after i moved from austin, a bit of something shifted in me. i’m still not sure yet how to put words to it. all i know is that i left the fast paced city life for a month-long-bump-in-the-road and then the crossroads that brought me to the western maine foothills, the place i now call home.
through all that transition i tried holding tightly to photography because i could (perhaps) feel it slipping from me. to be honest, before i made my way west to camp shutter sisters i felt like a fraud. i am a shutter sister and yet i was struggling with how to define myself in my photography. i flew down to austin for a weekend in october just before heading to camp. it was there that i spent a (very much needed) few days with my best friends. and it was then that i allowed myself the confessional: i was seeking a slowing down with photography.
let me try to explain.
austin was so fast paced. so familiar. so comfortable.
the digital images flew out of my nikon at full speed.
here, at home, there are no red lights. (literally) we walk slowly over the creek through the woods to the bus stop. we say good morning to the chickens and wave to family along the way. we live off grid in a yurt powered by the sun. 20 acres surround us and provide peace of mind and calm of heart.
life slowed down
to the most perfect pace.
(and for that i am forever grateful.)
what i began seeking with my photography was more intention. more thought put into each image. using my hands and my eyes simultaneously to create art not just snap shots. i made these confessions with hands cupped, wanting my images to feel more sacred. i didn’t quite know the words yet to express what it was i was looking for.
in the evenings after the kids are in bed, we spend time in the “little yurt”, the art studio. it’s there with the woodstove crackling that dreams are shared. we listen and feel heard, we nod in agreement with thoughts and wishes.
winter came and santa arrived with a sleigh full of goodies for the boys. my sweetheart, artfarmer, went outside in the cold and came in carrying something wrapped in black… on a tripod… with bellows. the shape of it drew familiarity and i simply could not believe he would have made such a kind gesture.
a 250 year old large format camera. a real beauty that stands proudly in wood and brass. there are no markings, no engravings, no story to tell other than it spent its life here in new england, mostly in the coastal town of portland, maine.
be still my heart.
as we get our darkroom set up, we dream some more, and take baby steps towards something so entirely exhilerating. the thought of diving into the tin type process makes my heart race. in that most excited oh-my-god-i-can’t-believe-i-get-to-do-this sort of way. (that’s when you know you’re on the right path, with anything, when you make your heart race just thinking about it)
on this particular morning we set up our iphones on tripods and took turns sitting and shooting. under the black drape, viewing the inverted image, fiddling with the bellows to focus the portrait, we were able to capture a bit of the spirit of tin type by shooting a long exposure of the image on ground glass.
intention? most definitely.
sacred? in a hold your breath sort of way.
(and not just because i love the subject or the fact that he is wearing pigtails)
so here’s to a beautiful love affair.
and a slowing down
for the love of photography.