Classic Cars Look Better On Film

By 3 Min Read

I’m Victoria Scott, staff writer here at Motor1. I thought I’d share a little bit of what I do for fun when I’m not writing stories here. I moved to Seattle in the fall of last year, and since then, I’ve made a habit of taking a loaded film camera with me everywhere I go. Some days, I shoot half a roll; some days, I don’t fire the shutter once.

Chrysler K Car convertible.

No matter how much I shoot on any given day, one thing has ended up a consistent theme in my recent work: Old cars. Seattle is full of interesting scenes with weird old cars in them. The lack of road salt, temperate climate, and general ambivalence towards status-symbol automobiles in the Pacific Northwest means I’ve seen more old cars—not rare ones, not valuable ones, just old and weirdly uncommon—than any other place I’ve lived.

VW bus

Volkswagen Bus

I’ve been an avid photographer for 17 years, but I’ve not shot film consistently since before I had a driver’s license. When cheap rolls of Kodak Ultramax disappeared from Wal-Mart aisles and one-hour photo drop offs went extinct, I went digital, as did the rest of the world.

Film photograph of Corvette

C4 Corvette and 90s Accord

As my career has progressed, I’ve begun to shoot a lot of digital photography for work. (Pretty much every review you’ve ever read under my byline was shot by yours truly.) I have a backlog of editing that stretches back months, if not years. Film, in contrast, is relaxing—I have to be careful in the field, and “editing” is a simple matter of basic curves adjustments from scans. It takes weeks to shoot a roll, but minutes to go through the images.

This is the complete inverse of my digital workflow, which is a faster barrage of shots with more time behind the computer afterwards. Getting film photos back from the lab (I use Moody’s, based here in Seattle, for my development work) is a treat, rather than chore. 

Film Photograph

GMC Sonoma

Film, which we naturally interpret as an old medium, has a way of making scenes taken last month look like vignettes from decades ago (with the right car, anyway). Given that I love to shoot scenes focused on anything old and moderately unusual, it feels like this hobby project has become rather cohesive (while still remaining fun for me)!

Film photograph
Film photograph
Film photograph

Hopefully, your weekend is made a little better with this look at how I make my weekends better!

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