1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
My name is Julia Castagner and I live in Ontario, Canada. I am currently in school to become a Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer, so if I’m not out shooting film in my free time I’m likely buried in my studies!
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
My friend first introduced me to film photography two years ago when she brought one of her film cameras to a gathering. Shortly after that I started shooting with disposables and simply loved the look of the photos I was getting and the whole process of film in general. I loved that anticipation and that feeling of looking forward to getting my photos back after dropping them off at the lab. I tried getting into digital photography many years ago but simply did not find it as intriguing or appealing as I do with film. I found the film process more engaging, from taking the photos to developing the film, then scanning the film and getting that final product. It’s all an experience that I really enjoy. I think that the pandemic and quarantine truly influenced my progression of where I am today in terms of my photography, as I spent a lot of time shooting outdoors, experimenting with film, and exploring my surroundings as a way to get out of the house.
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
My favourite and most reliable camera that I tend to use the majority of the time is my Canon A-1 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I always love the results I get with this camera when it comes to exposure, quality and functionality. It has so many amazing features that make shooting with it such an enjoyable experience. For medium format, I use my Yashica D which previously belonged to my grandfather, or my Mamiya m645 1000s.
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
To be honest there isn’t one thing in particular that I enjoy shooting the most. I usually just take my camera with me wherever I go and if I see something I like or find interesting I’ll take it! Sometimes I’ll come up with ideas for an interesting shot in my head if I’m feeling super creative, but most of the time I’m just taking pictures of things in my surroundings that I think will make a cool or interesting photograph. In the near future I’d like to experiment more with portraits, however with COVID-19 interaction has been limited.
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
Watching videos on youtube or doing my own research on the internet has been useful, but personally I’ve found that the majority of what I’ve learned about film has been through my peers! I typically learn best by asking questions and some of the people I know who shoot film or individuals who I’ve connected with on instagram have tons of experience and are extremely knowledgeable. Everyone that I’ve asked for assistance has been super helpful and receptive to my questions which I am extremely grateful for, and I am more then happy to do the same for others when it comes to anything film related!
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
Ofcourse! In my opinion it’s only natural, especially when you put your efforts into creating something that did not turn out as well as you expected. To overcome this, I always remind myself that film photography is a learning process and to not get discouraged if your photos don’t always turn out.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
The most rewarding part of shooting film for me is the memories that I am creating with my photographs. As I am not able to see my photos right away after I’ve taken them, the anticipation of getting those photos back increases with time and I look forward to seeing those photos even more. I like to look back at the film shots I have taken and recall the memories behind each photograph and why that photo was so important that I just had to take it at that moment.
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
My favorite photo I’ve ever taken has to be of this man watching over a construction site. My boyfriend and I were walking downtown and we saw this man standing on a few bricks just to look over the fence at some construction workers on a site. He looked so content watching the workers lay a foundation and seemed curious as to what they were doing. That aspect of curiosity is what I wanted to capture in this photograph, which was taken on kentmere 400 with my old minolta x-700.
9.What gives you inspiration?
I think that my surroundings are what give me the most inspiration. If I am ever feeling uninspired, I find that getting out of the house and exploring my surroundings is a great way to get me active and motivated to take some photos. I also find that the people I surround myself with or things that I may stumble upon through the internet or social media can also give me inspiration.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
I don’t think there is something specific that I want to say with my photographs, but rather create photos to keep for memories or for the viewer to interpret however they want. Sometimes there can be intent behind the photo I’m sharing to make the viewer feel a certain type of way, however most of the time they are simply just scenes or photographs that I enjoy or find interesting and want to share for others to enjoy as well.
You can follow Julia on Instagram @filmmbyjulia