Justin Banks uses a classic Rolleiflex 3.5 F camera to capture street scenes around Bloomington, Indianapolis, and other cities. He processes the film (mostly black and white, although he does do color from time to time) in his kitchen.
His photographs could be compared to those of Vivian Maier, who started shooting on a Rolleiflex in Chicago in the 1950s. Banks says the camera helps give his compositions that midcentury feel, too. His photos almost always include people, and Banks says part of the fun is meeting his subjects.
Unlike digital photography, in which images can be captured in rapid-fire succession — and kept or deleted at will — film requires more careful composition, Banks says. Each roll of medium-format film allows only 12 exposures, and Banks is never entirely sure what the shot will look like until he develops it.
Banks’ took his first photos as a student at Bloomington High School South, encouraged by his teacher, Rosie Piga Pizzo, who from 1996 to 2000 taught journalism and English and was a yearbook advisor.
“I still remember one of his first developed photos in my photojournalism class that he took when he was a freshman,” Pizzo says. “He caught a skateboarder in midair — perfect focus, composition, et cetera. I remember asking him if he took pictures before. He said my class was the first time. I was shocked — what a natural talent. He then spent his remaining three years of high school as one of my staff photographers for the yearbook, taking more amazing pictures.”
You can find more of Banks’ work on Instagram @jryanbanks.