A brief introduction.
Hi, my name is Maddie / Madeleine. I have been an amateur photographer since high school. I don't really pretend to be an artist or have any intention of making my living this way. I just love to shoot the people and places that are most important to me. For me, giving someone an image of themselves that is genuine and which they love—for me that's like a love letter.
Film, in particular, is special. I remember the tail end of the days of film. Back when disposable cameras and one-hour photo were everywhere. Most of my early childhood is preserved in film. In fact, it was my mother's Canon EOS Rebel G that I first started to shoot with when I began my own photography journey in 2009. I was lucky. Growing up in Rochester, NY, film held on a bit longer. I am not sure how many high schools still had a film program by 2009, but mine did.
I loved everything about shooting black and white film. We only shot Arista Edu 400. To this day, that film is still one of my favorites. Something about the toning makes me feel nostalgic. Can't beat the price either! I roamed my backyard and convinced my friends to pose for me. A zoom kit lens and hand processing in art class— love those images. This year during quarantine I have been scanning the old film from those days. After a decade in the attic, it still holds its allure.
Photography is in my blood. My grandfather was a top executive at Polaroid. He worked with Avedon, Verushka, and lots of other photo and fashion luminaries of the '60s and '70s. I think I get my love of photography from him, passed down through my mom. Growing up in Rochester, photo history was everywhere. I've been to the Eastman House more times than I can count. I even worked there in the photo archives one summer during college. I loved the archives—being asked to sort the Louis Hine collection or find a missing Diane Arbus.
Walking into the Eastman museum archives was magic. The equipment vault is the stuff of legends. At that point, I hardly knew any camera but the small Canon film kit I owned. For years, I was distracted by college and grad school. In 2019, I dug that Canon out from a closet. I bought some film and started shooting. I was too busy to do much until quarantine, when I began to fully invest in the joy that film photography brings me.
I have begun collecting vintage cameras and learning everything I can. As a historian by profession, I love using the vintage box Brownies and testing the point and shoots I find on my thrifting trips. Film, for me, is about experimentation. I am not after the IG algorithm. I started this website and my IG @maddie_shoots_film so that I do not spam my family and friends with constant film content on my personal account. Any of them who want to see it can choose to follow. Same goes for y'all, if anyone ever reads this.
In future, I hope to use this blog to share some of what I have discovered. I have learned so much from vintage camera sites, YouTube, and blogs. I just hope to pass on my own experiences as I continue to experiment with Caffenol, test vintage cameras, and enjoy reveling in film. If you want to follow my other writings, just give me a Google and I am sure you will find them ;)
Until next time,