Film Fridays – 35mm Roller Derby Photography

I’ve been photographing LA’s amazing women’s roller derby league as a fan for over a year and as one of the league photographers for a few months. For someone who was never very interested in sports, either as a spectator or participant, my enthusiasm for roller derby is pretty surprising, but it really is one of my favorite things to do in LA and one of my favorite things to photograph. Earlier this year, I got the book Hard Knocks: Rolling with the Derby Girls that features some truly amazing medium format film photography by Shelly Calton. Inspired by this, I brought a roll of black and white 35mm film to last weekend’s game to see what I could capture. The Doll Factory is dark and the skaters are fast so this was a bit of an experiment for me. But I love black and white film and the grain and moodiness somehow just work for the subject, so this is definitely something I will doing more of in the future. The digital photos are up on flickr, but here are a few of my favorite film shots.


Taken with the Canon AE-1 camera, 50mm 1.8 lens, Kodak BW 400 CN

  • tricia said:

    WOW! I can't believe this actually exists!! :) Great coverage, you def get the feel it's "nitty gritty"

  • kelsey said:

    These are awesome! Incredible work in what looks like a very tough lighting situation. Thank you for sharing these.

  • That looks like a lot of fun (as long as you stay out of the way!!!). Good work.

  • very cool. i loved my old ae-1 (until it broke). i love the feel of these - very raw, like the sport!

  • Teresa K said:

    Fun!! I love the retro take on the images too...

  • Johanna said:

    Great photos. There's nothing like film :) I'd love to see roller derby somewhere too, so far I've just seen it in movies, magazines and photos.

  • Nice shots! Love the documentary feel of the black and white film.

  • Josh said:

    Love these Jessica! Nice work

  • Froxy said:

    Jess, they're gorgeous! I was going to list my favourite but I'd have to list every one. That last one is pretty special though.

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