By Michaela Mark, Boston College 2021

I loved the spontaneity of abroad. With most trips planned at the drop of a hat, you never knew where you would end up exploring each weekend. I especially loved getting my film developed after coming home because it was a great way to look back on some snapshots that I might have otherwise forgotten about. Not having seen them for a few months brought some smiles during these uncertain times. Part of the reason I chose to shoot film while abroad was because I often had to fit everything for the weekend in a backpack — thank you budget airlines for teaching me how to pack light. It was much easier to fit my small Canon A-1 as opposed to a 10 pound digital camera and lenses. Doing things on the fly is perfect with a film camera, you don’t have to carry around a bag full of equipment. So I guess it could really be broken into the physical aspect as well as the experiential and aesthetic. 

I shoot film photography because I believe there’s a sense of intentionality to it. As opposed to the virtually unlimited GB on a memory card, you only have a limited number of exposures. Film photography shows me the process of “making” a photograph rather than just clicking a button. I also love the process of developing my own black and white rolls and seeing the images come to life in the darkroom, right before my eyes. Similarly, getting color film back from the lab is like getting a present, especially after the anticipation builds up for a few weeks. Getting my film back from abroad — as many different emotions as it did bring up — definitely felt like a gift.

To view more of Michaela Mark’s photography visit her Instagram

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