Posts Tagged ‘film photography’

Personal Post: “pictures of the summer to prove that it really existed”

Fingers crossed and saying my prayers for safe transit, I packed up the film I shot all summer long and shipped it out to be developed. When the package arrived, Ben and I sat in bed together and flipped through the prints, my heart exploding with every photo. This summer wasn’t just any summer, it was Juniper’s first summer, something I anticipated since that second pink line appeared 18+ months ago.

Part of the joy of parenthood is sharing the things you love with this new little person. It may be your 200th visit to the beach, but it’s the first time she’s felt sand in her toes, and it may be your annual camping trip at the usual spot, but it’s the first time she has woken up to the sunny pattern leaves make on the tent walls in the morning.

This summer was full of “Juniper’s firsts”, and part of that was sharing places with her that meant a lot to us growing up. We visited The Farm where she held a kitten and giggled when she touched a baby goat. We went camping at Peninsula State Park where she rode in a canoe and took naps in a cargo wagon. She ate fruit straight from the orchard, visited beaches, parks, and pools, and soaked up the summer sun right in our own backyard.

Every outing required more planning and packing than any previous summer (babies come with SO much stuff), but as anyone who has ever loved anyone knows, the joy of wonderful things is multiplied when you see someone you love experience that joy. And we are closing out the summer with a heart full of memories and a head full of stories to tell as she grows up.

It’s amazing how children can change how we experience our world. Everything is new again — just like magic.
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Photos above from 35 mm film scans July-September.
Blog title taken from song “People Take Pictures of Each Other” by The Kinks.
If you like this blog, check out The Family of Over-Celebrators and Summertime on Film.

Personal Post: the gift of curiosity

Since it’s off season for us, I have yet to really try my hand at the artful act of balancing life and work. It’s an intimidating task and one with few examples to follow as my job doesn’t give me a 9-5 schedule or any difference in work and living space. This is both a blessing and a curse as it means I can work in my robe and pajamas (please don’t come knocking on my door unexpectedly), but I have to use my judgement to know when to call it quits, shutdown the computer, and turn off email notifications.

On the slow days I’ve been thinking about the kind of parent I will be. And although it’s likely I have little choice in the matter, I can’t help but consider what I want Juniper to receive from me beyond a warm house and a full belly. And it comes down to one thing: curiosity. The gift I most want to give to her is the ability to look at the world with an open heart and curious mind — exploring, daydreaming, wondering. Curiosity means probing into the things we take for granted and asking questions. It means walking off the path, getting dirty, and breaking rules.

Juniper comes from a long line of well-intentioned rule-breakers who are curious to their core. Curiosity leads to passion, and when people we care for love something with great passion, we learn to appreciate what they love because their loving it makes it special. There are a million things I want to share with our baby girl: hundreds of books I want to read, scores of cities I want to bring her to, and many acres of land I want us to explore. But whatever her interests, whether they overlap with mine or not, I hope to pass along this great gift. That way she can love whatever she wants to love and chase whatever she wants to chase, and curiosity will call her to dig deeper every time.
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Film Scans above from hikes in February 2017 at Cave Point, Newport State Park, Potawatomi State Park, and Whitefish Dunes in Door County.
In the top photo I am pregnant with baby Juniper but don’t know it yet. <3

Personal Post: i am thankful, pain for pain, joy for joy

Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-1 Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-2The day my film scans arrive back is like magic. When we wait for weeks or months, the memories of long weekends and summer nights begins to fade, but in handling the prints, I have those feelings back in tangible way – the good, the bad, and the bittersweet. Every moment is replayed in emulsion with the soft texture of film and I remember vividly how I felt when I made each image.

I have been absent from the personal blog for a few months. When I write these posts I write from the heart, and sometimes it can be difficult to touch upon what I feel and what I want to say about it. Even now, with so many photos I want to share, the clarity of phrasing isn’t quite clear, other than to say I am thankful. I am thankful for my beautiful home, my capable body, and most of all, my family. When things are good, family celebrates in our joys, and when things are bad, they are the people who check in every. damn. day. Not out of obligation, not because they’re sad we’re sad or happy we’re happy, but because they feel it 100% – pain for pain, joy for joy.

I have people like this in my life – family I am related to, and people whose lives have become intertwined with mine in the unlikeliest of circumstances. I am grateful for both. Life is built experiencing the feelings of others in whatever way we can. I am showing up for that – pain for pain, joy for joy.

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Film scans above ^^ from summer events with friends and family around Fourth of July.

Personal Post: why we travel

California-Travel-Wanderlust-Big-Sur-San-Fransisco-Beach-Photographer-Road-TripIf you’re in contact with us often, you’ll find that a few times each year your email will bounce back with an out-of-office message telling you that we’re away somewhere exploring. Sometimes it’s a big trip (like our spring visit to France) and sometimes it’s a few hours north for a weekend in the land of no phone service. I’ve always had the travel bug, and, aside from blaming it on genetics, I often wonder where it comes from. What is it that drives us to travel again and again?

Let’s start with what it’s not. I know it is not dissatisfaction with where we live. I love our little downtown home in a city that’s just starting to rediscover itself, and I love where I’m from originally – the beautiful Door Peninsula with beaches 20 miles in any direction. Instead, I think it has to do with two things: curiosity and re-appreciation. Curiosity is what drives the desire to plan the trip. It’s what has us wondering, “What do the buildings look like there? What does the food taste like there? What does the weather feel like there?” It’s a sort of yearning to experience new things that aren’t a part of our day-to-day lives (which can be as simple – or as profound – as seeing mountains for the first time when you spent your whole life in the flatlands of eastern Wisconsin).

In my experience, if we give ourselves enough time with one place, these discoveries are followed by a humbling gratefulness for being more connected to the rest of the world.

The second part, re-appreciation, is harder to explain. Re-apprceiation (although it’s possible that I just made that word up) is the thing that has us coming home from a trip happier and more bonded to the people in our lives. When we travel as a family, as a couple, or as a group of friends, we are working together to overcome obstacles (language barriers, getting lost, travel anxieties) and there are moments that require skills we don’t often use at home. Partners are reminded of the wonderful characteristics and talents possessed by this person they love that are easily forgotten in our day-to-day lives where so many “conversations” revolve around how much laundry there is to do, or the leak that needs to be fixed, or the obligations that fill the weekend. We can more easily feel those skills – patience, flexibility, creative problem solving, street savviness – when we are out of our normal spaces, away from our jobs, and more open to everything around us, including each other.

This is why we travel. This is why each year includes plans of an adventure to someplace we’ve never been. It’s why my idea book comes home fuller, my film all spent and memory cards depleted, a suitcase of dirty laundry, and that feeling of happy exhaustion.

Images above are 35 mm film scans from our trip to California in late February.

Personal Post: toy cameras and liking what you like

Travel_Film_Lomography_Mini_Diana_Double_Exposure

With photography as a career and a first love, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how to “play” at creating artwork and documenting my life.  We focus so much on getting “the shot” –  what the best lenses, lighting gear, poses would be, that there isn’t much of a chance to toy around with just plain liking something and wanting to capture it.  I think one of the best art assignments for idea-book-keepers like myself, is to make a list of things you like.  There is no pressure to love something, and no specifics as to what can or cannot be included.  The list will start with obvious things your friends could list for you: coffee, pizza, the beach; but a few pages in you start to get into stranger, more specific territory: new ballpoint pens, having someone wash my hair for me, finding things that were lost.  I think there is something to this – something about being able to just like something, to enjoy it without the need to explain or analyze.

This is what I love about my Lomography cameras.  They are film cameras, but they are created like cheap, toy cameras – plastic, no batteries, the only adjustment for exposure is sunny or cloudy.  These cameras allow me to “play” in my interaction with the world.  I don’t have to consider my lenses or gear; I don’t have to worry about how it will look in post-processing.  Each frame is a surprise.  It could be a double-exposure; it could be filed with light-leaks or vignettes.  There is a joy in not needing to know the end result, and there is a joy in not editing my actions.  I haven’t gone through the process in my head to determine that the shot will be no good and isn’t worth taking.  I follow my impulses, and I honor my likes.

All photos above were taken this summer with my Lomography Mini Diana Petit Noir camera on 35 mm film (one roll of b&w, one roll of color).

Personal Post: summertime on film

Door_County_Film_Photography_Family1 Door_County_Film_Photography_Family2

Ever since I was a child, summer meant traveling up to the farmhouse in North Bay with my family.  It meant watching the leaves flutter overhead as I looked out the window driving through Jacksonport, turning the corner into Baileys Harbor where the view opens open to the unbroken horizon of Lake Michigan, and finally pulling in the gravel path lined with cedars.  These feelings remain unchanged for me as an adult.  It is still where I go to connect with my family and explore nature.

During the summer I spend a lot of time shooting with my Nikon F4 35 mm film camera.  This camera was bought second-hand and chosen for me by a stranger, and there is a part of me that feels like it had to be a bit of destiny.  I went to college knowing I wanted to do something artistic, but certain I would choose an emphasis in painting and study graphic design to support myself.  I had never owned anything but point-and-shoot cameras, and everything changed for me the day this little Nikon F4 arrived and I started Photography 101 with Sarah Detweiler.  Having this camera and this amazing professor, completely altered how I saw the world around me.  Things I never questioned, I found reasons to investigate, and things I never saw connection between began to form relationships.  That was it: I was a photographer.

This little Nikon film camera stayed with me all throughout my undergraduate degree, traveled to Italy on a study abroad program, and finally road with me on my month long Route 66 trip.  Now, with photography not only as my artistic expression, but as my career, capturing my personal life on film keeps me rooted.  It reminds me to take the time to get each shot right and to find the moment where the image “solves itself”.  It calls forward everything I love about photography and it refreshes my spirit.  Funny how something so simple can mean so much.

Captured on film this summer are lots of little events with the people I am closest with: Ben crawfishing with my cousins (and the miniature crawfish boil it led to), hay rides to Cana Island, Door County parades, and a train ride in the northwoods.  It’s the everyday moments with the people in our lives we love most that remind us of who we are.  Holding onto these moments helps me remember that.