FILM, FRIENDS AND TRAVEL
As a child, I truly believed there was some horrible conspiracy that the awful teachers had cooked up, somehow ensuring the hour lunch break had been sped up, whilst making the one during math and science classes much, much longer. It’s seems, however, that as you get older, this speeding up of time gobbles up all of your life indiscriminately, so that with just the slightest distraction, March becomes October.
The good news is, both Chris and I have loads of stuff to write about. Japan, was honestly, one of the best trips I have ever taken. It’s rare to have a friend where you don’t have to work at all on the relationship, but where even after long stretches of not seeing one another in person, can naturally slip back into a easy going, banter filled camaraderie that made the experience both extremely fun travel wise and so enjoyable to just indulge deeply in our favorite hobby of ours, photography.
It’s also the most photos I have ever taken on a trip, not having my much better half pulling me along, but with someone who wants to shoot just a few more at each location. It really makes the images add up!
I also shot a lot of film this trip, the first for me traveling with the XPAN panoramic camera. And I have to say, many of my favorite images have come from this camera.
So much so, that since then, I have purchased two more film cameras. One when we were in Japan, the medium format Fuji GA645. This camera really means a lot to me, as it was one that remained a real favorite of my Dad’s. (Discussed HERE) He really regretted selling it, so I was very excited to find a mint one whilst in Tokyo.
The second was a birthday present, and a bit of a self congratulatory gift for a big work promotion between my wonderful, understanding wife and I; a Leica MP. I had been eyeing off film Leica’s for some time, and was going to go ahead with a M6, but not finding the model I was looking for on a recent trip through Europe, I decided to take a look at a new one here in LA.
The camera is just beautiful, and it’s a big step towards a decision that I am on the tipping point of making, and that’s ditching digital and going almost fully film. I say almost, as I will never sell my Dad’s Leica Q, and I can see myself selling my digital M and purchasing a M10 Monochrome when released (Leica’s black and white only digital M camera).
But the more I shoot film, especially color film, I am finding that I really love the look and feeling it infuses into the images over digital. There is a real warmth and nostalgia to the images. Much like the lenses I have selected to photograph with, help me to capture the world layered with mood and style that is deliberately not one that’s a transparent recording of what I have seen, but my own vision and feeling within a moment.
It’s an interesting topic, feeling and art. It’s something I think a lot about being in both an artistic profession as an Animator on Hollywood produced feature films, and in my hobby of photography. I have been reading a lot more books and blogs about trying to say more with both parts of these creatives sides to my life. Initially you spend a lot of time learning the principals and rules of the craft (stuff I won’t own up to mastering yet in my own work), but at some point you get relatively proficient at the technical aspects of creating the work and realize that for a while, initially, that was enough to inspire your passion make things move in animation, or capture images though photography.
Soon, however you need more, and that more is, for me at least, looking to capture not just the light in a scene, or the believable mechanics of Kung Fu fighting Panda, but to really inject ideas, stories, life, and feelings into your creations. To Say Something.
Ironically, I have found in both animation and photography, the very thing that helps me try to discover that personal voice (and I am in no means of saying I have successfully done so, or ever will), is the process and technical aspects themselves. Which is why that even though I started this post with the adults secretly stealing time from lunch breaks, its the things that take more time, that for me are more considered and handcrafted like film, can help inspire me to find ways to add that personal feeling to what I make.
With this being said, I have been experiencing with a lot of new (to me) films, looking to discover what helps speak to me stylistically, which interestingly, is not always the same for each location. I have also invested in a new scanner, so I am looking forward to writing more about film, my developing process (which is all done at home), and how I scan my images.
Trip wise, after Japan my wife and I spent the long 4th of July weekend driving up the coast of California along the amazingly beautiful Highway 1 coastal road through Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz and finally to San Francisco.
I also took my Mom to Europe, were we visited parts of Germany, including the amazing Neuschertwien Castle, and then onto Austria through Sulzburg, Hallstatt and Vienna, and finished the trip off with a few days in London.
I have developed over 30 rolls of film in the last few weeks and have another eight left to go (although his will go up again over the weekend!) and have lots more to write about, review and look forward to discussing further on Photo Basecamp.