Category Film Is Not Dead

Language of Summer | From the Archives

Summer time stretches out in front of us with waves and wishes. Backyard, air conditioning , picnics, weddings, sun screen, beaches, camping, and adventure all become part of our summer time vernacular. The following words are from a few summers past, but they still hold true this time of year. Enjoy.Summer, you are leaving me… almost gone, but I am not done tasting you yet.

I know you are going, because the evenings are more watermelon juice drips then perspiration. I can feel it in the morning air as I stir awake, you smell different this time of year, not so sticky, yet sweet.

I can see it in the gentle way you hold the velvet brown mountain silhouette. The soft, sky touch that can only be yours.

The dark comes earlier, the blue mix with peaches that hang heavy  in the tree, ripe and ready and in the blushing of the leaves in the strong sycamore that shushes in the exhale.

I still have a few things left for you, summer. Summer don’t fall too quickly away…

Keep chasing the light my friends, Vanessa Simpson

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This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses collaborative blog, and part of a new series I am calling, From the Archives. Source: Language of Summer | Mortal Muses

A Look Back, A Look Forward | From The Archives

This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses blog, and part of a new series of posts I am calling, “From the Archives”. 

Source: A look back, a look forward | Mortal Muses

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I have been talking film with some local photographers over the past week or two, not just on line, but across the room. We were talking about the magic of developing your own roll of film and photo. We were talking about the intoxicating smell of fixer, the way you used to have to burn and dodge and fix dust spots. We tried to explain to a fellow photographer what it’s like when you first see the image emerge under the red glow of the darkroom light. We laughed about how it didn’t really matter how bad that first photograph was, you had made it- from the rolling of the film into the canister all the way to the drying racks. These conversations got me thinking about the giant box of photographs, contact sheets, 8x10s and negatives that have been sitting in the garage for the past year. So I did what anyone would do at that point, I lugged the giant, over sized Tupperware box out and started digging around. It is so interesting to see how far I have come, but also to see the hints and trends in the way I shoot now and have always shot my images.

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I might not have been hitting the shutter with a very good understanding of aperture, shutter speed and lenses, but what I did know was how certain films developed (colors and tones, contrast and richness). I also could “see” how light played and made shadows and pretty sunsets, but I wasn’t (and am still not always) sure how to use those attributes to my best advantage. As I sifted through things searching for my images from when I was in Madrid, Spain and then London, Dublin and Scotland- I pulled out two envelops from a college field trip. The class was pretty tight, we would spend one hour a week together doing ‘labs’ and then 4 hours every Friday out in the field. We collected and then memorized the Latin and common names of various plants (by the way, mormonus teaus is NOT the Latin name for the Mormon Tea plant, no matter what some prankster had jokingly renamed it in the study hall and you had naively memorized and put down on a test as an answer…) That semester we learned about the bio-geography of the region. The final trip, when I took these images, we all drove from Reno, NV to the Alabama Hills and Yosemite, CA. I remember a great game of dominoes around the campfire with my classmates, saving dinner from the flames of an overly zealous fire maker, I remember having no clue how to set up my tent and one hell of an awesome professor leading the adventure.

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But I don’t really remember taking any of these photos. Let’s face it, this weekend trip was 16 years ago. I am trying to remember what film camera I had at the time. I know it was one of my two Pentax, and I have absolutely no clue what film (probably kodak 200, if I had to guess since that was quick and easy to pick up at the grocery store). Most of these are simply snapshots, but I think that is what I like about them (now). There was no flickr, there was no instagram. I had the photo department at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a handful of dear family friends who were photographers to inspire me and teach me. I remember getting these images back from the lab and being a little bit bummed. It was so much more beautiful in real life (isn’t it usually when it comes to places like Yosemite and Alabama Hills?)  I hadn’t even come close to nailing the shots like I had hoped. I am not sure what I expected, but at the time, these results weren’t it.

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Today, I look at these and I see something different then what I saw then. I see moments in time. I see people who I haven’t talked since this class ended and have forgotten their names.  I see a group of college kids taking in their surroundings, each in their own unique way. I see the fascinating way in which people space themselves with one another and the world around them. I see body language and silent, frozen conversations taking place. Tiny still frames burned into the light sensitive film and in those moments, time was stopped.

