Molly Kate (@mollykatephoto) has a passion for film photography that is infectious. Her YouTube channel is bursting with tips, tricks and reviews and covers some of the recent film and cameras that have launched over the last few years. We sent Molly some 2021 LomoChrome Metropolis film in 35 mm and 120 to try out for her Youtube channel. We talked to Molly about how she discovered analogue photography and how she found the LomoChrome Metropolis films.
Hello Molly, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! Always a difficult question to know where to start, but here goes. I’m obsessed with photography, always have been but never as much as I am now. There are too many cameras under my bed, the mornings cannot begin without coffee, and my escapes are traveling or fantasy fiction/cinema. My studies and work thus far have been focused on finance and accounting, but anyone who knows me wouldn’t say I love it.
The UK is where I have lived for the past three years, but I was born and raised in New England, in the Northeast of the USA. While I love my homeland and miss my family, my feet have always been restless and I tend to look ahead to what I can do or where I can go next. And what I can afford of course. Food and music are also huge passions of mine. I dreamed of becoming a chef or a singer when I was a kid but I can’t sing that well and am afraid of chopping too fast! I do make a mean and lean vegan cabbage stew though (don’t knock it till you try it) and occasionally write lyrics for my partner who can actually sing.
How did you get into shooting film and what made you start a Youtube channel?
I’m not that young, so I was surrounded by film growing up for a good while. My mom was into photography and I picked it up from her, she was really good at it and taught me quite a few things. I never really stopped shooting film completely, although sometimes it would take me six months to a year to get rolls developed. The last few years it crept back in more and more and ended up taking over from digital. I wanted to shoot more film to get away from spending hours on the screen editing way too many photos.
After working 12-16 hours a day sitting in a chair staring at a screen, spending 2-4 hours sitting in a chair staring at a screen on the weekends to edit digital photos became too much. Sprinkle in the digital social media time and it was digital overload to the max.
Film is like fresh air when you’ve been working inside all day. It’s invigorating. It’s tangible. I needed more of a balance. Now of course, I sit in a chair staring at a screen to edit digital Youtube videos. That irony is not lost on me. The Youtube channel began about a year ago as a way to explore an alternative avenue of connecting with others as well as learning new skills and diving into a different medium of expression. I was inspired by a lot of creators that had great Youtube channels, Lucy Lumen, Karin Majoka, Madison Beach, etc. Surprisingly I enjoyed it a lot. Too much. Now, I’m a little addicted.
How would you describe your photography style?
I have a hard time with this one because I don’t see myself as having a style or not one that I could articulate. There are photographers who become recognizable for a style because they use similar methods, equipment, and subject matter. A combination unique to them perhaps. I do have tendencies towards particular gear and subjects, however, I’m all over the place so my work is quite varied. This is also likely due to the fact that I’m still experimenting with a lot of different things, so perhaps in a few years time I might settle into a particular style. I’ve never been good at settling around for too long though so maybe not!
How did you get on with shooting LomoChrome Metropolis?
These are some of my favorite all-time travel results! Metropolis is well-suited to what I love to shoot, street photography and urban environments. I love that desaturated look. Thanks again for sending it for me to take on my travels. It was interesting to see the differences between the 35 mm and 120. With the 35 mm, I sent that to a lab in Prague to develop and the 120 went over to Analogue Wonderland in the UK. The color cast seems to differ here, with the 35 mm roll being much warmer in the scans which was interesting. I really loved this look. The 120 roll held more detail being medium format, but more of the colors that I would expect to see with Metropolis. I shot both at 400 to give myself a little extra room with shutter speeds and apertures. Especially since I wanted to see what the film looked like both indoors and outside. It was brilliant!
One of my favorite images from the 35 mm roll is the one inside of the Central Market in Budapest. The size of the place was astounding and I had to take a few moments to just soak it in before taking a photo. I really love the way Metropolis captures the light in this image. It’s very cinematic to me.
My favorite on the 120 is a portrait of my partner in full sun. This is one of my favorite shots of him of all time. I love the colors and tones here and the film does so well in this lighting situation. The whites are very clean while the colors in the background are muted. It’s fantastic.
If you were to invent a film or film camera what would it do?
If it were possible, I would invent a film that was 100% plant-based and toxic-free to process and print. That’s the long-shot environmentalist dream in me. But then, would that still be considered film? If you can’t imagine something though, it might never exist. We bring into existence what we imagine so you never know.
For a camera, the first thought that comes to my mind is one that has as near a silent shutter as mechanically possible. One of the biggest differences in shooting street photography with film is that most digital cameras these days have silent shutters. So it makes it easier to shoot more subtly on the street, staying unknown to your subjects and without bothering them or disrupting their flow. With film, I find myself shooting much differently than with digital because of the not-so-subtle shutter sounds. So, if I were to invent a camera, it would absolutely have this feature.