Since these photographs were taken this Autumn, Meikel and I have become friends. The soul-bearing kind. We take photos together now and I so appreciate her. She believes in a better part of me and I admire her a whole lot.
These photographs were taken in her home that, at the time, she shared with her little family along with her mother and grandmother. Meikel and Luke know how to listen and care. “Hey, do you want a rootbeer?” from him and “How does that make you feel?” from her. They have a familial waltz worked out that is so smooth. They’ve been together for 100 years, or since middle school. She describes their “going out” as founded on the idea that their mutual friends thought they would be perfect for each other because they were- tall. Ah- the superficiality of height wasn’t a bad place to start. Meikel lights up when she talks about Luke and he’s so gentle with her. Encouraging and loving.
Two weeks after Meikel delivered their latest little man she had me over to her home. The door was open and the reality of their life was evidenced everywhere. I am so terrible at blogging and I feel so limited in just showing the photos I took. I hope this hints at the afternoon we shared following their oldest son around and adoring their youngest.
A few weeks ago Meikel, David and I were Saturday shooting and thought it would be brilliant to make our way our to Utah’s frozen lake. It was freezing and we were completely underprepared. Leggings and rubber boots on ice? Inadequate. But it mirrored the reality of how I feel about this new adventure. Aperture? What? Automatic focus- how? These concepts I had easily with my DSLR are now like bowling in mittens. Dudes, thats the best metaphor you’ve ever heard. This post aims to be heavy-handed.
A typical Saturday is filled with Meikel and I feeling unsure, then hopeful, rejoicing, regretting, calculating and then planning more. Ideas get rolling. Work begets work. you know, shooting film turns everything on it’s head. I’m on my head, teaching photo mentoring on Monday and getting face blasted with how much I don’t know on Saturday. Simply put- I can’t see where I am. But you know what? Even with a digital screen giving me progress reports throughout a shoot I don’t see where I’m at because more often that not I work too damned fast. I barely look down. Barely there. Suspended. Worried. Working through insecurities. I had been slowing down before film but film is a gentle invitation, well, it’s really not all that gentle. It’s more like a $2 per frame reminder to WAKE UP! Be here. Look closer. Shooting film makes me a better photographer. Yeah I know, I can hear all the film shooters saying, “No kidding.”
So back to the story of our adventure. Holly, our willing subject, braved the cold with us and just as we were finishing our frigid time together the back of my camera came off. Flop. Film on the snow. Not really. It was my expectations that were in the snow. The film hung there in it’s case taunting me- “All that hard work for nothing!” So I did what anyone would do I finished the roll and then threw it in my bag where a HUGE hide-a-key magnet was awaiting it. I don’t know that the magnet did any more harm than exposing the roll in the snow but- it was a kick while I was down. Whatever. Move on. So I did. The best thing about THIS stage of shooting personal work on film is this- I get to be the heir of crazy interesting mistakes. DADA. Fortunate misfortune.
I’m only shooting film as a supplement to my professional work at this point. I’m testing this medium out and I’m not committed to anyone but myself. This is personal work you know? Our #filmsaturday volunteer gets something(s) beautiful. And in the client world I so often live in where 200 beautiful family portraits begs the client question, “Where are the others?” I just feel really good with a few working out. Cause that’s how things are. Film says “Be yourself. Because your choices have consequences, most of which you can’t control and life is expensive both financially and emotionally but it is worth it.”
For more on my adventures with film read: A New Process