I was recently deciding on whether or not i wanted to sort of revive this blog. It used to be a once a month or sometimes two times a month blog post. Its been over 3 months since the last time i wrote anything and i then began to read over my past posts and noticed that i sort of technically lied at the end of one of them. Specifically the blog post from Japan. This only recently occurred to me cause i’ve already been exploring and looking for new things to do in Japan when i go back in February. (i’m realizing how much stuff there is to see in japan after all this research) Even though i never completed and uploaded the rest of my Images from my trip to japan.
I've been using the term make a photograph for a little bit now. To most people this sounds a little ridiculous, But it made alot more sense to me lately. Now that i've fully immersed myself into the world of film photography. I've even gone completely film for all of my personal work. I'm still currently working that into my professional work, but Alas sometimes other jobs require a faster turn around time than film will provide.
What if we differentiate a snap shot and photograph first? Where better to start than to break them down individually.
Snapshot - First and foremost is the intent of the image. Typically a snapshot does not have any type of preconception. When i look at certain photographs i've made with say friends at the bowling alley or just hanging out, i take a photo out of reaction. No preparation needs to be done in order to take a snapshot.
Photograph - So much can go into a photograph, Possibly even years before a photograph has even been made. What i mean by this is a photographer goes through years of preparation to make a proper photograph. There are years of practice and understanding of basic technical photography. Then there is studying of what made past photographs so great. Once all of this has been mastered, it becomes easily applicable to make photographs even in an instance.
I'm not talking about selfies like the one i just posted above. I want to go a little deeper than this. This conversation might not even completely relate to me just yet. I say this because I'm not 100% sure i've found myself photographically. I do however think i'm really close and that i have the foresight to see or look for my persona in all of my images. One of the things that separate photographs from person to person is their personal emotion or attachment to the photographs they take. The next step is to showcase that in the photograph. You want people to feel how you felt when they look at your photographs right?
How do you do this you ask? Well i can't really answer that in one sentence considering the fact that i'm still working on doing the same exact thing. I can how ever try and give you some insight on how I'm working on doing this for myself.
Time is a such a crazy concept. How much we chase after it and are prisoners to it. Trying to get to work on time. Wasting three minutes of your life on a youtube video about cats. Spending a year away from home doing a book photography project. I did actually miss the exact date for this to be sort of a follow up anniversary blog, but there in lies the point for how i started this blog. Time sometimes just runs away from us.
Time is a such a scary concept to me. If you're ever around me you'll see or notice how nonchalant i am as a person and how patience i can be. I've always been this way for certain things. Like if you've ever had the opportunity to ride with me in my car. I don't switch lanes like crazy. I stay in my lane. I love the cruise. I love the slow pace of enjoying the drive.
Awhile back i wrote a blog about being in ruts and how sometimes you just need to photograph to get through it or how sometimes the creativity comes from the process of doing. Well it is the winter time. This is usually the time i feel the most uncreative. It's like there is something about the constant dark and gloomy days that sucks all the energy out of me. It could just be the cold that i hate venturing out in? Whatever it maybe it sucks and i hate it. Well of course i can't not take my own advice right? So what i decided to do was work on a zine.
In all honesty, I have wanted to start a zine for a few months now. I actually came across the idea naturally from looking at some old and recent work. Which on a side note is a good reason to always go back and look at old work. Sometimes you need fresh eyes on old stuff to realize there is something you missed or kind of brushed off.
Traveling is fun, Traveling is important. Traveling is work. Yes i said it. Its work. In today's world filled with breath taking images of gorgeous land scapes and beautiful beaches we often forget What it took to make that photograph or how far someone walked to get to that spot for a landscape shot. Photography in the past and maybe even to this day are shrugged of as the easy way out for an artist. I say this because there is this assumption of buy a nice camera and click a button. That's it, we've made social media gold. You know what though. This does happen, Alot unfortunately. That is sort of the dilemma with photography being so accessible today. Anyone can get lucky sometimes though, A true testament to a photographers artistry is constantly working to be consistent and create more work.
This is basically how i see or think when I do travel. It's not always just traveling to travel. It's sort of an workaholics mentality really. The last few places i traveled to at the end of 2017 i purposefully set aside time to photograph. I already bring my camera with me everywhere but sometimes you just have to dedicate a full day or two to just explore, learn and try to encapsulate your experience in a image or series of images.
Currently back in another airport on my way back to Vancouver, where I left you last. The memories of Japan are still very fresh in my mind, but that being said I’m still having trouble putting my thoughts together for this blog. Japan isn’t somthing I can even begin to encapsulate in a short blog. I feel like it deserves a 1000 page hard cover book. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to explore and immerse myself in the Japanese culture to attempt such a feat. I’ll do my best to give you my view of how I experienced Japan.
