personal - travel

el carmen mexico / and why film matters

01 23 14

el carmen, mexico // em the gem

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to travel to El Carmen, Mexico to attend Jose Villa’s workshop. Jose is a photographer I admire very much… he has the rare ability to remain an artist first and a businessman second. And after having run my own wedding photography business for 5 years I am convinced this is an incredible accomplishment.

It is so easy to feel pressured to do what I think I should do in my business, or what people want me to do, as opposed to really following my heart and providing images and the types of service I really believe in.

For me, this means shooting film. It sounds simple … but every assignment I have I’m faced with it a difficult choice. It costs more to shoot film, I’m a bit slower as I have to focus manually on each frame, carefully composing each shot to make sure it’s right as I’m doing it. Taking extra time to meter so that I’m exposing properly. Sending it in the mail and entrusting it to a film lab to develop and process to it’s final product.

But at the end of the day, film images make my heart sing. They have a warmth and a depth and a rawness to them that I just can’t replicate any other way. I love the process even when I get impatient at times, I love that it keeps me in the moment of composing and shooting and I’m not constantly checking the back of my camera after I take a shot.

When I first started shooting film a few years ago my logical loving husband just didn’t get it. He is the practical one, the financial one. I need him quite often to keep me balanced in all those ways. He tried to tell me that he couldn’t see this working for my business.

But a curious and miraculous thing happened along the way. He saw with his own eyes that way that shooting film changed me. When we would go on vacation, I was more present than before, taking far fewer images than I had with my digital camera. And he started to see the ways our friends and clients responded to my film work, and slowly I would hear him in conversation with friends or wedding guests explaining why I shot film and why it mattered so much.

I’ve slowly become more and more passionate about film. Teaching people when we are just out to brunch and explaining what type of film camera I’m using. When I carry around my Rolleiflex, I make new friends all over the place who want to know more about it, what it does, how it shoots. I’m finding so much joy in sharing these things.

So naturally when I was approached by the amazing women at Fullosophie about teaching some kind of photo workshop, what made the most sense, and what set my heart on fire, was teaching people how wonderful film still is in this digital age. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone (in fact, I’m teaching an iPhone class too which should be super fun) – but I’m so thrilled to share why I love it with other people.

All of this somehow brings me back to these images of the people of El Carmen (and if you’ve read all of this I owe you a big hug) – and the workshop with Jose. Something that I will cherish about my week in El Carmen is the love that Jose + Joel have for this place. Their love for this town and these people, for the rich culture of Mexico, has rubbed off on me permanently. These sweet faces are what I am looking back on now and remembering how special it was to be there.



































All images shot on my Rolleiflex using Fuji 400h + Ilford B+W film // Processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab // El Carmen, Mexico


11 thoughts on “el carmen mexico / and why film matters

  1. Caitlin Turner

    Love everything about this Emily! Your work is stunning and the emotion that you are able to capture in people and places brings a huge smile to my face every time :)

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