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The Adventure of Shooting Film

It’s about finding the perfect shot, taking a bit more time, and rolling the dice with some expired film.

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In the “shoot-more” digital photography age, shooting on film can seem archaic and time consuming. But it’s this extra time that Matthew Lawless, the photographer at the center of Matt Mangham’s latest release in his Analog Series, fell in love with. “I think everyone should shoot on film because it’ll force you to learn more about what you like to shoot and what you look for,” says Lawless. “It really does force you to slow down and think about the shot, and making sure you get quality versus quantity.” In this mini-profile, Lawless, a San Diego-based photographer, expresses excitement about shooting with expired film — the photographer doesn’t know what the exact results of his work will be until it’s developed.

Lawless loves to shoot on old cameras — a Nikon F100, a Nikon FE — but his workhorse is a Mimiya RB67, which is built like a tank and captures the minutest details. He makes the argument that shooting on film is about exploration and adventure, finding the perfect lighting and the ideal spots to capture moments. But Lawless always returns to one place when it comes to the key to shooting analog: mindfulness. “Sometimes it’s important to slow down and take in moments or enjoy the process and enjoy the ride, enjoy the adventure,” he says, in a moment that seems about much more than photography.

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