It’s funny how an experience that was once terrifying is now liberating.
In 2009, I made an investment in a photography workshop that, truthfully, changed my business. It altered my vision. Maybe I already had the spark in me and the workshop simply ignited it, but it was a really special experience. At the time, the decision to go the workshop was a difficult one. Of course, I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure it would be a worthwhile investment as a new business owner who had mile long lists of things to be purchased and upgraded and obtained.
But for reasons I can no longer recall, I decided to go. To just say yes. The workshop was hosted by one of the leaders in the photography industry, Jose Villa. At the workshop (which took place in Italy), Jose surprised the attendees with a day trip to Florence to explore and take photos. The catch was that we could only bring one camera and one lens. Though I always travel utilizing this method for personal trips now, when Jose first presented this challenge, it was terrifying. Terrifying. It was the terrifying experience I was referring to in the opening line of this blog post. As a digital photographer, I was used to the capricious feeling of having an almost limitless ability to fire off hundreds or thousands of photos on a whim. I had an arsenal of lenses and equipment, and wasn’t always intentional with my photography, knowing that if I messed up a shot, I could simply retake it. Or fire off dozens of shots of the same subject at various angles. However, I decided to embrace the challenge, and instead of playing if safe and bringing my easy and comfortable digital camera, I brought a small film camera that I received at the workshop. A camera I had never used or operated to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments for my day in Florence. Not to mention, I only had three rolls of film (36 images in total!) at my disposal. But I took a chance. And fell in love with film. I think I subconsciously knew before the workshop that I wanted to shoot film, but the workshop sealed the deal. As soon as I got home, I started purchasing gear, and slowly started introducing film into my client work. Interestingly, as I became more intentional with my artistry and composition through shooting film, I saw a drastic change in my digital work too.
Now I shoot primarily film, and I love it because it helps me to slow down and enjoy the process. Instead of shooting 10 shots and deleting 9, I just take one amazing shot. It’s simple. I’m all about slowing down and simplifying (in all areas of my life and business), so film seems fitting. I love the beautiful, effortless feel. I love the colors. I love the latitude. Each artist has their own preferences and film just speaks to me. To me, everything looks prettier on film.
This blog post isn’t an endorsement for film. It’s not an argument for film vs. digital. It’s not an endorsement for attending Jose’s workshop, or attending workshops in general (though I do endorse attending Jose’s workshop, for the record!). It’s just about taking a chance, finding your passion. Having fun and enjoying the process. Here are a few of those precious 36 images I captured in Florence that day: