It has been so difficult to make a living being a photographer, especially shooting film. In fact, it’s been harder than I ever could have imagined. Even as I type these words the future is unknown due to some personal struggles and financial stressors I’ve been experiencing lately. I never doubt my passion or my drive – my grit…but sometimes I doubt that I can MAKE it happen when so many variables attack my hopes of success.
Does it sound like I’m giving up? Well don’t worry, I’m not. Because getting photos like THESE back from my amazing lab (PhotoVision) remind me that I’m a growing artist and THAT can never be taken away from me. Let me tell you a little bit about this amazing and inspiring little family I had the joy to photograph recently.
Mamiya 645AF | 80mm F/2.8 Lens | Kodak Portra 400 Film | Scans by PhotoVision
Emily and Aaron of Hunting Ground Films are a creative duo crafting films for weddings and small business branding. They recently moved to Portland on a leap of faith that they could pursue a creative career and at the same time simplify their life (they sold everything to do so!). Since then, they’ve been successfully making beautiful films for weddings and businesses and Emily will soon be taking her talent all the way to England! They graciously allowed me to take these photos of them, entirely on film, on a bright and golden morning near the Columbia River Gorge. Their daughter Cedar toddled around in the sunlight playing with ferns and giggling at her parent’s “kissy” faces – and didn’t seem to mind my camera at all.
It goes to show you that you CAN do beautiful things with your life if you work hard and keep going when it gets tough. The question of “success” may hang in the balance…but what is success anyway? I unfortunately tend to view success in dollar signs and a full inbox of inquiries. And while I do need to eat and pay rent, I’m learning that success can be as simple and making beautiful art…and sharing it with others.
This was my first 100% film shoot for a family session, which was risky! You have to be very patient while testing light and composing shots while using film, because every frame counts (literally, it’s expensive to develop and scan!). I’ve been afraid to shoot much film with families because kids tend to move so quickly, making manual focus difficult. Film also naturally has a softer look entirely and this can quickly turn into blur if you don’t zero in on your subject very carefully. However, Cedar was the perfect subject…moving just enough to keep things interesting but curious enough of my camera to allow me to nail my focus on nearly every frame (focus is consistently my struggle with film and children).
I’m working on being grateful that I get to even take pictures and trust that there is a space for me in this world of small business owners. It’s difficult to be present and not worry too much about the future! However, Emily and Aaron and their big dreams were such a great inspiration to see in action.
Maybe you are struggling to realize a dream and worry it won’t pan out. It may not wind up looking how you thought, but learning to redefine the plan may be just the thing that will keep you in the game. I suppose I’m describing learning to let go…which is a hard thing to do. Here’s hoping it brings wonderful lessons and more opportunities to create.
Models: Emily, Aaron + Cedar of Hunting Ground Films
Assistance / Scouting: Amy of Rosencrown
Location: Rooster Rock State Park