Life hit me straight in the face in 2014 when I realized my mom didn’t have much longer to live. I found myself making decisions I didn’t think I would have to make for another 20–30 years. My mom didn’t have much time, and I wanted to spend every second that I could with her. I was desperate for time.
My story isn’t the typical “my-grandfather-gave-me-his-old-film-camera.” I was desperate for extra time and I was willing to do anything just to be with my mom for one more day . . . one more hour. I needed to find a job (career) that could give me this extra time I so desperately desired . . .
Super sick from chemo, my mom could no longer work. Because of this, she couldn’t afford my sister’s senior photos. That was when the light bulb came on—*I* could take my sister’s senior photos. And after that, I could take all of her friends’ senior photos as well. This opportunity was exactly what I was looking for.
After booking half of my sister’s graduating glass, business hit me—and hit me hard. I didn’t have all that extra time I was looking for, I had less . . . but my mom and I made it work. We would talk on the phone all day, every day while I edited. Sometimes we said nothing at all, but just listened to each other on the phone in silence. I took another look at my business model and tried to outsource my editing to create more time, but I still wasn’t happy with the results. This is when I learned about the world of film . . .
Other than disposable cameras, I was brand new to film. Growing up poor, we only had disposable cameras, I didn’t even know about medium format film, but I instantly fell in love with the way it looked. It really did give me the feeling that everyone talks about—where you completely fall in love with the look of film—even though I didn’t know it then.
I didn’t transition to film until a year after my mom passed away. Losing her helped me find myself through my art. It helped me recognize emotion and translate it through my images, to watch for special moments I would have missed in the past. Film was the cherry on top.
Because of film, I became so much more passionate about photography, about people, about their stories. These images I capture for my clients will be cherished and shared for the rest of their lives. Every shot matters.
Shooting film, I found my purpose as a wedding photographer. To capture emotion in a way that my clients didn’t know was possible for them. To give them “that feeling.”
Film helped me express emotion through my images and gave me “that feeling” I was talking about when I saw it for the first time. Film was the period at the end of the sentence for my work. It completed my work. Film gave me the time I was looking for, but it was too late.
It was too late for that time in my life, but film gave me the freedom I needed *today*—to live my life as I please, with enough time to do the things I want. To travel the world and be with my mom in a way I couldn’t have when she was here. To talk to her every single day and hang out with her without being stuck behind a computer. To work *on* my business instead of *in* my business, and to live out what my mom last knew me as—a Photographer.
📷 by Brandy Jackson on Fuji400H + Delta3200 with a Contax645.