instant film

i live in boston now, i've been reading a lot more, and i don't feel like this place is mine yet

at the end of april this year i packed up a car and drove from washington, dc to boston. i didn't have much of a plan, just a lease that started in june and some friends with generous families willing to house me until then. 

since then, i've started working in a nice store that sells design-oriented handmade wares, spent a lot of time reading (my current fave is station 11 by emily st. john mandel), and trying to connect with this place in a meaningful way so that i can photograph it. 

my friend kristie says she feels creepy for looking at this photo. i feel kind of creepy having taken it. it took me four shots to get the house where i wanted it, framed by the hill and the trees. 

my friend kristie says she feels creepy for looking at this photo. i feel kind of creepy having taken it. it took me four shots to get the house where i wanted it, framed by the hill and the trees. 

i have a really hard time photographing places i don't know and love, or at least feel an intimate connection to. my most favorite projects have all been born out of not just a desire to photograph a place but a need to document my relationship with space and the way i use it. my favorite photographs are intimate and personal, without ever being directly about me. the photos i've taken since moving to boston feel different. voyeuristic, almost. i don't feel like i have a right to this place quite yet. 

i like this image a lot. the shadows, the small light-leak in the upper left quadrant. the mysterious figure in the back. 

i like this image a lot. the shadows, the small light-leak in the upper left quadrant. the mysterious figure in the back. 

some really beautiful images have come out of this weird place i'm in but i'm not sure how to feel about them. they are beautiful on a surface level. i'm shooting on my favorite film (fp100c silk which you can hear me wax poetic about in this post), i'm shooting in a beautiful place (jamaica pond, in my new neighborhood of jamaica plain), i'm careful with my light. but putting them together in a way that makes me truly satisfied is a challenge. the individual images are good, but they don't feel like series or a project, which is pretty new for me. 

my favorite picture i've taken since getting here.

my favorite picture i've taken since getting here.

i'm working on being okay with this. i think ultimately, that personal and intimate work (as seen in "huntington" and "the ocean, the ocean") is the work in which i'm most interested. but this is really good practice. a new kind of image-making (for me), a little more removed, a little more focused on the image as an image and less on the image as a statement or story. and i think i'm okay with that for now. as i continue to live here and develop my relationship with my new neighborhood and city, i think my work will change. i'm really excited to see where it's going to go. and until then, i'm going to keep working on what i can. 

unemployment is hard but there are still beautiful things in this world

(and instant film is one of them)

unemployment is harder than i thought it would be. 

i graduated from college in december, as you know if you've read this blog or have ever met me (and let's be real, the vast majority of you are here because you know me in real life and i linked to this blog post on facebook [hi mom]) and i don't have a job yet. i'm still relatively early in the search but one thing i've been struggling with in all of this is how to keep shooting (photos!).

most of my days are the same. i wake up very late (1pm), i take my dog for a walk, apply for three or four jobs, make some moody playlists on spotify, and then stay up until 4am playing video games and watching movies. repeat.

it's been unseasonably warm here in washington, dc. this past weekend it was 70 degrees and sunny the whole time. i had a few friends who were going to spend the day at the gardens at dumbarton oaks and invited me along. i grabbed my favorite camera and also a pack of my favorite film.
i hesitated.
my favorite film is fuji fp100c. silk. fuji discontinued all iterations of pull-apart film last summer and i was distraught. i was even more distraught when i found out that silk existed. silk is maybe the most beautiful film that's ever existed. it's what i used to shoot one of my favorite series, huntington. unfortunately, silk was never released in the united states. it's difficult to find and mighty expensive. 

there's a magical quality about silk. i've extolled the virtues of pull-apart film before. i love the unpredictability of it, the temporary-ness of instant film. but silk has something else. it has a deep and dark tonal range and a beyond-beautiful woven texture that makes you want to dive into every frame. 

check. out. that. texture. 

check. out. that. texture. 

i think part of what i like so much about silk is how it makes photos look like photos. that might sound silly, but right now in photography there's a trend towards the hyper-real. photos that look very much like real life, even if they aren't. silk removes that. these photos are not real life, they are physical objects. tangible and fragile. they let you experience what's in the image as a viewer of an image, not as a participant in whatever's going on (sorry guys i've been reading a lot of susan sontag recently). 

so. all that said. i hesitated in taking this film, this most beautiful thing, on a casual adventure with friends. but i'm glad i did. 

i hadn't taken a photo i was really, truly pleased with since i graduated. not a single one. there are photos that i think are nice, that i don't mind. but not one that i'm excited about. i'm happy with these photos. i'm excited about them. it's been a long time since i shot silk and i had forgotten how beautifully the light plays off of the woven fibers. i had also forgotten how comfortable i am with it. how i know exactly how to expose a double-exposure, how wonderful it feels to warm the emulsion next to my skin, pull it apart, and have a beautiful thing that i made. 

i have always been and will always be excited about photography, but this day of shooting reminded me why i love it so much. the spontaneity of it, the beauty of it, and how fucking cool it is. 

and, because it's what i do with the majority of the time, here is a playlist for you. it's for when it's february but it's also 70 degrees and sunny and that's cool and you're happy about it but you also weren't totally ready for winter to be over and you just really miss the snow.

on traveling

i have officially graduated from college. it happened over a month ago, but it's only just now started to feel real. almost immediately after graduation i went on a trip:
san francisco
ann arbor
most of these, places i had never been. i'm from denver and looking to move back there in the next couple months, but other than that it was a month of new experiences. 

i only brought one camera on my trip. i was gone for a long time and doing carry-on only so all i had with me was my fuji instax neo-classic. i used to hate instax. i thought it was a bastardization of instant film. it was small and easy, too automatic for anything real. 

i've grown to love it. 

instax is (relatively) inexpensive, easy to travel with, and convenient. it's the only film i used on my trip and i couldn't be happier with the pictures i took away from it. my favorite pictures were taken at the monarch crest on the continental divide, very near my mountain home of garfield, colorado. i had taken my friends to the crest so they could see it, and see the continental divide. the weekend we were in the mountains was snowy and beautiful. the crest is usually home to one of the best views on all of planet earth, but on this day, it was nothing but white. it was beautiful and i love the images i got out of it. i even submitted a few of them to shows. 

the images feel right, with where i am right now. i'm moving back to denver soon but feeling stuck with my work. i just graduated and feel afloat. i'm working on it, though, and making work through the process.