Me and my Yashica D / by Kevin Voegtlin

10 or so years ago, while helping my dad go through some old boxes when he was moving, we came across his old medium format Yashica D. He bought the camera in the late '60's to document his cross country move from New Jersey to California. He loved the camera, and shot with it regularly, but one day stored it away and it never came back out. I played around with the camera a bit, couldn't figure out a few things, and set it on a shelf–more decor than a working option. 

Fast forward a few more years and I was getting ready to go shoot video for another Nike surf trip. I had shot some film on my Holga a few trips prior, and really liked the outcome, but this time wanted to try a proper film camera. I picked up the Yashica, did a little research online, and figured out a basic understanding of the camera. It hasn't missed a trip since. Often, this camera and my iPhone are the only two means of shooting photos I have with me.

It sounds cliche, but there is just something different about film. It has a richness, a depth, that is still very hard to achieve digitally. One of the biggest factors for me was that it forced me to slow down. 12 frames, manual focus, and film development you have to pay for–not the most forgiving form of photography. But, at a time when I was chasing the worlds best surfers, shooting digital video of very high performance surfing, taking a step back was a welcome change of pace. 

The Yashica's waste level view finder also makes it easier to capture some more intimate moments. By not pulling a big DSLR up to your face, and leaning in towards a subject, lens glaring at them, people tend not to take notice of you. Or if they do, their natural tensing reaction to cameras doesn't come through.

This photo is of Thrice bassist Ed Breckenridge finding a moment to himself while in Nicaragua for a Waves For Water mission.