We know thousands of people who venture into photography as a hobby. But we only know a few who start with it and eventually make it as a living.
And as we browse the world wide web, we see thousands of photographers’ portfolios yet only a few catches our eyes. We see digital portfolios here and there then there are also portfolios who focus not only in digital format but in analogue as well.
Then we meet Caroline Philippone from Missouri who tackles both photography format and at the same time also toys with our analogue moviemaker, the LomoKino. Truly an interesting photographer who caught our attention! Without further introductions, meet Caroline and dive yourself in her lovely work.
Name: Caroline R. Philippone
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living? What are your interests?
My name is Caroline, and I’m a photographer residing in South City, St. Louis. I happily get to work as a photo technician in a traditional darkroom here in St. Louis. Currently I am working towards my Master’s in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography plus a Master’s in Educational Technology. When I am not photographing or working on another art project, I enjoy biking, reading novels, and watching spy TV shows from the sixties.
How did you start and how long have you been doing film photography?
As a kid growing up I had a little 110 film camera that was a simple push button instamatic. I remember needing a quarter to wind the film in it and the photos were fabulously unpredictable. I remember taking photos with it, and a handful of other cameras, but it wasn’t until I got into college that I started realizing that my heart belonged in photography. I switched from being a Drawing and Painting major, and fell full force in Photography. As I entered my Photography classes, using film was mandatory, and I still think there is no greater joy than being able to develop your own film, and creating the perfect print. With that said I would say I only have been seriously photographing with traditional film for a little over six or seven years.
What are the film cameras you use? Can you share some pictures?
I have way too many cameras. When I go on trips the first thing I think about are which cameras I should pack.
Currently in my collection: Holga 120, a Diana, a LomoKino Movie Camera, a Seagull TLR, a Bronica Zenza, a Kodak Brownie camera, a Kodak Tourist Camera, a no name 127 film camera, a few pre-World War II Russian film cameras that my sister picked up in her travels, and a Nikon film camera. Also in storage is a 4×5 camera on rails (but honestly it’s so bulky and heavy I don’t use it very often.)
In your experience, what are the perks of being a film photographer? Do you think you’d still do it for maybe 10 years or more?
One of the best things about film photography comes from really thinking about your composition. With film, it doesn’t seem as disposable as digital for me. Lots of people are constantly checking their digital cameras when shooting and deleting photos instantly, but with film you have to conserve your shots and think about what you are doing. You load a cartridge of 35mm or a tightly wrapped roll of 120 into the camera, and go find your subjects. Even after all these years, I still get so excited by processing my own film, and seeing all the beautiful grain that appears on the negatives.
Who are your favorite film photographers? Any inspirations?
I would say that I always love the work of James Natchwey, Diane Arbus, Robert Capa, and the later work of Richard Avedon. In James Natchwey and Robert Capa’s work, I love the grittiness and harsh realities that they show. In Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon’s work, they embrace finding everyday people, and [with that have] created fantastic portraits within the desolate landscape and urban settings.
What’s your personal style when it comes to photography?
I think I am still working on finding my style in photography. Through my undergraduate career I went into the realm of wanting to do photojournalism, but now as I continue my photography in graduate school, I am slowly being drawn back into fine art work and trying to develop a balance between the two.
We see that you’ve been filming with the LomoKino, too! Tell us how you’ve come about it.
I first received the LomoKino as a wonderful holiday/birthday present. In the midst of a creative slump, I didn’t take my Kino out of the box for several months. One day though, I put some old film in it, and I just knew that I had to keep creating with it.
Any funny or memorable experiences you’ve had with the LomoKino? What do you think about it?
I think one of the more hilarious things about the Kino is that it’s not subtle when you start using it. It has a distinct clicking sound, and when in small spaces many people seem to turn and stare as a result. If nothing else, it provides a fantastic conversation piece when meeting new people.
Any message for other film photographers? Or maybe a tip you would like to share?
I encourage everyone to keep using film and always have a camera close by. Also, some of the best work comes from experimenting. When I first began using film I bought a ton of different varieties, and was able to find my favorites as a result. My favorite films are Kodak Portra 160VC, Kodak Tri-X, and most recently Adox 100 and Fuji Neopan 400. So my advice is don’t be afraid to try new films if yours is out of stock somewhere!
Caroline also does film tutorials on her Vimeo page. See two here!
See more of Caroline’s work in her online pages here: