For the modern day photographer, the magic of film lies in its slight unpredictability and the anticipation of the reveal. Each shot is more precious, more real and less calculated. Olya Olenic recently travelled to Vietnam for the first time, leaving much of the digital world behind she captured her encounters on her L35AF, Nikon's first AF point-and-shoot camera.
Away from the glossy sets and fashion models, Olya was thrusted into new territory, and having anticipated her reaction to her surroundings, she had chosen to go back to film in order to live in the moment.
Whilst shooting digitally has its slew of advantages, the beauty of film is alive and well for many reasons. Some photographers feel that film gives images greater depth and a texture that cannot be reproduced. More importantly, it is what it does to the one behind the camera. By using film, one is forced to understand their surroundings more, how light works and the anticipation of what might happen next, and because the film is precious, you are forced to exercise a great deal of patience.
“The images I shot in Vietnam stand quite a few steps away from my usual work. I could let myself be free and at some point, it felt like as if I was in a movie. I walked around with my compact Nikon L35AF to steal a frame or two of this movie for my personal memory,”
The trip formed a unique personal story, all brought to life again through shooting a picture diary, something Olya would have never shot in the past. The charm of Vietnam is alive in its unapologetic ways, from the woman clipping her toenails on the city bench to the traditional wear of the country folk, Vietnam showed its character flawlessly. The L35AF also allowed her to remain inconspicuous, keeping her from interfering with her subject’s natural behavior or attracting any attention when shooting.
“Children friendly birds, Ho Chi Minh” – Nikon L35AF, AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED, ISO 200, f/2.8
“Hottest hour of the day, sleeping man in Ho Chi Minh” – Nikon L35AF, AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED, ISO 200, f/2.8
“Layers of the city, Ho Chi Minh” – Nikon L35AF, AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED, ISO 200, f/2.8
My favorite image is probably the one with the street stall with drinks, bunch of red chairs and the poster of a city stuck on the wall behind it. It says so much about Vietnam and the way I experienced it. It not only shows Vietnam as a layered and colorful place, but also depicts a certain sense of optimism.”
Olya describes her experience as if ‘time had stopped’ - having to wait for the image to be revealed at a much later time gave her a chance to reflect in a more honest way, keeping the present and past at a true distance. “On a trip like this, each roll becomes a timeline of memories and precious moments. Here I was not an artist, I was an explorer.”
Olya Olenic has worked with globally known fashion brands to create dynamic visuals. Based in Amsterdam, she has a Bachelor in photography and now works on a freelance basis. She recently touched down in Vietnam for the first time, stepping away from her usual work, exploring her relationship with foreign grounds and film.
In 1983, after a thorough preparation, Nikon introduced its first AF point-and-shoot camera, the L35AF, named "Pikaichi" (meaning "top notch" in Japanese). The trade name of Pikaichi was chosen to represent the wishes that the camera would take the best pictures and sell the most in the industry. Learn more about the L35AF on NIKKOR.com.