I was gifted a new old camera recently, and as I’ve often found with new old cameras, the prospect of shooting a test roll has brought with it a sense of freedom and a desire to document the people around me at this moment.
I’m not even entirely sure the camera works, which just lifts any pressure and leaves me free to point it at anything I want.
And so despite the fact that Summer has delayed her arrival and I’m still having a very hard time keeping track of covid stats, I want to extend that freedom to you, and suggest that you also take advantage of this time to document the little things and the important people around you.
The weirdness of these days deserve to be marked, and it might be more important than ever to look for and capture small moments of joy and connection. It’s always worth documenting your life at home, and family photoshoots are nice! No need to put any pressure on yourself,
It’s a whole letting go thing.
Grab a Camera (any camera)
If the best camera is the one you have on you, that goes double for family photography. Phones are great and will always do in a pinch, but I think this is also the perfect time to really embrace the slower pace of things (I’m clearly biased toward film photography, but you knew that going in). There’s a good chance someone in your family has an old film camera lying around you can commandeer, and if they don’t Craigslist surely does. A few years ago I bought half a dozen $5-$10 point-and-shoot film cameras so guests could help document our anniversary party. It was super user-friendly and the results were so good.
Try Some Film
West Coast photographers know you always need to be prepared for grey, dark days, even in summer (hello, June-uary. And May-vember??), so I recommend always having a few rolls of 400-speed film on hand, like Superia 400, Ultramax 400 or Portra 400. And if you want to shoot black and white (you do. So classy.) Delta 400, HP5 or Tri-X are all beauties.
Look for the Light
There have been a bunch of posts going around lately encouraging photographers to look for the light in our own homes, and you can do the same thing. Even before you pick up the camera, take a little time when you can to see where the light falls at different times of day.
Cowichan Photo Ideas (or Get Outside!)
So this poor excuse for spring weather is getting me down, and maybe also getting you down, but I am taking some inspiration from my toddler neighbours on this front. This morning they shouted hello to me from their stoop, informed me enthusiastically that it was raining, and proceeded to get decked out in muddy buddies, rain hats and boots with fire trucks on them. They were stoked.
Which is to say, while you obviously don’t want to destroy your camera in the deluge, most can handle a little rain, and you shouldn’t let less than stellar weather stop you. Clouds are just giant diffusers, softening light and making colours pop. And we live in the rainforest, and it’s beautiful and we love it, so let’s embrace it. Document in all seasons!
Take More Photos, Print More Photos
It’s possible that the only thing I talk about more than film is printing your photos. Few things bring back a memory like a picture you can hold in your hand, and while it may seems strange now, you’ll be glad in a year or five or twenty that you created these little physical memories.
The point is not to be perfect (the point is never to be perfect). It’s just to recognize that this is life, too, and these moments deserve to be documented, and you’ll look back on them with the same mixed bag of emotions that come with re-living any era of your life. You’ll never regret taking more photos of your people.
Go forth and document!