Katy in the Studio

Katy in the Studio

Finally! Tonight I scanned in the negatives from the first roll of film I shot with the Nikon SLR I got from my father in law. I learned a few important lessons:

  1. Natural light is highly preferable (this isn't news, I know)

  2. The camera can be trusted in auto mode

  3. The camera cannot be trusted in manual mode (something is off with the metering)

  4. Stick to autofocus

  5. Photographing Katy is satisfying

  6. Skylights are fun for film photography

  7. Scanning in negatives and editing them takes a billion hours

  8. Film photography is a totally different beast than digital

Of course the FIRST shots I took when I put the film in the camera was of Tonks. She's beautiful always.

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I like this next one - kind of moody. Depending on Tonks' position, I could have possibly made a more interesting composition, but this is just an average day here, people.

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Autofocus fail! The exposure on this next one isn't so bad, if not for the focus problem - I can't recall if this was in manual or auto mode - and the photo turned out surprisingly well for being indoors in the evening.

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Another autofocus fail, but the light falling on Sarah is cool! It looks like a necklace.

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These next shots are all of our friend, Katy, in the printmaking studio, Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. I am really excited about these photos, unfortunately not because they're perfect, but because I want to go and try these shots again! I love photographing people while they work, and Katy is a primo subject. Not only is her work beautiful, her chosen colors bright and vivid, but spending time with her is an absolute joy.

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Printmaking is such a cool art form. It takes patience, skill, and vision that are different from other art forms. I don't know the exact stats are surrounding the piece she's working on here, but this is an uncommonly large print. She carved her design out of the wood planks (over the span of weeks) and then spent even more time in the process of printing. The final print on this specific project is four layers of color, the result of which takes hours and hours to produce.

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It's been years since I have printed anything (and never of this size), but what I remember of the process is that it is both tedious and satisfying work. I can't speak for Katy, but I think there must be something comforting in the mechanical process of mixing and applying ink, sending your print through the press, scrutinizing the paper as you peel it off the wood, and repeating the whole process again. It's just you and the ink, you and the paper.

I guess, in the case of the afternoon we spent with Katy, it's you and the ink and the paper AND your friends. :)

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If you'd like to see what the prints look like that came off this wood block, take a look here! It's the big green and yellow and brown waving floral design.

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I haven't shot photos with film since I was 15, and even then it was one of those fully automatic Kodak point and shoot cameras. Hardly any skill involved in that. And I definitely never dealt with the negatives! In high school I chose to take all the painting classes and never took a single photography class. Oh, if I could change things now! I guess I wouldn't take any less of the painting classes, but I would definitely have done anything to get into a photo class. They had a dark room! And all kinds of cameras! And I could have messed up and it wouldn't have mattered! Ah, the things you never knew you had when you were young.

Film photography is so different than digital photography. Every shot counts. The photographs feel more cinematic to me - more handcrafted and less perfect.

The verdict is, I love film. And there will be plenty more experiments to come.

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