Black and white film photography is one of my favorite things to shoot. It's also one of the hardest things for me to shoot. I find it a struggle to see things in varying shades of grey while photographing a vibrant world. While I love color and the feelings it evokes from a photograph, there is something timeless and moving about black and white photography. I think I will be doing much more of it in the years to come. Here is a bit of the black and white film I shot in Beijing.
I've heard it said that the holy trinity of photography is Light, Composition, and Moment. I couldn't agree more. My favorite subject to photograph, my daughter, is a perfect exercise for me in this pursuit. I look for locations with good light, a simple composition, and then put her in the middle of it. I give her the freedom to be herself and I catch the moment.
Light, composition, moment.
Sometimes life moves so fast. I look back and wonder where in the world did that time go? Days turn into weeks and months into years. But sometimes... sometimes... we stop time for one small millisecond and revel in the beauty that is in front of us. Things slow down and one small glance can last forever.
I feel that way about my photography and my kids. Times are changing right in front of me, but I love how these photos help me pause and appreciate what I love about now.
This is us. Well, us minus me. :)
Decided it was time to take some photos of my family because, well, why not?! And my husband's hair hasn't been this long since high school. Oh those USMC regulations...
These people are my life. Enjoy!
"Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise." Paul McCartney
Last week I got to take pictures of my beautiful friend, Ashley. And let me tell you, she's more than just a pretty face. She's a bit like a phoenix in my mind. She has faced trials in her life that I shudder to even think about and has resurfaced more brilliant than ever. I hope my camera and I were able to capture at least part of her inner strength and beauty combined with her obvious outer strength and beauty.
When I was sixteen, I made a list of everything I wanted to do in my life. I'm proud to say, at almost 30 (I might as well accept the inevitable already), I've completed most of that list! Maybe I didn't realize how long life really was. Or maybe I was being unambitious. Or maybe I'm just awesome. :) Let's hope for the latter.
One of the items on the list was to travel the world. So far I've been to some crazy places like rural Ghana and Brazil along with super modern Dubai and Paris somewhere in the middle. I've visited almost every major national park in the U.S. and 48 of the 50 states. But there's one city/state I'd never visited: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA!! This city, so well-known for its culture and food, had missed my radar. And oh the food... (I was too busy eating to take a picture.) If you've never visited this beautiful city, you need to go. Seriously. Just try the jambalaya and gumbo and tell me you haven't been missing something in your life!
Despite the fact I never thought it would happen, it actually did.
My little sister grew up.
And even though I still (and always will) see her as my little sister, she can definitely pull off the beautiful, grown woman with the best of them! Here she is being all kinds of beautiful the day before her wedding in (very cold) northern Utah. She's so beautiful - inside and out - and I am lucky I got to take these pictures to help her remember one of the most special moments of her life.
I'm totally that girl in the hospital, when asked if she wanted photos of her newborn baby said, "Really? He kind of just looks like every other squished newborn. No thanks." Seriously! My first baby! ha.
But there is definitely something special about the bond between a mother and her baby. There is also something special about the smallness of a baby in those first few weeks of life. I can appreciate that better now that my kids are getting huge. When I went to this shoot I knew I wanted to focus on the bond between this precious newborn and his beautiful mother as well as his unique tiny features. Now if only I could go back in time and get some pictures like this of my kids... ha! Oh well! Enjoy!
There's something magical about black and white film.
I believe it holds the power to tell a story so compelling you can't help but listen with your soul.
No distractions -- just lines, texture and pure emotion. Here is my favorite subject showing her soul.
*Techy info: 35mm camera/film, Kodak b&w 400CN, developed and scanned at NCPS.
In extremely rare fashion, I am posting a photo of me and my cute little fam today! Dare I say this is a first for me? Wow. My good friend took this picture on an amazingly beautiful hike that put me in awe of where I live. One word: Wow!
In honor of this milestone, I'd like to share a personal anecdote.
