My Journey into film, from amateur to now! | Adam J White

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so I know what film is. I held negatives and prints in my hands and even held the negatives up to the light as a kid to see what they were. I grew up looking at the hotrod and fashion magazines that were all shot on film. Of course back then I had no idea of what cameras or film were being used. I knew I just liked it. I used plenty of film cameras throughout the 80’s and into the early 2000’s; mind you they were all point and shoot.

Then digital came around and was affordable for the everyday consumer; I used the same type of camera, point and shoot. From here it remains pretty basic until 2008/2009. I was working as a second shooter doing weddings and the photographer had an old Mamiya 645J with the hand grip and 80mm lens. That’s about all I knew, but I did know that I wanted to shoot with it. He let me borrow it and I scheduled a shoot with some models.

I didn’t know anything about what the sync speed was (amateur!), but I loaded the film and went to work. When I got the roll back, I had over shot the sync, so I only had half photos , but the exposures were dead on. I wish I could find the disk now.

That was the extent of me shooting film, but I loved it.  I still wanted a film camera and about a year later my wife bought me a Canon ESO630.   I used it all the time. It was never not with me….people at the day job got tired of seeing me.

Around 2010 I was moved to Virginia  for work, and from there the film passion died due to work constrains. Fast forward to 2014 and Google Plus! In comes a certain member of the collective here, Kelly-Shane Fuller. We stared talking about film and I learned quite a bit over our conversations (and I still am).

Then in the end of 2015 I bought my first “new” old camera, a Mamiya RZ67 with the 180mm 4.5 lens.  It was love at first use.  I continued to use the RZ any time I could for personal work, or I would just schedule shoots for fun or head out and shoot some nature.

As I progressed on my journey, I continued to try other cameras and film stocks.  I have tried several in the last 2 years and found quite a few I have liked and some not so much. I have, I think, finally settled down on getting new cameras. I do have maybe two more that I want to get and use, but all in due time.

My next adventure was starting to develop at home. First I started with B&W film. Lets just say the first roll was interesting. I developed Fuji Superia in B&W soup….with a very interesting final result. Then I moved on to C-41.  I’m still having fun with this and learning more every day when it comes to time and temps, as well as in dealing with people in the house and hot water. But for me this has saved me at least what I spent in lab fees the first year I stared. YEAH!!

The home developing has been a fun thing for me, but not with out its struggles. Sometimes I get more than a little ahead of my self and too sure. That’s when it falls apart. Time is a teacher and patience isn’t one I learn very easily, but I’m getting there.

I have since taken a workshop on home developing and lets just say the results were instantaneous.  I saw that day and when I returned from the workshop what a difference it had made.

This is the 1st image I did by myself after the workshop. I have my lab results without sending the film off to the lab.  But I have uttered the mantra to never get ahead of my self, because that’s when it will all fall apart.

So as I continue this journey with all of you well-informed folks, I look forward to many conversations, questions and critiques on various film related subjects.

Thanks for accepting me into the fold.


Film photographer Adam J. White is based in New Mexico.  See more of his work on his Instagram and Flickr (some NSFW).