23 June 2008

on being challenged

You may have noticed (unless you've been living under a rock) that I've gotten more focused on photography these last few months. I've really enjoyed this new project of mine, working with this old film camera. I have so much less control than I do with the digital camera. The first reason for this being that I don't really know how to use this old film camera. I'm slowly figuring it out, but I'm always expecting more than a couple overexposed/blurry/nonexistent prints each time I pick up my developed film.

I've been working on being a bit more focused and intentional when taking film photos because there's a sense of preciousness that just doesn't exist for me (or for most people, I think) with digital. And with polaroid, well, that's just the essence of precious in my opinion. In any case, when I first heard of The Photo Trade, organized by the amazing Jen of Nectar & Light, I was intrigued. I missed the sign up a few times and finally made it in time for the June trade: Into the Light.

It's been really helpful and fun to have a specific challenge for my photography, this theme to focus on. I spent some time really thinking about what I wanted my photograph to be and taking different versions. I had, of course, assumed that I would use my digital camera for this project. Mostly because I felt it gave me more control and I would be more likely to produce a photo I really wanted to use. However, as I've mentioned here, that ended up being impossible after that fateful slip on a wet hiking trail. So I was left with film. I shot photo after photo as the deadline approached and I was really worried that nothing good would come back from that roll of film.

I was quite thrilled to have four photos come back that I was really happy with. Even though the trade only requires one photo, it became immediately clear that I had two very fitting diptychs on my hands. I hemmed and hawed for a few days about which one I liked better and ultimately chose the outdoor shots. Like I said, it was really fun to have this challenge. After doing my photo a day project in April, I realized that it really is quite helpful to have a goal or specific project or theme when taking photos. At least for me, at this point in my photography, it provides a focal point that I really appreciate. I've learned a lot from these projects, from other bloggers and fellow flickrers. To be more thoughtful about my photographs, and about everything that I create.


  1. hi julia.

    these four are really nice. i love having a project or challenge. you are right. it really helps give me some focus. xox

  2. I loved this challenge too. This was the third challenge I participated in and each has made me stretch both in creativity and skill. So pleased to read how much you enjoyed it.


  3. you're right! your photographs are always so nice. xo

  4. p.s. have you ever thought of purchasing a morel mushroom kit? I see one here in the seed catalogue I'm looking through.

  5. Sometimes I send more than one with my photo trade... I've only missed one (the fairy tale one). It depends on what the topic is and how well it goes! :)