one kid, one roll, on film :: may

All images shot on Kodak Portra 160 on a Pentax 645n.

All images shot on Kodak Portra 160 on a Pentax 645n.

I sometimes have to remind myself that I've only been going at this film business for about six months now. I want to be further along. I want to have mad skills and to know things about myself as a film shooter. What's my go-to camera? What's my go-to film? Truth is, I'm still learning all this stuff. Still working on figuring things out. A lot of experimenting going on.

Experiments mean frustrations. I've had a frustrating few months shooting film. Lots of missed focus (old eyes or struggling camera?) and lots of wonky exposure. Just when I think I'd "get" something, I'd get a batch of film scans back to prove that no, Lauren, you're not there yet. And doing some of the hard and necessary work I needed to do to really learn the fundamentals of understanding film meant some of my joy in the process took a back seat.

I sometimes forget not to try to do everything at once.

Through it all, I just keep shooting. Trying new things. Like a new-to-me camera that's giving me some dreamy images (when I can focus the damn thing), and a new-to-me film that will hopefully replace a film that I've decided definitely does NOT work for me. Ah-ha! One decision made.

Shortly after we headed out to the beach to take these photos (Lord, after this winter I was ready for some beach shots, and this kid is always happier to have a glove in his hand), we had move-up night at school. Upper school at Cal's school starts in 10th grade, so we were hearing about how things will change in the shift from middle to upper school. We heard all the things a parent wants to hear, but one thing really struck me. After all the talk of the things that matter most, communicate, be responsible, blah, blah, blah, the upper school head said this: take some risks. Don't be a guided missile, she said. Don't think you have it all already figured out. Of course she's not talking about all the risks that parents dread. She's talking about spreading your wings. Join a club you wouldn't expect to. Take a class you think you might not love. Take another that's outside your comfort zone. Now is the time.

This seems like such smart advice. Not just for my kid, but for me too. Cal is always willing to try new things; it's one of the things I'm proudest of him for. And seriously, this whole film business is a *new thing* for me. Why shouldn't I continue to take risks? I think the key needs to be maybe one risk at a time. Not seven or eight all at once. Overwhelmed Lauren is not happy Lauren. Oh, and as usual. Leave these photos alone for awhile, and what I once hated, I fall in love with.

I continue to adore this project. For the way it pushes me and pushes us, me and Cal, to work together. If you keep going around the circle, you see some more amazing photographers and amazing families, starting with Amy Bethune. I LOVE her stuff.

under the sea (on film)

Holy flu, batman. Like, seriously. Last Thursday, I was strolling along the oceanfront with my Composition Class, slightly raspy, and by Thursday evening, halfway through an email I started feeling chills. Within the hour, email still unsent, I was in bed with a 103º fever.

Let's not do that again shall we? On Mother's Day, I dragged myself to lunch no matter how bad I felt (and you would too for chicken and waffles with red velvet waffles with maple cream) but halfway through, Neel developed a fever. We're so glad Cal is driving now! We could barely make it home. That's just how we roll around here.

But let's talk of better things, shall we? Not my ongoing raspy cough, or how much my chest hurts or how I've taken to using my kid's inhaler. How about we talk about clear blue skies. Wide, white sand. And the clear green waters of the sea? Oh, and my underwater camera.


She squeals gleefully. We spend so much time in and around the water here that I have long wanted an underwater camera, or at least an underwater housing for my digital camera. Uh, have you seen how pricey those things are? I mean, I know we could GoPro it, but that just didn't appeal. Fits Cal's demo more than mine maybe.

And then I saw this article. And then I frantically/excitedly/gleefully started asking around. And then enter the Nikonos. Designed as a diving camera in the 1960s, and built like a tank, this guy can go fully underwater or shoot some sweet pictures on top of the waves. If I tell you it felt a little weird to walk into the Gulf of Mexico carrying my camera, will you believe me?

But oh, such sweet images. And on my first try! This little guy is a trick to master, so I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time together this summer. Toes in the sand.

All images shot on a Nikonos V with Fuji Superia 400.