With this July came the culmination of a long-standing goal for me. I attended the Chicago edition of Film Is Not Dead, an intensive, three-day workshop all about (you guessed it!) shooting film. When I first started hearing rave reviews about the workshop a year ago, I worried that I’d be crazy to sign up—that, as an amateur shooter, I’d be outclassed by the other participants, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that I’d embarrass myself by tripping over my own feet (figuratively—or perhaps literally, as I’m often wont to do). But I was hungry to learn more about the art I’d become fascinated by, intent on investing in myself, and frankly, disappointed by the myriad other photography classes I’d been taking. So I got over the churning feeling in my stomach, and I signed up.
Spoiler alert: I’m so happy I did. Over the course of three days, my brain was stuffed full of information about film stocks, camera types, exposure, posing subjects, and the practice of meaningful personal work. The participants that greeted me that first day were egoless, and though their collective talent and experience absolutely lit up the room, they accepted everyone from the most rank beginner to the most seasoned pro into their fold. At the start of each day together, we’d collapse on the living room sectional of our rented townhouse, coffee in hand, listen with rapt attention to the day’s lecture, and then run out into the blazing afternoon heat to put our lessons into practice.
What follows here is a collection of images taken over the course of those three days. Jonathan, Catherine and Albert: thank you for imparting your peerless knowledge and systematically putting together the most instructive photography course I’ve had the pleasure of taking. Barry, Chris, Eric, John, Jonah, Tai, Abbie, Annie, Becky, Kate, Melissa, and Naomi: thank you for working alongside me as equals, for inspiring me with your creativity, for being part of an amazingly nerdy community, and for continuing to share your wisdom long after our work in Chicago was done—this was clearly the beginning of something cool for all of us.
Camera: Mamiya 645AF
Film: Kodak Ektar 100, Tri-X 400, and Portra 800, 400 and 160