Europe on Film!
I recently spent two weeks bouncing around from Dublin, Ireland to various towns in Italy, to Paris, France. The trip was quite a whirlwind! If you followed on my instagram, it seemed we were in a new city or country every day - lots of movement!
On smaller trips, for example Boston last fall, I've resolved to leave my fancy digital camera at home and to get back to my creative roots by shooting exclusively film. I don't have a particularly noteworthy film camera either, just an ae-1 I bought off a buddy on my way to India a few years ago. The funny thing is, this camera (or maybe just film in general) has taken some of my favorite portraits of all time. Even when I've also taken my 5DMK11 on a trip, it turns out about 80% of my favorite images are from the dented ae-1 I insist on carrying around. You can look through my missions gallery and see if you can guess how many in the gallery are on film!
Anyway, so gearing up for Europe, I started to remember a promise I'd made to myself for this 2014 year. I promised myself I would make photography my own again. In becoming a professional wedding photographer about five years ago, I started to make photography business instead of play. Shooting with clients in mind is a happy service and a total joy, but if you're not careful it can disconnect you from your own artistic outlet. So, I vowed this year to make photography my own again, but how? My answer was film. To challenge myself technically and artistically by shooting only film. Film would be for personal projects and Digital would be for clients and work related projects. My hope in drawing that line in the sand was that I would begin to remember what it was like to just play with photography, to create for the sake of creating.
Leaving my work camera at home, and feeling super confident about this decision, I packed up some rolls of Fuji Portra 160 and set off for Europe. Quickly upon setting wheels down in Ireland, a small quiet panic started to set in. What if my film gets ruined by the X-rays at the various airports (something that happened to me in Haiti...)? What if I don't expose them right and can't check them until I develop them but then its too late? What if without my fancy camera, I suck? You can see the downward spiral that ensued...
I asked my travel friends to hold me accountable to keep shooting, no matter the insecurity party that was threatening to rise up. So I kept shooting! And it was fun. Sure, I had no idea how the film was turning out, what I was really capturing, etc. Film is like shooting blind, you can't check your results and correct them if needed! Instead, you have to listen to yourself and your knowledge and you go for the shot you want, and you let go of the need to control the outcome. YIKES. But.. strangely exhilarating.
So what started as a process to fall back in love with photography and make it my own art medium again, became more of a process of letting go, freeing myself up and listening to my heart. Three things I don't feel entirely comfortable with. So not only was it photography practice, but wonderful life practice as well.
All that to say, when you see these images, know that they were born out of a quiet process of letting go and listening more. The product of seeking out artistic vision and self confidence. Found in the stripping away of security and the naked leftovers of an uncertain voice. Shaking off that outer shell and becoming human. You know, all that fun sentimental stuff. : )
So I present to you the result of a paradoxical challenge to capture the world around me with an open hand.