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27 Frames – Elizabeth Weinberg

Welcome to our 27 Frames series. We sent 27 single use cameras out to some of our favorite photographers, they shot stuff with it, then mailed it back to us. We developed the film and are sharing the results with you (and the photographers) now. In this instant, digital age, we want to pay homage to a snapshot photo process we grew up with ourselves — waiting for the film to develop and being surprised by the results. These 27 Frames belong Elizabeth Weinberg.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a photographer and director. I live in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, and I moved here from Brooklyn a little over three years ago. I lived in New York for almost 8 years and began my career there, but I was over the cold and the C train. I have a 2 year old son named Oscar. I love Seinfeld and iced coffee.

How did you first get into photography?

I used to take pictures for fun like most kids, and grew up documenting my youngest sister – who is 15 years my junior — with point and shoot 35mm cameras and eventually my first 35mm SLR, which I got for my 18th birthday. The only digital cameras out around then took 3.5” floppy disks or were thousands of dollars! I worked in the music industry in college and documented that world pretty extensively. I moved to New York and began working at a high-end photo lab where I learned a lot of the business side of things, and shot small editorial jobs on the side. Eventually things blossomed and I began to do more commercial work and recently I’ve begun directing music videos, which is the most fun ever.

Film or digital?

I love shooting film and I love the excitement of getting a roll back, but nowadays I mostly carry around a 35mm camera for daily snapshots. All of my commercial work is digital, but I have honed my post-processing skills to get fantastic results that are on par with film in my eyes. I did get to shoot medium format film a few years ago for the cover of Charles Bradley’s “Victim of Love” record. They recorded it all analog and wanted to keep it that way for the album artwork, which I thought was brilliant.

When was the last time you used a single use (disposable) camera?

I think I used a waterproof one a few years ago on vacation. I actually still have a half-finished disposable and I should eventually shoot the rest. I love getting film back that spans several months or years.  

What did you decide to shoot with your camera for this project?

We were planning an epic 9-day trip over Christmas and New Years and I figured that would be a great time to snap. We flew from LA to Pennsylvania to visit family and drove from there to western Virginia and Tennessee to visit friends.  

Did you have any interesting experiences along the way?

I really enjoyed taking the time to consider each shot. With an iPhone it’s just so easy to photograph everything, but with this camera my approach was twofold: I was on the lookout for everyday phenomena that I might have possibly overlooked, and I was very picky about what went into each of my 27 frames. Also I got a speeding ticket in Virginia.

What was the biggest challenge (if any) you had with the project?

I’m generally good at metering in my head, but I definitely kept forgetting to take into account the low latitude that these cameras have with low light. You can’t spot meter, so you may be exposing for highlights when you don’t intend to. Some of my frames are sadly underexposed, but that’s the nature of a disposable camera—what you do end up with can be amazing or underwhelming. It’s part of the process!

What was your favorite image from the roll?

My favorite image is of my son on a swing in Craigsville, Virginia. I love the way these cameras render direct sunlight, turning it bright white. Digital camera sensors don’t render highlights in that really lovely way.

Check out more of Elizabeth’s work here:

Elizabeth Weinberg

Special thanks to Dexter’s Camera in Ventura for developing all of the film for the 27 Frames project. If you are a photographer who loves film and have never visited their shop, go there now, they’re the best.

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