Three weeks of living out of a small suit case sounds daunting doesn’t it? I finnaly officially ended my long term project, although I do have about 2 days to make a few winter photos before I head out again. I’ll be traveling and pretty much living out of a suitcase till I get back to Chicago in January.
My first stop Richmond and Vancouver Canada. I’m actually now sitting at the airport waiting To board my red eye flight to China. There are so many things to talk about during my time here in Canada, where do I start? Well first things first, I was couch surfing in my grandparents condo with my brother and his family occupying the rooms. For anyone that truly knows me, I actually love sleeping on couches even if a bed is available lol. Their condo is actually located in Richmond, about 5-10miles away from downtown Vancouver. Richmond is a very interesting city. It’s litrally almost full blown asia. It’s a nice little hodge podge of Chinese,Filipino, and Thai.
What's the best part about being a trucker? I wanted to get a different perspective to another aspect of the farming industry. Another cog in the grand scheme of farming. How does our produce get from farm to factory and then finally to consumers. Who are the people that make this happen is what i wanted to find out. Good thing all the truck drivers i met are more talkative than i am. I got quite a few varying answers, each person did it for a different reason. One of them for example has been doing this his whole life. He originally hauled equipment and other various produce down the west coast. He said he loved getting to see the country by driving around. Now that he's a little bit older and settled down, He's moved to more local hauling practices. He hauls fruit during the harvest season and also hauls cattle and hay. This gave him the option of still driving 8+ hours a day, but is afforded the luxury of going home and sleeping in his own bed at the end of the night.
One of the things i struggled with the most during my time here in the orchards was asking for a portrait. I never planned on doing any real portraits or asking for photos. I envisioned a completely photojournalistic feel to the work i created, but because I'm me and i love pushing myself i made it happen as best as i could.
I started off making a lot of excuses for myself. It's not the right time, The lighting condition isn't ideal, The location isn't very interesting or even told myself that they were too busy and i didn't want to bother them. You know what they say about excuses right? They're like assholes, everyones got one. WELLLLL, I had more than one apparently.
Today's blog is brought to you by no one. No one at all. I don't have any sponsors for this blog. I don't even know how many people follow this blog. I actually do because squarespace has built in analytics, but i dont really look at them that often. Occasionally i'll take a peak and then cry for an hour. No but seriously. I've learned something i feel to be very valuable to me lately. I'm sure you know the saying "stop and smell the flowers" right? Well if you're that one person that has never heard of this saying. It basically means to take the time to enjoy the little things. This isn't something i was always accustomed to. I used to be very rambunctious even as a kid. I always had too much energy, I'd stay out late either biking or skating around with friends. I hated wasting the day or wasting time.
Time is relative right? I really can't even begin to visualize that it's been over 7 months going on 8. I know the first few blogs seemed like everything is going just fine and I'm out here having the time of my life. I know there were alot of people who thought "oh he's just out there taking pictures, He's got it easy". Well to end all conversation about that. It wasn't easy. Despite what you may or may not think. This is work. Just because i love doing it so much that it didn't seem like work to me does not make it a hobby or vacation. This is my artistic vision and passion project that i poured my heart and soul into. All i can hope for now that its almost done, is that it's complete. That I am satisfied with the outcome. I am doing this for myself after all.
I say hoping that it's complete is because I've always had this feeling with anything i've done, Whether it be a wedding, event, or commercial work. I will always carry that feeling of doubt, doubt that i did everything i could have done, Doubt that i didn't miss something. You'd think overtime that feeling would go away. I would somehow grow so accustomed to being content with my work that i would lose all doubts. It's not quite true. Call it the artist mentality if you will. I on the other hand like to think of it as "Always wanting to better myself".
I wish i could say i started film Ten, twenty, or thirty years ago, but its not completely true. Well I suppose you could say that i was born and grew up before the digital age hit. I do remember having tons of disposable cameras as a youth. I brought them everywhere with me, especially on family vacations. I do remember my parents having a polaroid SX-70 at home and i got to use it maybe a handful of times. Other than that, i dont remember my parents on any of my family that carried an SLR or something of that sort. It was primarily point and shoot cameras. That was the extent of my film experience. Fast forward to 2014, What does someone that is completely clueless about film and film cameras do when he wants to try out film? Buy a hasselblad 501c of course. (Yes i jumped in to the higher end film cameras first dont judge me) I did do some research online so i can't say i jumped into it completely blind. I found a person on Craigslist with a great deal on one with about 30 rolls of 120 film, deals were made and i walked out of the coffee shop as a hasselblad medium format owner. (which i still own today)
Dont take the title of this blog literally. It's still quite the opposite of a slow down in terms of work being done. We just finished out early picking of honey crisps called color picking. We're basically only choosing the apples on the tree that have the right amount red coloring on them. This is something the consumer market dictates as higher grade apples even though the taste isn't significantly different from the apples with a little less red coloring on them. So off we went and set up for picking. We had a bunch of white reflectors called extenday out in the rows of trees to encourage coloring from the ground up that had to be tucked away and rolled out again once we were done picking certain fruits.
