Hey Monica! So tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in Melbourne and lived in the Western suburbs for the majority of my life. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology at the end of 2016, and am working as a bartender and an assistant event co-ordinator right now. About a year and a half ago, realised that I was in need of some creative stimulation, as I had gotten pretty deeply into my academia. I moved in with my wonderful boyfriend Chris in Carnegie a year ago – a super charming suburb with a creatively driven partner – and met a bunch of new, interesting and creative people who have helped me find my dormant vigour in photography and art again!
That's amazing! You're into so many interesting things! How old are you?
I am 22 years old, and still have so much to learn!
What inspired you to shoot films?
My parents loved documenting my older sister’s and my childhood on video and film cameras, so I think my appreciation of analog mediums ultimately came from having such an emotional connection with the charm of the photos that film cameras produced. We would often spend time reminiscing and looking through old photographs and watching home videos.
In high school (2009 to 2011), I followed my sister’s lead in joining the photography club as an extracurricular, where I discovered how to use my parents’ Minolta XG-M camera. I only ever shot on Ilford pure black and white film so that I could develop the film and my photographs in the school darkroom myself – I was so lucky to have access to this facility! My sister Rebecca went on to study Fine Arts at University with a major in Photography which has been handy for keeping my hobby alive! I essentially have an expert at my disposal at all times, it’s fantastic.
What format do you shoot?
I shoot on anything I can get my hands on. Currently, I have two Polaroid cameras, a 600 and an SX-70 folding camera, a Fuji Instax Mini 8 instant film camera, a Lomography Diana F+ medium format camera (120mm), and the Minolta XG-M for 35mm fun. I also bought myself a Nikon D5500 DSLR, but honestly, I use it the least because I just love film so much.
Wow! That's quite a collection, any personal favourites?
I love all of my cameras for their individual differences and what they can achieve. For instance, the Fuji and the Polaroid 600 are great for happy snaps and decorating mine and Chris’ room with fun memories. The SX-70 comes out on special occasions and relaxed days, because the fine focus paired with the colours that the Impossible film produces are just phenomenal for artistic and moody shots. The Diana F+ is a new member of the family that I am experimenting with – it is actually a lightweight toy camera from the 60’s, and it is pretty imperfect and experimental. It feels like it was essentially designed to make double exposures really accessible, particularly because of the square format. I’m having a lot of fun with it, but limited success.
And that leaves the Minolta, which is pretty much another appendage to me. I feel naked without it, and barely see the point of leaving the house without it.
Why do you like this format?
I don’t necessarily enjoy any format over another, but I can say that I definitely most enjoy my Minolta camera. I get the most joy out of learning what the capabilities of my camera are, and what conditions suit it best. While there is simplicity in film photography – as I see very little need to digitally edit photos from film cameras – I think it is so important to really get to know and experiment heavily with your camera and its settings. I believe that the beauty and essence of film photography are pushing the technology of the camera toward its optimum, and also understanding how to get the photo that you want. I am super lucky to have such a beautiful camera to use.
Where do you see the future of analog photography?
Looking purely at the business trajectory, I think the perfect analogy for the future of analog photography is the story of Instant film. In the 70’s, there was a demand for a quicker turn-around from shooting to receiving your photos. Adding to this need was the lack of privacy – erotic photography could be seen by an unknown amount of eyes before reaching you. So Polaroid Corporation invented instant photography technology (legends!) and business boomed for many years.
And then it declined as people began to use digital cameras.
And then Polaroid Corp declared bankruptcy.
And just as the last instant-film-making machines were about to be destroyed in 2008, to be out of production forever, the Impossible Project company came along. They didn’t have the chemical recipes to make instant film of the same quality as Polaroid, but they were devoted to keeping it alive and experimenting until their product was right. And they had so much support from film photography lovers all over the world who bought their dodgy film for years to help them reach perfection! Myself included.
I think there will always be people who love and appreciate film photography, and with the enthusiasm of us lovers, come more experimenters. The encouraging and high-spirited culture around film photography cannot be denied, and I believe that analogue photography and sales has grown substantially since I started photographing 8 years ago, and I think that the trend will keep going up!
What is a dream project that you want to work on?
I love photographing people, particularly women, and my ideal photographic project would be one where I can help empower everyday women to embrace and love their bodies. Everybody on this planet is worthy of being photographed and worthy of loving themselves, and as a photographer, I would love to help people to understand this. The kind of photos that I imagine myself taking in the near future involve sheer clothing, lingerie, then nudity if my model is willing, and the kind of photos that I imagine myself taking in the long term could be boudoir or erotic in nature.
Where do we go to see more of your work?
I’ve basically been having lots of fun documenting my early 20s and endlessly having my friends as models. I have put together a Flickr, to show you some of my most recent photography to date from the Minolta, so check it out and watch this space!
I also keep my Instagram updated daily with my film photography; you can follow me at @monstagram__