HONEST. Advocate: Mary McNeill-Knowles

Mary McNeill-Knowles - ISLAND WILD

Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400 Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400
Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

Mary McNeill-Knowles was lucky enough to be introduced to film photography in her days as a ‘high-schooler’ in Canada. It was the only elective where she was given the opportunity to spend the class either outside exploring the school yard for something interesting to capture, or in a quiet darkroom developing her roll of film. 

Mary's camera was handed down to her from her mother, who purchased it used in 1979. It even had a hand-made camera strap made from clubbing webbing hand stitched by her Outward Bound buddy.

For Mary, photography just seemed like something fun to take up again mid-way through university, where she spent long hours in front of a computer working on technical drafting programs. It was an escape, a reason to just head outside and be creative. And with no test to measure how good the photo was.

Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400 Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400
Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

I love film photography and its slow paced nature; from taking a single photo - to finishing the entire roll - to developing.
Every shot I take is in the moment.
I remember the photos where I’m trying something new, but I can’t critique myself on how I did until later, when I get them developed.
It’s the type of learning that takes patience. I also take a group of photos knowing I don’t have an endless number of retakes.
I know I have to capture and tell each story through a limit of 36 or 72 photos.
— Mary McNeill-Knowles
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400 Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR camera Film: Kodak Portra 400
Tofino and Goldstream Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada - Fall 2014

Find an exclusive extract of this series in our HONEST. Issue 0.

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