B&W Film

IMG_7217

Film is so beautiful and nostalgic.

I picked up a small love for film about four year ago. I’d been sitting in Econ lecture, scrolling through artists and photographers when I stumbled upon a photographer.

IMG_6821

IMG_7214

A year after gathering a small appreciation (obsession) for film, I took a black and white film class.We took pictures in black and white and processed them in the darkroom, shot with borrowed Canon cameras.

I photographed strangers, artwork, puppies, toys, store fronts….so on and so forth. It was then that I realized: there is so much whimsicalness in the world. So much strangeness and beauty! The panda head human: a stranger. The toy train: more strangers. I began to shift my perception, seeing my surroundings in blacks and whites, hues and gradients, shadows and bright spots.

1IMG_7269

In the dark room, we removed the film from the tube in a room devoid of light. With washes and chemicals and timers, we processed the small rolls of copper-colored film until they were ready to hang and dry.

Then we brought the dried film into the darkroom, where we each had our own space to magnify the film images, invert them, and light-print onto a piece of light-sensitive paper. Afterwards, we doused the paper film in another long process of chemicals and washes before the sheet was finally ready to dry.

IMG_6777

Processing film by hand was tedious, but fun.

I found an old film camera (a Canon snappy LX) about a year ago while cleaning out the house, and ordered some Superia film in. I’ve been slowly, slowly photographing with it. I have….six rolls of film to shoot.

1IMG_7268

When I look at other’s images taken on Canon Snappy’s online, they look like the photographs my parents used to take decades ago, when film was all they had.

Advertisements

Let It Snow

IMG_8504

IMG_8533

My fingers are pink and numb, my nose tulipy red: I’ve just come back from prancing around in the snow, making snow angels, kicking up powdery light snowdust. Our boots sunk three inches deep. Light mound of snow layered the field, coated every surface, nook and crevice like frosting (Ah, Frosty!)

The snow was too fine for snowmen or snowballs, so we resorted to dragging our boots through the snow, windmilling bodies into snow angels, tossing handfuls of snow. “Snow, please,” I’d say, since I’d forgotten to wear mittens. Then a sprinkle-shower of snow would scatter over our heads.

IMG_8516

IMG_8498

IMG_8547

Empire State of Mind

new york city skyline landscape photography

Photographed this about three years ago. I miss New York and all its lights; I’ve been itching to visit for the past year or so.  In my general consumption of rom-com movies–always based in NYC (of course) and around Christmas (yes), Christmas lights, in particular, have become somewhat of a myth.

So I’m going back soon–for the sixth time!–this time to see the Christmas lights!

The Time Junot Diaz Talked At Me

junot diaz 2.jpgTwo years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning Junot Diaz stood in front of a packed auditorium and read to us a passage from his book, This is How You Lose Her. It’s the story where Yunior cheats on his girlfriend, Alma, who has a “long tender horse neck” and grew up in Hoboken, “part of the Latino community that got its heart burned out in the eighties”.

Diaz read slowly. Enunciated. And we were captivated.

Except I didn’t know who he was. Someone in the news room just said he was famous. I didn’t put two and two together to realize that this Junot Diaz was the Junot Diaz, author of Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. So the significance of seeing–being read to by–Junot Diaz in the flesh did not occur to me as I pointed my massive camera towards him. Click. He said something to me about him not doing anything particularly cool. So why was I pointing the camera all up in his face? (Hey, I’m just here with the newspaper) Looking back, though, he talked at me. 

junot diaz.jpg

Diaz talked about collective student insecurity. And fragmented activism, and what to do about it. He talked about a whole slew of things that I jotted down in Notes even though I wasn’t even the one writing an article about him.

I googled him later and then it hit me–he’d written the Cheater’s Guide to Love, the one I read in the New Yorker summer of 2013. The first time I read the story I awoke drenched in sweat and read it again and again. Some of the metaphors I repeated over and over, tucked into my mind, then toyed with for years afterwards.

I write this as I finish reading This is How You Lose Her for the sixth (or seventh) time.