worked smoothly, even the loading of the film which I totally forgot to review before we went on our trip.

Any favorite photos to date?

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I have a few more, but these are definitely climbing up the charts!

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