Wouda interviews Jessica Levin about film photography

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

“Roll around a bit, then make coffee.”

When and how did you first get introduced into the beautifully diverse world of photography?

“I had a couple dinky cameras as a kid. That definitely piqued me and got me started shooting at a young age…”

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

“A ballet dancer lol”

Your work has a definitive raw, real look with a hint of old-school film. Please elaborate and tell us how you describe your work and why you have adapted to this look.

“Oh, I dig that! Thank you. I’d describe my work as natural – documenting female character and empowerment. My work has shifted quite a bit in the last couple years, mainly due to transitioning into shooting film exclusively. That has added to my path in style and approach, but it’s very much still evolving.”

What is your opinion about film making a comeback?

“Did it ever leave?”

Please take our readers through your method of organising a shoot from beginning to end.

“Well this can vary. Sometimes spontaneity is the catalyst; I’ll throw an idea together in a few minutes and shoot a handful of photos. Other times my shoots are a bit more planned: I’ll email my subject some thoughts on the colour palettes I have in mind, tones or locations.”

“Wardrobe, if any, is typically a collaborative effort with both parties bringing along items to use. We’ll exchange a few messages beforehand on ideas, comfort levels, etc. and then decide on a date and time. Communication and reliability are key elements to planning, but improvisation is what will make a shoot FUN. You always got to leave room for that.”

Please take us through your photography gear:

“Very minimal! I use a Nikon N80 and Fujifilm Instax 300 camera. When it comes to lighting equipment, natural light is always preferred; practical light will do. Sometimes I use a soft box, but that’s pretty rare.”

What is it about analogue you think people find so appealing?

“There’s something very special about analogue photography – that’s no secret. The tones, the grain, the variability… there’s so much to experiment with. Shooting film is more exciting for me, and I think people react differently knowing the photographer isn’t going to fire off hundreds of shots. A different kind of care goes into analogue approach, I think.”

Besides photography, what else really excites you in life?

“Travel. Sex. Film.”

If you could give aspiring photographers one piece of valuable advice, what would it be?

“Inspiration and motivation come in waves, so don’t stop shooting!”

Go to Jessica’s website and become inspired by her captivating photographs.

About the Author:

Wouda Mc Micken is a self-confessed klutz and can be easily bribed with a stylish pair of jeans or good food. The privilege of doing interviews with professional photographers from all over the world is what makes her get up in the mornings, excited for a new day’s work.

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