Rolling with the film


“Sometimes a photo on a screen isn’t enough for us.”

These are the words of Wilson Phillippe, a professional photographer who makes up half of the New York/Miami-based shutterbug duo Wiissa with Vanessa Hollander. The two have been capturing images together since Phillippe bought Hollander her first film camera as a 16th birthday present.


“As soon as we got the photos back from our first roll, we fell in love with photography,” he said, “and haven’t looked back since.”


Their pictures, which they describe as “thematic” and “nostalgic,” are featured on web sites such as the Huffington Post, Urban Outfitters and Cult Records. The difference between theirs and other graphics featured are that Wiissa only use film.


“All the imperfections––such as scratches, light leaks, dust––are things which resemble the feeling of life much more than digital photography. Digital photography just looks so clinical and boring,” Phillippe said.


Likewise, sophomore Zoe Boyles appreciates taking pictures with film. She’s one of several Decatur students who owns a Polaroid camera, and also uses a hand-me-down Canon from her dad.


“I develop them myself,” she said. “It can be tedious, but the reward that you get when your Polaroid develops, or when you dunk a piece of film paper in developer and see the picture you took, is definitely worth the wait.”


While she prefers snapping photos with her cameras than her phone, Boyles also sees the negatives in film photography, pun intended.


“When you take pictures with a film camera, you have absolutely no idea how they’ll turn out, especially if you develop them yourself,” she said.


Another disadvantage for Boyles is the cost.


“Buying a roll of film or a pack of Polaroid inserts costs way more than buying an SD card for a digital camera,” she said, “and you get way less pictures.”


Then why are so many students turning to film in an “instantaneous and digital” (Boyles) world?


Phillippe and Boyles have their own theories. The latter chalks it up to trends.


“It has a lot to do with the current trendiness of vintage stuff,” she said. “Kids are getting into stuff their parents had, and seeing cool old Polaroids definitely sparks creativity in a lot of people.”


Phillippe believes the aforementioned “photo on a screen” is too basic.


“That memory will just conform to the rest of the millions of memories we’ve captured in a digital photograph,” he said, “so we need to physically touch the memory, have it tangibly in front of us to make it special.”




Selected pictures are from Phillippe and Hollander’s trip to France, which can be found on their web site,