Jacquelyn Hayward is a film photographer hailing from near the mountains in Utah. Today, she shares a few tips about traveling with film and a bit about herself, with us.
Are you a purely film shooter?
I am an all film shooter. I began experimenting with photography on digital, but I didn’t actually know anything and was never satisfied with my work. Before I knew that film was out there, I’d look at photographers whose work I admired and wonder how they achieved such great color, how their focus was tack sharp and yet creamy like butter, and what they were doing to create the overall dreamy vibe that makes a film image. Once I figured out that those photographers were film shooters I knew I had to shelf the digi and buy a medium format film camera. I stopped shooting digital cold turkey, which ended up being really helpful because I was forced to learn my stuff on film without having something to fall back on. When I shoot film I become more intentional and thoughtful. Every time I raise the camera to my eye I think, “What am I trying to say here? What’s the story?” because I’ve only got 16 frames per roll, and every one of those should count for something.
What gear/stock/etc. do you shoot with most regularly?
I shoot on the Contax 645 with the 80mm 2.0 Ziess lens, and the Pentax 645 with the 75mm AF 2.8 lens. The film I choose to shoot with will depend on what I’m shooting, but these are the stocks I use consistently: Portra 400, Portra 800, Fuji 400h, and Ilford Delta 3200. For most of my work, be it personal or paid, I prefer Fuji 400h through the Contax 645.
Why do you travel and what is one thing you have learned about yourself via traveling?
I travel because I’m in love with culture. You step on a plane and step off and are practically in another world. The food is different, you don’t understand the language, you don’t know how to get around and you need to figure out where the cool place is to be and find great food that the locals love. Every part of traveling has it’s own element of adventure. Something I have learned about myself while traveling is that when it comes down to it I really don’t care much about beautiful clothing or how stellar my apartment looks. I want to see the world and have incredible experiences abroad with my husband. Traveling is important to me because it gives me the perspective that I’m much happier with less. Traveling helps me become more flexible and adaptable, and it gives me the opportunity to let loose and not take things so seriously.
Tips for Traveling with Film:
a) Pick a film stock and stick to it. Doing this will simplify your already busy travel life. There’s no room for confusion! This makes finishing rolls that have been left in your camera easy, metering a piece of cake, and will make you a master of whatever stock you choose. Last winter I travelled around Europe shooting only Kodak Portra 400. I chose Portra 400 for it’s versatility and forgiving nature. Another plus of going with one stock is that my scans blend nicely with each other– from Munich to Cinque Terre, there’s no clash of colors made with different film stocks.
b) Travel light. If you want to bring multiple camera formats on your trip, choose just one for the day. Carrying around several cameras gets heavy really fast and makes you cranky, and you definitely won’t shoot the 70 rolls you brought all in one day. Bring a smaller camera bag that can hold your camera for the day, 5 rolls of film, and your light meter. Keep things simple.
c) Don’t forget to take meaningful photos. Remember, you’re shooting for yourself! If you are hyper-cautious of the photos you take you will end up with pictures only of obviously beautiful things. If I am trying represent the personality of the city Rome, wouldn’t I also want to photograph Roman cuisine, the apartment I’m staying in, the people who live there, and the person I’m traveling with? Tell a story. Think about your experience then capture it artfully and with personality.