Vegas: I'm Going All In (or, The Earls on Film)
I went to Vegas last month for a photography workshop with an amazing teacher, Yan Palmer. Yan shoots families, connections, love - and she does it on film. I was so excited for the opportunity to learn from her and to see another film photographer do her thing. No surprise, I loved the women I met at the workshop. Everyone was open, vulnerable, and seeking their own answers. We spent the day talking about business, art, integrity and love. Yan also arranged a family session for us, so we could see how she works and practice some things ourselves. No surprise, I brought my film camera and captured some images.
But the highlight of the day came at the end, when we all had to open up and share WHY we shoot what we do. For me, the answer was readily apparent - and if you've followed me for any time or read this, then you probably know what I'm going to say. For me, the WHY I shoot what I do is because of my mom. Because she was the best one ever and because she is not here anymore. Because it is important to me - deep in my bones - that you have proper photographs with your kids. You need them not for now, but for 20 years from now. Having lost my mom almost 14 years ago gives me the ability to see into the future on this particular topic. I recently went through two big boxes of family photos looking for ones of just me and my mom from when I was little. I found three. THREE. So when I tell you that you need these types of images for your family's history, please know it comes from a personal experience of not having enough of them for myself.
So how does this workshop experience, my obsession with film, this search for photos with just my mom... how does all of this come full circle for me? I'm not sure how to really put it into words. It's the process of creating photographs and how I am inspired to shoot. It's that film is tangible, just like our relationships with each other. It's that my mom is gone but those negatives from my childhood are still here. It's that families are imperfect and those imperfections give us character. It's that film is grainy and has flaws, just like we do. It has depth and contrast. It's that photographing what's important to me - moms and kids, families connecting - just makes more sense to me on film. They just fit together perfectly.
With all that, I think it's time to hold myself accountable and say, I'M GOING ALL IN. That from here on out, I want to shoot my client sessions on film. I don't like to say never, so I won't say that I'll never shoot digital again - digital is great and that would be silly. But over the last year and a half, my love for film has grown at a pace that digital can't keep up with. And I don't want it to stop.
Thank you so much for indulging me in this. Thank you for each time you take a minute of your day to visit my blog or Facebook page and take a look at my work. It means more to me than I can even say. And thanks to Yan for helping me bring all of this together and giving each of us at the workshop a framework from which to move in the direction we need to go. Maybe film really will set me free...
*Thank you to the incredibly talented Becky Earl and her beautiful family for being our models at the workshop (below). Portra 800 dev/scan at the FIND Lab and Tri-X 400 dev/scan by me, at home.