Engineer by day but always film photographer. Selin Yanikara

Engineer by day but always film photographer. Selin Yanikara
"My second camera was a Pentax K1000; the “student” camera. Since then I can’t stop!"

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 26 and live in United States for 3 years now, (I’m originally from Turkey). I’m an engineer by day, currently getting my PhD in Boston.
When I have time outside work and my research (even when I have tons to do), I walk around the city for hours and shoot film.

When and how did the film journey begin for you?

I was always into photography, but I started shooting film in 2013. I always had a thing for things from the past and the nostalgia that you get from “beautifully” designed mechanical, analog devices.

One day I suddenly had this instinct that I should combine my passion for vintage and photography, and purchased a full-automatic, rather recent camera; Canon T50. I didn’t learn much about exposure settings using this camera, but it was enough for me to appreciate the depth of film photography and explore more.

I started reading film photography blogs, instructions, reviews, and was amazed by how big the film community is. I started sharing my work on social media with my friend’s suggestion, and connecting with people who have the same passion as me, and seeing the work of people who have an endless amount of creativity motivated me even more.
I would say sharing my pictures is the biggest step in my film journey.

My second camera was a Pentax K1000; the “student” camera. Since then I can’t stop! I spend hours looking for cameras at online stores, flea markets and thrift shops, and I always carry a camera with me.

The whole process of finishing a roll, unloading it, waiting for the lab to process it and seeing the results; it became an important part of my daily life.

I shoot everything that is interesting to me, it can be a rotten potato on a sidewalk, an old man smoking outside or a person looking at a painting in a museum. I also love using the vintage items I collect in my compositions, there is going to be much more of those in my upcoming pictures.

What type of film do you usually shoot and what made you choose it?

I like low saturation in my pictures and I’m currently using Kodak portra 400, sometimes I shoot with Ektar 100 (the finest grain!).
Since I always shoot in natural day light, I prefer low ISO’s. I’ve experimented with various types of film; Kodak Gold, Fujifilm, Lomography, but always go back to Portra.

I also love using expired vintage film from time to time, and adding the extra suspense to how the pictures will come out.

What camera makes you click?

Currently I only shoot 35mm, and recently acquired a lot, thanks to the flea markets in Boston, but I mostly shoot with SLRs.
One of the main reasons is that I focus faster and better with those rather than rangefinders, which is helpful when shooting street photography (candid shots of strangers etc.)

I started / learned using manual settings on a Pentax K1000 (“the” pentax), which had a broken light meter. So I’ve shot many test rolls, keeping track of which shutter speed and aperture I’ve used; that thought me a lot about exposure!

Generally, I’m experimenting with different brands, and cameras from different eras. I don’t think I’ve found “the” camera for me yet, but still looking.
Currently, I prefer shooting with Canon Ftb; it’s a not a high end SLR, but I love the relatively quiet shutter and the intensity of the pictures.

My goal is to start shooting with medium format, and right now looking for one, so I’m going to give a break purchasing 35 mms.

Between black and white and colour film which would you choose?

I rarely shoot black and white. I really like the extra dimension that color adds to a picture.
I’m always tempted to shoot black and white though, being impressed by the work of my favorite photographer; Vivian Maier.

What lenses do you use?

Mostly 50mms. I have some FD zoom lenses, but since my compositions usually are close subjects, I don’t quite use them.

The next purchase on my list is a wide angle lens, I can’t wait to experiment with one for my street photography. I feel restricted in framing when shooting with regular 50mms.

Do you make any experiments on film?

Ah, always. I sometimes shoot the same scene or the compositions I prepare at home more than once, under various exposure settings and keep track of them (it’s not science unless you write things down!).

For instance, I shot some candid stride-by pictures with a low shutter speed, and I loved the results. By the means of a technical feature (in this case, shutter speed), I’m trying to convey how fast strangers pass by our lives, and the instance of their existence we get to experience is not very clear, it’s blurred.

I don’t believe I found a unique, self-defining style (both in terms of composition and editing scheme) yet, which is my ultimate goal.

Shooting film is definitely an ongoing learning process, which makes it even more unique, interesting, and addictive.

Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara
Selin Yanikara

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