(analogue) Photographer of the Month (November '23) Nicola Sandford
Name: Nicola Sandford
Instagram handle: @nic_sandflower
How did you get into film photography?
I had a Canon 500d DSLR that I used in my first few years of uni. That broke one day and I couldn’t afford to replace it so I started mucking around with my Dad’s old Olympus AZ-300 Superzoom. It’s a real chunky beast of a point-and-shoot camera but that was the beginning. I carted that thing around with me all the time. Anyway, my friend Ethan, a camera enthusiast, gave me his old Canon EOS 5, which was super fancy and made it look like I was really good at taking photos. But the thing that changed everything for me was when my friend Suz (who is very supportive of my photo-taking enthusiasm) gave me this old Nikon FM that had been floating around under her bed for many years. THAT SHIT CHANGED MY LIFE! I had to learn how everything worked (with the help from the bro Leo and heaps of YouTube) and I slowly but surely have become more and more confident around the technicalities of using a camera.
What draws you to shoot film?
It’s romantic as fuck.
You have some fun ideas when it comes to portraiture! How do you get inspired for a photoshoot?
Most of my portraiture work is of my friends. More often than not I am just trying to make this person that I love very much look as beautiful as I think they are. If the photos are for a ‘thing’ usually it’s just a conversation about vibes. I think from there I just start gathering, be it through mood boards, finding old lights, beg-borrow-steal cameras. The aim of the game is really to have fun.
Do you always have your camera on you or do you pick and choose when you’re behind the camera?
I pick and choose tbh. I have what I call my OTP camera which I usually will just chuck in my bag to take crack up shots of the girlies. But I am more selective about bringing my other camera’s along coz they are heavy. I will get the good camera out if I have a crush on you.
Lighting seems to play an important role in your photography, is it something that you consider before going out to take photos or do you just roll with it?
Lighting is the chemistry, it’s what makes things hot! I always consider lighting. Natural light is my favourite. Shooting late afternoon is what I love the most.
How would you describe your style of shooting / process?
I will photograph things that I am in awe of, be that friends, moments, nature ( I take soooo many photos of flowers). I am pretty extraverted and all over the show at times but when I am taking photos it’s this nice moment to slow things down and take care with the subject and appreciate its presence, and beauty, for good or for worse.
Quick fire ten questions
- 35mm or 120? 35mm for now but maybe one day I will get more fancy.
- Colour or B&W? FRICK both haha soz
- Zoom Lenses or Fixed? Fixed
- Portrait or Landscape (Orientation)? Dependz
- Flash or Natural Light? Natural
- SLR (or TLR) or Rangefinder or Point and Shoot? SLR
- Must be razor sharp or more about the aesthetic? I like a sharp image but am coming around to accepting and appreciating things that are imperfect
- Favourite Camera? My Nikon friend
- Favourite Photographer? At the moment I reckon it’s Tia Ranginui she is incredible, or Rob Tennant brings the vibes and/or James J.Robinson aka James PDF.
- Favourite Photo Book? Dunno it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and enjoyed a photo book (i might make that a new years resolution) all my photo books are surfing photography from when I was a coasty beach teen.