New York through my Viewfinders

I recently traveled to New York City… it was… Well, no words can genuinely do the greatest city on Earth justice.

I decided to take my DSLR camera on my trip, as well as my handy Canon A-1 35mm film camera. (p.s. One upside of New York City is no one looks as you funny when you whip out a roll of film to reload… you actually look pretty normal in comparison to some.)

Once I arrived in The Big Apple, I was in awe of all of the colors, lights, and movement that surrounded me. I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to capture the essence of the city rather than just taking “pretty” photos. I didn’t care about pretty. I cared about translating what New York means through photos rather than having posed images.

The first day of my trip, I took both of my cameras out with me. Yes, you read that right. BOTH. This was a mistake. I didn’t think my plan all the way through when I decided to carry my A-1 which, by the way, HEAVY, in my bag and carry my DSLR on me neck strap. After a while, it gets uncomfortable.

So, the next day, my first full day in the city, I only took my film camera. I was worried about not having a backup DSLR, because film meant that it would be my one shot to get my photo. If something happened with my film (i.e. didn’t load it right, over exposed, under exposed, etc.) those photos would be lost. This scared me, but I decided to go for it anyway. It made me feel more involved in my experience with my surroundings in a way. I passed so many people who were only seeing the city through the screens on their iPhones as they took photos of anything and everything. I believe this to be one fault of the evolution in technology. Yes, taking photos is very important when you visit somewhere, obviously, but when does it become a distraction? When do humans stop living in the moment and only care about snapping pictures and posting them? Is there a line?

With film, I never felt I was ignoring the experience. You only get 24 (or 36) shots. You can’t take a burst of photos on your film camera the way you can on a DSLR or a cellphone. This allows your brain to stop. And think. And see. And live. Not to be too philosophical, but I felt free. After a couple of hours, I put the worry aside and the ‘what if these photos don’t turn out well,’ because even if they didn’t, I had the memories.

Once the second day approached, I was feeling more confident in my shooting on film. All the insecurities of “what if?” had completely left my brain and I was just enjoying the time.

The point of this is not to say, “Stop taking so many photos on your phone! You’re not traveling right! Ignore your DSLR! Only shoot film!” by ANY means. What I am trying to say is, live in the moment. For me, shooting film helps me stay present. You don’t have unlimited shots, and you can’t mindlessly hold down a shutter button; therefore, you take more important and meaningful photos.

Here are a few of mine:

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Here’s to you and your own adventures. Stay present. Happy shooting.