“I like having a set number of photos I can take; it really makes me focus on what I want to shoot and how to make each exposure count.”
JM – Tell me a bit about yourself.
DW – My name is Danielle Wrobleski. I’m a film photographer located in Milwaukee, WI and I have way, way too many cameras.
JM – Why do you shoot film?
DW – I tripped into film photography just over three years ago. Before that I really didn’t know anything about photography at all, so I really learned photography by shooting film. It’s what I feel most comfortable with, and beyond that film just fits my style a lot better than digital. I like having a set number of photos I can take; it really makes me focus on what I want to shoot and how to make each exposure count. I also just love the look of it. I love getting physical negatives, scanning them into my computer, and seeing them come to life. The colors and style I get out of my film photos have a lot more life to them than any photo taken on my DSLR.
JM – How would you describe your style?
DW – I guess I would say it’s a bit of a mish mash. I like to shoot a bit of everything from landscapes to architecture to night time.
JM – Has your style changed since you first started photography? If so, in what way has it changed and what brought on that change?
DW – When I first started shooting photography a few years back I really mainly focused on shooting nature and landscapes. I love hiking so bringing my camera along on outdoor adventures was most natural to me when I first started shooting. Since then as I’ve learned more about framing and composition I’ve expanded into more urban settings and now I like to hunt out interesting and unique scenes around my city too.
JM – What is your favorite film? Camera?
DW – This is tough. Right now I’m really digging both Lomo 100 and Portra 160. I love a lower ISO film, and both of these fit the mark really well. Sharp as knives and very minimal grain. Plus the colors on both are gorgeous. As for a favorite camera, I don’t know if I can pick from my big collection! But I do feel most drawn to my Bronica ETR at the present moment. It’s just everything I want out of a medium format. I love that I can get 15 photos to a roll. Plus the lens is just gorgeous, and it’s the perfect weight, not too heavy to be able to walk around with unlike some other medium format cameras (coughmamiyarb67cough).
JM – How many cameras do you currently have? Do you find yourself often buying, selling, and/or trading cameras?
DW – I have somewhere in the vicinity of 40 cameras, maybe just slightly more. I’m not buying them *too* often. I think I only bought three in all of 2020. I quickly amassed my collection of 40 when I first started shooting because I would stalk my local thrift stores and snatch up anything I could find. When I first started out I just loved experimenting with different cameras and learning about what they could do. I haven’t parted with any yet – I’m not sure if I could. I’m very sentimental and each one reminds me of a different part of my film journey.
JM – What is a personal goal you have for your photography?
DW – I have a handful of disjointed, unrelated goals. I’d like to start being more creative with my photography. A lot of what I currently shoot is just typical scenes around where I live. I would like to branch out and do more double exposures, experimental films, etc… I would also like to do more portraits and self portraits. Additionally, I just want to document the moments of my everyday life more. I’m worried one day I’ll be 60 and look back and realize I have no photos of my regular life. So right now I’ve made it a mission to capture one black and white shot everyday. Whether it’s just the beautiful view out my living room window, making dinner, or having game night. I just want to capture more of the life moments I love with the people I love.
“The more and more people I meet in this little [film] world the more amazed I am with how friendly and outgoing everyone is. I’ve met so many amazing friends through this community I wouldn’t have otherwise and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it.”
JM – How often do you shoot medium format? Do you have a preference between 35mm and 120?
DW – I definitely reach for medium format much more than 35mm. This is the total opposite of like a year or so ago. I find myself feeling more and more comfortable with 12-15 shots per roll. I feel like frequently I’ll start a roll of 35mm and get halfway through it and just peter out. Then I’m just doing throw away shots to finish up the roll, and that annoys me. Plus not to be too stereotypical, but I just love the detail and resolution of medium format.
JM – What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken? What’s the story behind it?
DW – I think one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken is a night time shot I captured this past summer of an illuminated door framed by an overhanging tree and fence in the foreground, shot on Ultramax with my Nikon N80. It was my first time ever shooting film at night and I couldn’t believe how well the photo turned out. The fence is just a regular chain link fence, but with the darkness of the night it makes it look almost purple and the green from the tree turns the door and light into this eerie green glow. It’s perfect.
JM – What do you see for the future of film photography?
DW – I really hope it keeps growing! And in my heart I think it will. Film has been around for over 150 years and people keep coming back to it. As I said before there’s just a life to film that I don’t think we can ever truly leave behind. Sometimes it’s hard not to worry when you see headlines like Fuji Pro 400 going away, but I really think film companies are noticing this is more than just a blip and eventually things will start picking up.
JM – What is your favorite part of the film photography community? Do you think that attribute exists only with the film community or does it extend to digital photography community as well?
DW – I love how welcoming and supportive everyone is. I’ve been on Instagram for a year and a half and I was initially very worried to launch my page because I was scared people would think my photos were stupid but it’s been the complete opposite. The more and more people I meet in this little world the more amazed I am with how friendly and outgoing everyone is. I’ve met so many amazing friends through this community I wouldn’t have otherwise and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it. As for digital, you know I really can’t say. I don’t shoot digital all that often and don’t know too many digital shooters to be quite honest. But I do wonder if there’s something about the film process and the sentimentality of it that brings people closer together.
You can see more of Danielle’s work below: