Johannah Sentenn

The portrait of me as a child was taken by David DeCroce, an extremely talented Denver photographer who travelled to Atlanta to document my family. His photographs were some of the most important narratives I had of my early childhood as I grew up. His film photographs are just as beautiful today as they were 42 years ago. For many reasons–one them being the empathic, exquisite images by DeCroce–I am devoted to film photography. Film is difficult, persnickety, and demands that photographs are created with careful composition and thought. It requires an unnegotiable amount of time and loyalty. Most importantly, it permits me to form a more intimate bond with my clients, because the complexity of shooting with film makes it acceptable –necessary – for one human to observe another with intense curiosity.

Our cultural discomfort with asking honest questions about each other, with revealing our unedited selves, with spending “unproductive” time luxuriating in the simple act of seeing how light falls on someone’s face –this all disappears with slow film photography.

In these past 20 years, my subjects have been willing to reveal their moments of vulnerable humanity, and I revere them for it. The photographs taken by my camera are not my images. They belong to those who offered them to me.