B&W Film

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Medley | Photo Diary

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Right now I’m perusing the Internet for places to develop color film. Last year, I ordered four rolls of film; that, along with my two disposable cameras, meant I had six rolls to shoot through. I have barely gotten through one. Film is expensive; I am cheap. In comparison to digital, film is pricey–each shot must be worth it. It’s time-consuming, too, sending the rolls to the lab and waiting weeks for it to arrive, if ever. (I lost a roll last year, alas) But while I peer over digital images, I value my film ones. I hang them on the wall. I milk them, post by post. I have loved film for years, and yet I have been so stingy with it.

Photography and I have had a rocky relationship the past few years. Long story short, I’ve always loved photography, dreamt of being a paid photographer, became a paid photographer, stopped liking photography. It felt corny. People would always bring up photography in conversations, ask about photography–photography, photography, photography. It felt cheap. But now I miss it. Well, not the paid part. I miss wanting to take photos, and feeling compelled to do so. I wish I’d taken more photos when I was in DC, New York, Philly, but I was on that strange photo-taker’s block. Now I’m in a still city and aching to take more pictures. Maybe I’ll just start with film–I’ll carry my film cameras around.

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I’m really happy to be working towards this particular career path in Psychology. It’s do-able. It feels right. As much as I love creative pursuits, I’m not willing to eke out a paltry living for the rest of my life. And while I enjoyed aspects of Communication–interviewing, writing and transcribing in Journalism were rather useful skills–I was continually led towards a primary, unwavering interest: Psychology.

Now, in the interim, I’m teaching, working with a Professor who studies literacy and development, and getting to better understand this field within Psych (For any or all Psych nerds, it’s IO). I’m eyeing the Master’s; I never thought I’d pursue graduate school. But the more I learn about IO, the more crucial it seems to know. Ah! It is useful; it is fascinating; it is lucrative; it is meaningful.

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IMG_7820A hodgepodge of more unrelated thoughts:

  • Bojack Horseman’s rolled out a Season 5–tissues are at the ready.
  • Identity V remains alluring, as usual.
  • I’d like something to celebrate, just so I can drink more Bailey’s with the boyfriend.
  • My student gave me pumpkin tea the other day, and ever since, I’ve been hooked.
  • Boyfriend and I stumbled upon an artsy street the other day, which housed indie shops and rooftop restaurants and a Trader Joe’s.

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One of the things that initially drew me to blogging 10 years ago was old-school style blogging, like web-logging, like jotting down journal chunks of your day-today. The online web-log, shortened to a blog. But I turned from Tumblr to WordPress, which I set up like a small artsy hub of creative expression. From time to time, though, I simply want to revert back to the old-school blog style, where my entries cover the mundane, the intangible, the thought-y, the daily. I’ll try it. Again. And again. It’s been a long time since I have written.

Cold Rooms and Indie Tunes

Phoenix is playing and the air is cold and dry. Song shift. Liztomania. The kid in front of me is bouncing in his seat. Cotton cobwebs are strung from wall to wall, plastic blood stains stuck on the television. This room is one of the few that sunlight finds its way into.

It’s strange how perspective can change about seemingly meaningless things, like rooms. Shifting perspectives about rooms. A person moves in, moves out, moves in. Adjusts. Readjusts. Homes relived in, over and over and over. A history. A capsule. This room once looked different, felt different, was different. It’s only a container.

I’m trying to remember what my initial impression of the room was, but I can’t remember. Clutching for memories at the tip of my recall. They’re not. Just a bluish fog of associations instead, angry political posters, Big Brother on the wall.

Urban

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Overhead and through the speakers, Kanye’s insisting that “diamonds are forever.”

Hair hat-flattened and fingers pink, I wonder why I’m alone at night in the city in a part I’ve never been to.

I’ve just missed my bus and it’s cold so I wait in Urban Outfitters. When I step outside, the streets glitter and swell with din. “Fuck you,” some girl’s voice rings as she passes by me. She’s on the phone. Her lips are neon pink.

In going into the city, I’d anticipated a brief respite. But I always feel as though I’m running or floating when I’m here, my feet hovering three inches above the ground.

To Love and To Be Loved

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I’ve slipped back into life as it’s been: seeing friends, talking to my boyfriend, spending time con la familia. I hear about relationships fragmenting and forming. It’s strange how relationships, by default, are in flux. I imagine that friends in the mid-to-outer circle are changing–not so much for closer relationships. But I guess that’s an illusion.

Life is too short to not spend it with the people you love, I murmured. Did you just read an Instagram caption? my boyfriend asked. I huffed. I said that it was a midnight musing–not an Instagram caption. But it’s true. To me, at least. From reading children’s books to books about death and illness and meaning and regret, I gather that this abstraction–love!–that poets wax on about and singers warble on about and writers scribble on about is what matters most. It isn’t money or material items or career or achievements or resumé markers or positions or charm. It’s the simple, deceptively simple! equation of existence: to love and to be loved.

Sensory Clash: Washington, D.C

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The streets of D.C are wider, quieter, flatter, cleaner. D.C isn’t as frantic as New York. Or as gritty as Philly. Or as schizophrenic as Austin. There’s something immaculate about D.C., instead, something steely and modern and calm.

From up here, I watch the slow scenes of the city unfold. Cars whizz by, colorful legos beneath our legs. Human beans cross the crosswalks, Beatles-style, almost in slo-mo. Lotion pink berries bloom in angry succession.

It’s my third time in Washington D.C. I welcome the sensory familiarities.

There’s a distinct vibe to the D.C metro, clash of smells and sights and sounds. Smell of metros, musk. Row of escalators, steep. Metro-card, bendy and flappy. Gripped tightly in my palm, lest I accidentally drop it–it’s our way out, this card.

We’re encircled by large beige arches. I’m constantly reminded: we are in a giant tunnel.

The subway’s clean. Stops are quick. There’s a sign above a girl’s head that indicates where we are, and the announcer’s clean voice projects from the speakers, and she’s telling us we’re at this stop, that stop. It’s not our stop, and then it is, and we hop off the subway, back into the station, where we scan our Metro cards on the way out.

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We exit Union Station. It’s a high-end train station, fancy airport-style. It’s got spiral staircases leading up to shops and restaurants and balcony areas on the second floor. Statues and pillars greet us from the entrance. Out and back, in and through, and we’ve hopped onto the train again, and we’re hailing home.