The last time I took pictures on a film camera was back in the first year of high school on an exchange student program in Australia . My dad finally allowed me to steal away his big fancy camera with me, alone, to another country. I carried 11 rolls of film, and I carefully allocated the number of frames for each day so that they would last me the entire 3 months. Regardless of what my dad had educated me on how to use this film camera of his, I believe I was on P mode the whole time…
15 years later, I picked up a film camera again with a mixed feelings and purposes, a little intimidating, a little dumb, and lots of unexpectedness. I tried to slow down, to just take random pictures, to enjoy the anxiety between metering and releasing the shutter, and the best part, to be surprised by the scans. First roll was experimental, since I was figuring out this new camera and the new procedure. I had no idea that the camera battery died right after the last frame. I was supposed to hit the rewind button but nothing happened…. So I opened up the back of the camera…to check it out…. Yeah, I blown out the last few frames. One photo got lucky to have a partially “light leak” effect. “So this is light leaks…that’s……kinda cool…” I said to myself when I stared at the results of my malfunction.
Films are addictive when looking at them. These photos were just random things, with not much story behind them, but somehow I can stare at them forever. My eyes search from the deep profound shadow to the soft delicate highlights, and the smooth gradient between both, almost like an amazing voice singing from Contralto to Sopraninos beautifully and effortlessly. Film bares a quality that’s so lovely and sophisticated, a quality that’s been long gone in digital.
I love shooting film, and I can’t wait to see how the following rolls turn out. After all, it is the fun part of it, isn’t it?
It is absolutely a treat to photograph this vintage nautical baby shower decorations and styling. The moment I got there and saw this genius sailor wheel on the wall made out of baby diapers, and a cake with an adorable baby sailor sleeping soundly on it, I couldn’t help but jump all over it with my camera!
Decoration and styling: House of Creative Designs
Baby sailor cake: Desserts By Jeanette
follow you down to the red oak tree
as the air moves thick through the hollow reeds
will you wait for me there until someone comes
to carry me, carry me down
see I have not, I have not grown cold
i have stole from men who have stole from those
with their arms so thin and their skin so old
but you are young, you are young, you are young
then somebody laughs like it’s all just for hell
as though we could not be saved from the depth of the well
but the cloth that I make is a cloth you can sell
to pay for the gossamer seeds
names get carved in the red oak tree
of the ones who stay and the ones who leave
i will wait for you there with these cindered bones
so follow me, follow me down
follow me, follow me down
follow me, follow me down
follow me, follow me down
When I dragged myself home from a creative endeavor (just a fancy word for photo shoot), I would be greeted this way: “How was it? Did you get what you want? How would you compare to your last shoot?” My husband is very good at pointing to the critical missions. I would already have the answers right at my tongue since I had kept thinking about them while driving home. Many times the answers were … not so exciting and I am very bad at faking them. However, like every other child, if you believe you didn’t do well or you did something wrong, you would prefer to keep those to yourself. I was this kind of “post photo shoot grouchy child”.
I would pre-visualize a list of the images I want to photograph before leaving for a photo shoot, like I would study a list of right answers for the upcoming tests. But boy it was like rewriting a book when I was actually shooting. I had to maneuver my every single spontaneous nerves to find the next right answers, which I was not sure. I am talking about the feeling of failing a test because not a single prepared the answer was applied. So the first thing I did was rush to the computer, importing the photos and biting the bullet – to see how bad the damage was.
The results are usually out of the blue, completely. When I look closer to what I had took, I started to rethink my list of right answers and the answers I found at the scene. Besides feeling lucky and thankful, I realized there are multiple right answers to a photograph, but I was just feeling uncomfortable searching for the next right answers and doubting their validness.
Dewitt Jones, a national geographic photographer, wrote this in his article (I strongly recommend take a look at it) “When I walk into the forest with my cameras, nature doesn’t say, “There is one great photograph hidden here. One photographer will find it and be the winner. The rest will fail!” No, what nature seems to be saying is, “How many rolls of film do you have, Dewitt? I’ll fill them all with right answers!”
I often confine myself into the exact thought: “…There is one great photograph hidden here. One photographer will find it and be the winner. The rest will fail…!”
I am learning to overcome the fear of making mistakes. This feeling haunts me every time when I lift the camera to my eye. Don’t risk this composition or you will ruin the image; this is not a scene for you to try something new; stick within the ways it’s always been done…
Some mistakes will turn out to be the “out of blue” answers, some may be doomed to be failures. I find out I will not go wrong with either way. Reasons: the “out of blue answers” will positively reinforce the creative thinking while the failing ones will teach me a new lesson and prevent the same mistakes next time.
It is win or learn, not win or lose. You see?
When we believe there will always be the next right answer waiting for us, we will feel the comforts among the uncomfortable.