From self-satiring designs on Microsoft Paint to illustrated mixtapes, Ella Braidwood shares a selection of playful and personal artwork. Ella's open-minded and humble approach to her own practice is evident throughout this collection and commentary that we're delighted to present here on Front Left.
How did you first become interested in photography, particularly film?
It was my first day of studying photography at uni, I was 17 and desperate look cool and fit in. A course mate asked if I ever shot 35mm film. I told him I did, but the truth was I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. It was completely alien to me. Next thing I know, he’s signed the both of us up to be inducted to the darkroom facilities at Napier. I’m bluffing the entire time but begin getting a feel for it. The same Christmas my dad gets me an Olympus OM2, I’ve been shooting pretty much exclusively on film since then.
It’s incredibly generic to say I love the ‘feel’ of film, the nostalgia of it. We’ve seen it a million times. But I’d be lying if I told you that wasn’t true. Shooting on digital, I’d take 100 photos of the same thing and spend hours agonising over the smallest detail. Film sort of taught me to get over myself and embrace the moment for what it was.
What do you feel is really changing in your local photography community right now?
I’ve definitely noticed a massive increase in the number of people shooting film in the last few years. I think on a local level, the benefit of Edinburgh being so small is that a lot of the community is pretty interconnected, both with each other as individuals but also with the groups and institutions like Stills, Canister Camera Club, A&M, and more recently Filtr Collective. These places and initiatives foster a really special culture that I think can only benefit the future of analog photography (maybe except the rising film prices).
I’ve made a number of long-lasting friendships that started on the foundation that we both shot film and swam in similar circles in Edinburgh, it’s great. It’s pretty cheesy but I know life would certainly be lot different if I never took up film photography.
Could you tell us about the role you feel spaces and institutions such as Stills play in encouraging film photography in Scotland right now?
I think institutions like Stills are vital to the revival and sustainability of film photography in Scotland. A lot of people think of Stills as just a gallery, but there’s a huge number of courses and great facilities. Just last week there were people developing Super 8mm Film in coffee grounds and dish-soap. Providing these spaces for experimentation keeps the medium alive and exciting.
More generally, I think having spaces for learning that are open to people from all backgrounds provides such an incredibly rich experience for everyone involved. Here’s an example; on the Sound Editing and Recording course at Stills there’s a person who’s researching a phD in the acoustics of bumblebees… and on the same course there’s a 17-year old who’s looking for some more experience in audio editing to add to their UCAS application for uni. I love that.
Find out more about Tom's work via his Instagram
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