I had a tough time deciding on the title of this post. Because my attempt to put a label on an incredible experience proved futile. Last month I headed down to beautiful Charleston, SC for an exclusive retreat for women wedding photographers called Bliss & Bokeh. I saw snipets of this retreat last year and it looked incredible. Oh, and it was hosted in one of my favorite cities, Charleston. So when registration opened up just after Christmas in 2013, I knew instantly that I had to be there. I gave a ring to one of my dear & talented friends Sarah Kossuch and within minutes we were both registered to go. I’ve known Sarah for a few years now, and we share many of the same thoughts about big dreams and staying ambitious in an ever changing industry. And I honestly can’t imagine having this experience without her. We spent 5 days together learning, laughing & sharing with some of the most inspiring women in the industry including KT Merry, Elisa Bricker & Lara Casey and Jacin Fitzgerald just to name a few.
We had three styled shoots during our time in Charleston, and let me say they.were.amazing. I wish I could share all of my shots with you, but two of the shoots are up for publication and they’re top secret until that happens. I’ll run another full post with all three shoots as well as full credits for the incredible team of people that made this one of the most memorable experiences of my career.
The reason why this retreat appealed to me was because it was focused on film photography. Film you ask? Like Video? Like films in Hollywood? No. Film. Like good old fashioned rolls of Kodak that you unwrap from a little foil pouch and load manually into your camera. The kind that you have to actually get developed at a lab or at home and you don’t get to see until it’s returned to you in the form of a scan, print or negative. Oh, thaaaat kind of film. Yes, that kind of film. Now let me preface by saying that I am an old lady. And that when I first picked up a camera and took my first few photography classes back in 19xx (haha nice try) it was before many of you were born and digital photography was a good 10 years out. And no, I don’t claim to have invented film photography or be the first to ever shoot film, but it is definitely making a strong comeback in the portrait & wedding world.
After shooting 100’s of weddings for the past 7 years, I’m itching to grow. Grow more as an artist, grow more as a person. I like to be challenged and I have to admit that when you shoot with the fanciest of fancy gear things can get pretty easy and lead to feeling satisfied & complacent. Which is a nice place to be for many, but for me I’m ready to step outside of my comfort zone. Film for me is exactly that. And I knew it would be. And I’m smitten with that. But what I didn’t expect when I shot my first roll of film on a Contax 645 Medium Format Camera was the simplicity that followed. Simplicity. What a beautiful word, and an even better feeling. It was even one of my words in a little blog post from earlier this year. In this crazy world, I welcome simplicity with open arms.
It’s really hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. Film is honest. Film is pure. Film is about trusting your instincts and trusting your voice. Film is about light. Film is … real.
No I’m not looking to conquer the wedding world and become the cat’s meow of film photographers. Yes, I entertain the thought of adding it to my wedding portfolio but for now it’s for me. My heart needs this. My heart is yearning for simplifying many things in my life and as you know, photography is a part of what defines who I am. So if shooting film is a way to show the world a little bit more of who I am, then so be it. I can’t think of a better way to show you my heart.
A big thanks to Sarah for forcing me to get in front of her camera for a few head shots. And yes, I tuned the camera on her too. Love you sister xoxo