Those who know me know I love to travel. Er...I love to visit new places (the getting there could be greatly improved, as in Star Trek beaming me up sort of improvement). There is just something exquisite about being in an entirely new environment among people of a completely different culture that gives me goosebumps. Although I'm still relatively young (relative to my parents and grandparents, that is. I do, however, keep telling my son I'm really old and that's why he needs to listen to me. :) ), I've been to many different countries and continents. I understand how rare that is, and I'm grateful for those unique experiences. One of my most memorable experiences was while I was in Ghana, Africa doing humanitarian aid work. Many of the people among whom we worked lived without our modern-day conveniences such as running water and electricity. Their way of life was so unencumbered as well as completely focused on survival. Food was for filling the belly. Work was for feeding the family. School was for a means of making a better income. Etc. While there I soaked it all in. I savored the colors and flavors (ok, maybe not all of the flavors), I loved the people and I left a different person. My only regret is not taking many photos. I was not the camera-toting girl I am today, and my scant pictures prove it. Although my memories have distinct smells and textures, I can't share them like I can photography. Something that excites me about photography is the opportunity to visit a unique place like Ghana and be able to share my experience and my feelings through photos. I want each picture of mine to always evoke a feeling. It may be a different feeling for everyone who sees it, but a sincere feeling nonetheless. People photography definitely moves me like that. In the next few days I'm going to dig through my Africa photos and post a few of those pictures. The composition and artistic elements may not be perfect, but the subjects will hopefully move you just like they moved me.
Summer has sprung and life is beautiful. I honestly can't believe I get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! I swear they try to keep California a secret to us north-easterners! Who knew there were places that had almost no humidity? Who knew you could live by the beach without insane amounts of traffic? Who knew you could live equi-distant from both the city and the country?!?! I love it here. Can you tell?
But my life's not all about the beach and sun. I have a very demanding job, and it's at home with my two kids. They are my life and my loves. My husband works hard to support us and I'm grateful for all we have. I'm most grateful for this family. It can make photography a challenge as my kids are young and this house doesn't clean itself (anyone know where I can get one of those?). But we make it work and do the best with what we've got!
Photography is my passion, but my family always comes first. I'm so lucky to have both.
(My son is so over the whole photo-taking business. Fortunately this little pip-squeek here still thinks it's kind of fun.)
Techy info: Camera - Canon 35mm SLR, Lens - 50mm, Film - Kodak 400NC
My feeble attempt at a self-portrait. Ha! Maybe I'll do better next time. :)
The other day when I decided to dust off my husband's 35mm camera and give it a go, I found there was still some unused film in the cartridge. Lucky me! I didn't look close enough to find out how old it was or when it expired, but judging from the last time that camera was used, there's a good chance the film was 10+ years old/expired. Fortunately I'm a novice enough to have no idea what that actually means, so I loaded the film and set off to shoot. My baby girl was looking especially cute and content eating her ripe and juicy peach that I couldn't possibly pass up that photo op. Ok, so maybe I set it up. But she's still as cute as ever. I took a roll of film with my Contax, but due to circumstances beyond my control, the film got destroyed and I'll never know what those pictures looked like. Please cry a tear for me. :( But how lucky am I that this roll turned out so well?! See that grain? This color film was ISO 200, meaning it shouldn't have any grain, but I'm guessing due to its age it turned out super grainy. And I LOVE it! Film grain is so absolutely soft and beautiful to me.
A few technical details: I used the same camera/lens setup as my last post (35mm, 50 1.4) but the film was ISO 200 and probably some Wal-Mart brand that I don't remember. I set the camera's in-camera reading to ISO 100 and then metered for the shadows - thus overexposing the film about 1.5-2 stops. I think with really old film sometimes you have to overexpose the heck out of it, so maybe I could have even gone higher. With regular film it's still often recommended to overexpose that much to achieve flattering skin tones and contrast. :)