Let me first of apologize for the late blog post. I really tried to get one in before mid week. That was a lie. I completely forgot about writing one to be honest. I've been a little preoccupied with working with some new gear and workflow. I had to recent additions to my photography. One is in the form of a Leica M6. I traded one of my last fuji cameras for it and have been shooting with it pretty much non stop since it arrived. I have about 12 rolls so far that are undeveloped. The other is a new Epson v850. I used to have a Pakon scanner which was an amazing device. Unfortunately it only scanned 35mm. So i sold that and picked up an epson for a really good price on eBay! Down side to the epson is it's a little bit slower at scanning and a little more involved, but thats okay since i can scan medium format, 4x5, and even 8x10 if i own a large format camera.
The following images are not taken on film just FYI. Although i've been shooting film i haven't sent them out to be developed yet. I've sort of considered developing all this myself but then decided not to since I'm not here permanently. Until i start developing at home i'll stick to sending my film into my favorite place Indiefilmlab. Once i get them back i'll use my nifty new scanner and the next follow up blog will hopefully be full of film images that have been scanned and digitized. Yes i get that its contradictory to shoot film and then scan for online viewing. It defeats the purpose right? Well It's really the easiest way to share those images and help me create prints on my inkjet at home. Anyways i'm going back to scanning and try to master the software since it is pretty cumbersome.
Today harvest started. I can't remember if i ever experience harvest here at the orchards, but if i did i was too young to pay attention to the work thats done. I was out in the orchard at about 6:30am and it was pretty damn chilly outside. I thought that i was right on time but all the employee were already out picking like mad men. I kind of wish this was an exaggeration but it actually wasn't. Harvest is a pretty big deal to these guys. This is the one time that they actually benefit even more from working even faster. Each employee is paid an extra amount per bin they fill so you can imagine how enticing that is to put some pep in your step.
I recently realized we're nearing the end of summer. Fall is on the horizon. When fall starts to hit, Harvest is usually in tow. I've recently started to organize the amount of photos i have taken over the last 4 and half months. I've only been able to go through about a quarter of it because there is ALOT of content. I didn't really think about doing this on a daily basis which would have made this a little less tedious, but what are you gonna do right? Since we are currently finishing up our last minute pruning and spraying of the trees, I decided to write up a small reflective blog post about the last 4 months and go through a little photographic recap.
If you're anything like me, You'll see and watch that red ball that crosses your path and immediately forget what you were doing or saying. I do that same thing with color photographs. Every time i go through my own images whether I'm shooting digital or film, if a color is distracting my eyes from my original subject i'll go to black and white. Black and white photography is the epitome of classic photography for me personally. It was the only type of photography available when the medium was first invented so naturally it portrays and nostalgic feel to it. Thats not why I'm here though. I'm not going to go through the whole argument of why black and white is better or color is better. I wanted to go through one of the main reasons i go choose color or go black and white.
I think I'm currently about half way through this project now. I started this off with the end goal of making a book. That goal hasn't changed. It's still what i ultimately want for it. For anyone that has been following my blog and progress, I originally stated that I'm more of an organic photographer. I did not have a precise map of how to reach my end goal when i started. As soon as i arrived in Washington, I literally started photographing everything that interested me. Once i got to sorting through some of the photographs that i took, I started focusing on photos of how the orchard is run internally. This was probably the easiest route to take, especially since i had 24 hour access to my grandparents who ultimately make all the calls.
Its now a little over 3 months since i started my project. I'm amazed at how fast this has all gone by and to be quite honest i've taken it very easily. I mean this in the sense of how i photograph. I've never been one to use burst mode in the hopes that something sticks. I like to take my time and be consistent. Which brings me to the point of this blog post. There was something i was very aware of before undertaking a project like this and really never figured out a way to go about it. barriers are never an easy thing to deal with, whether it be language or emotional. Anytime someone has tried to talk to me in another language, I usually just give them a few head nods and walk away. When i first started doing street photography work and encountering strangers is when i realized that a camera or a moment shared can break any barrier.