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Astra Takes Photos

Photography · San Francisco California United States

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: J. Astra Brinkmann is a photographer who prefers to work with film cameras in her efforts to document or create the world around her. Born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, she moved to San Francisco in 2008 to pursue illustration. Her interests turned towards photography shortly after moving when she acquired a Polaroid One Step, a Holga 120N and a Canon AE1 within a few months of each other. She views photography as a means of therapy but also as a game; it helps her understand her surroundings as balances of color, shape and time. Always armed with a camera when she leaves the house, she looks for things which are out of the ordinary. Whether she observes vibrant color juxtapositions or an oasis of open space, her camera of choice to capture these moments is a Mamiya C33, which she has treasured since 2012. Besides documenting her neighborhood, she is concurrently working on at least two other portrait-based bodies of work. &quot;People With Cats&quot; centers on capturing the bonds between humans and their pets, while &quot;ghostgirl&quot; is a double-exposure ode to Francesca Woodman's black and white photographs of women. Astra's hope is that her dedication to film inspires others to try using (or returning to) film cameras because film photographs help us more selectively choose our memories to keep forever. Digital photography is a different experience with different advantages, but the element of surprise and anticipation of processed negatives or positives is unique to the process of shooting film.