Thomas Wild: With a film camera, you won't miss anything else!
"I always try to figure out which camera and lenses are the best choice. Sometimes this takes longer than choosing my clothes."
Tell us about yourself.
I'm a 36 years old graphic designer, musician and photographer from München, Germany.
When and how did the film journey begin for you?
My passion for film started in highschool, where I had a photo course and the possibility to develop black and white film. We had a great teacher, we could do whatever we wanted and learned the basics of photography. My father gave me his 1972 Rolleiflex SL35 with that beautiful Planar 50mm. I enjoyed shooting a real camera, focusing on the important things and thinking about aperture and exposure.
That was back in 1998. Since then, I used my Rolleiflex until I got my first digital SLR. There were two years when I didn't shoot any film. Because my gear doesn't get treated as it should, that digital camera broke down and I had to get back to film.
That was the second time I discovered the magic of film. I realized the better look of a "full frame" with a 50mm and as the lenses were amazingly cheap, I also bought a 28mm, a 35mm and a 135mm. It was so much more of a machine than my crashed Canon 350D. A heavy, full metal body and lenses with smooth focus and the aperture clicking at every stop. I enjoyed the decelaration while shooting with it and of course the colours of a Kodak. But most of all, I loved taking out a camera at parties and concerts which didn't cost me hundreds of euros, that doesn't get ruined when falling, and doesn't run out of battery all the time.
What Could we always find in your gear bag?
Depends on the situation. I always try to figure out which camera and lenses are the best choice. Sometimes this takes longer than choosing my clothes.
For reportage, landscapes and weddings its a 35mm camera with 35mm and 85mm lenses and an extra roll of Kodak Portra. Most of the time that's really all you need. Maybe an additional 17mm, or if only one lens has to do the job, a nice 50mm.
I went on a summer holiday for two weeks and all I took with me was my Pentax MX, a 17mm a 35mm and a 85mm. I didn't miss anything.
What camera makes you click?
Mostly my Pentax MX. Lovely little machine, cheap, small and tough.
The best click goes to my Zenza ETR (it's more a clack than a click). And it has the best viewfinder. I showed it once to a teenager and he couldn't believe the resolution of that "screen"...
There are a lot of other cameras in my collection and I try to shoot with all of them. A real gem for example is a trashy Great Wall 6x6 camera. Nice to use and the results are always some sort of a surprise.
Who are your models? How do you interact with them before shooting?
Most of the people I shoot are friends of mine or party guests – so interacting means drinking together and having a good time. When doing model shootings I'm doing the assistant job as well as taking the photos.
What inspires you most?
Getting better. It's always the process which makes me shoot again and again. I love hearing the click and knowing – yes, that was a good shot!
Do you have any advice for film photographers out there?
Keep up the good work and keep the film alive.
You can find Thomas Wild here: