“I started Girls on Film in 2011. At that time I was studying in Liverpool and getting my masters degree. I wasn’t spending enough time on photography as I wanted. It was hard to pursue fashion photography in Liverpool especially because there weren’t many models. I had been interested in editorials for a while, so I decided to pursue Girls on Film as a way to focus on film photography.
To be honest, it first started as a digital project. Even today, and this is a question people ask me frequently, I don’t think Girls on Film could ever become a big magazine. It’s just a zine. I don’t want any text or interviews. It’s all photography. That’s why it works. It’s just something that you can flip through and it’s quick. It’s important right now, especially when people have so many different things with technology and cannot focus on the images. Five to ten minutes of images and that’s it. I don’t have plans on making it into something bigger.
Film has completely different aesthetics from digital. Even if you apply many filters and Photoshop, you can’t get the same feeling that you get from film through digital. I think the whole process is also very interesting: putting the roll into the camera, then into the envelope and getting the result, which you never really know until the moment the film is developed. It can be frustrating but that’s also what makes it exciting.
Compared to when I first started Girls on Film, there is less nudity now than in the earlier issues. People always ask me, “What’s your policy in terms of nudity?” I don’t think the photograph is good just because someone is naked. Nudity used just to sell the photograph is not what I am looking for. People use nudity to make their images more shocking but there often isn’t anything special. I’m not against nudity, as a guy especially. [Laughs] But, there has to be something more. It has to be subtle.
Girls on Film is really just a project run by myself. I do everything, from contacting photographers to replying to emails. I was involved in another project with more people earlier on, before Girls on Film, but we each had our own paths and ended up going our own ways in different countries. Having a solo project is better because I can pursue more things and according to my own rules.
This project is not profit-driven at all, and I mean it. The only revenue that I can get is from the copies sold. I self-print my issues with Magcloud, a service run by HP. You upload the PDF and they print and distribute it themselves. If someone orders a copy, they send it directly, which helps me because I don’t’ have to spend time delivering things to a printer. I don’t’ have to put in money before. I also don’t have to worry about posting all the copies. But that also means that the price of the product is quite high. I literally get $1 from each copy. All the money really goes to buying more copies or sending copies to websites doing reviews. This project is truly passion-driven.
What people forget sometimes is that Girls on Film is a project. I work full-time in digital marketing, but photography-wise, I really want to get into shooting more band portraits. There’s a lot of production behind fashion photography. Even though Scotland has a decent number of good modeling agencies, finding a proper stylist, models, makeup artists – it’s hard.
I do have plans to stop Girls on Film for a while though – for about two to three months – because I want to build an online platform. I want to start producing content for the website. That way people can discover new photographers. I’m also working on a new project called Future Positive, which my boyfriend and I work on together. It’s from a start-up point of view, featuring people who just launched their businesses. It’s not of people being lawyers or something, but rather more creative. Right now I’m putting more time into Future Positive because it can get really interesting.
I currently also do a small section on my blog called Sunday Zine Review, where I review a small magazine or artist book. It’s really more independent stuff. People usually contact me. I’ve been doing it for over a one-and-a-half years and today, I’m publishing the 94th and 95th review. At the 100th review, I’m going to take a hiatus. But from Sunday Zine Review, I’ve discovered many interesting magazines and people who are pursuing similar projects to Girls on Film. It’s people doing it because they love it, not for money. It’s what their life is about – the arts – and that to me is fantastic.”