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Those things alone (and maybe the way the light hits the rocks in the late afternoon), make me realize that I had the photo (and the film shooting) bug all those years ago. I might not have known what I know now about the craft, but the seeds were planted deep down in the soil of my creative garden. These moments are what have helped them grow from a dream into a reality. We all have to start somewhere. As  I dug through the past stored neatly in a big plastic bin, I was able to see one of those beginning steps of becoming a lover of film and a photographer.

Happy Film Friday.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Film Friday- Vito | From the Archives

Have I told you about Vito? He is quite the looker. A little old fashioned, but dapper. Oh, and his voice. That Swedish accent is something, I tell you. I found him one day by chance. I asked the gal behind the thrift store counter, “Do you have any cameras”? She looked at me funny and told me they had some old ones, but I wouldn’t want them…. I disagreed and asked her to see them, please.  It was one of the best blind dates I have ever had. I instantly fell in love with his leather jacket and chrome details.I was scared to take him out that first time. I hadn’t shot with a range finder before, unless you count a disposable camera. But Vito has more control and sophistication then those types, (mind you I love the disposables, but…). Holding him was exciting, yet, intimidating. In that, “first time” sorta way. I had to guess his sweet spot, isn’t that the way it always goes? I was literally fumbling around guessing how to make him work. It’s going to take some practice, but I think I liked this boy and his sassy ways.I decided that taking him out during Hot August Nights was a good choice. Classic, yet updated in the best possible way. The event is held in Reno, NV each summer, and I am missing summer right now… The streets of our city are filled with shiny and vintage cars of all kinds. This was right up Vito’s alley. I think it was a perfect first date for old Vito, aka Voigtlander Prontor-lux, and I. Don’t you?

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

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This post was originally written and photographed by for the Mortal Mused blog and is part of a new series I’m calling, From the Archives. Source: Film Friday- Vito | Mortal Muses

Five on Five – April

And, here we are again. All the way into May, which means I get to share with you my favorite shots from April.
I have continued the daily practice of shooting an instax a day. There is something so satisfying and challenging about working with this film camera. I have really started to understand the settings, how the lens and film react in various situations and how to push it just a little bit further to get what I am after. There have definitely been days/weeks where I am beyond thrilled with the results, and then others where I am frustrated and disappointed in the images. Pushing myself, being okay with failing- it’s the practice – and i am so glad I jumped into the new year with this challenge.
The iPhone is always there as well. Handy and quick. I can snap those every day moments of the kids, of my food, of the city. Capturing childhood and the moments between my babies together and apart, it keeps me sane. It fills me up. I love having a visual document of  our adventures as well as our slow days around the house.
Don’t forget, when you are done rolling through my images for April to click on through to Small Roots to see what Adriana’s April looked like!

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Sister houses
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burger and a shake
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Dinner and drinks
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Fifi and the walrus
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food not lawns

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Five on Five – February 2017

On the fifth day of each month, I get together with a group of talented female photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month. It’s a blog circle! Make sure to follow the link and head over to Adriana’s blog when you are done seeing what February was like over here.I did two really fun sessions last month. One was a family session with an adorable family. We traveled out to the summer camp where they met as camp counselors. It was really fun to have them take me around camp and photograph them with there little dude. I love when clients pick locations with such special meaning.The other session I did is for a new blog article I am writing for Experience Tacoma. The article is called, Take Five. This is such a fun chance for me to get to know more people and places in the community and a great excuse to pull out my camera.I had the great honor of sitting for the amazing Catherine Just and her “Breathing Camera” (that’s what I call this 4×5 beauty). Catherine has been traveling all over the world for her Capturing Breath on Film project, if you have a chance to participate it is an incredible experience. One I am still processing and watching unfold in my own life. It is part portrait session, part prayer, part magic. And finally, a little film photography of my own… I have been continuing on with my 365 Rectangles project, I love this black and white shot I took of my husband and his birthday cake.

Keep chasing that light my friends!

Vanessa

Five on Five – Januarys 2017

On the fifth day of each month, I get together with a group of talented female photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month.
It’s a blog circle!
Make sure to follow the link and head over to Adriana’s blog when you are done here.

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January was a roller coaster. But there have been a few constants in my every day that I not only am loving, but looking to as a way to keep my mind at ease. One has nothing to do with photography. I have been getting up every morning and practicing yoga or meditating for 10-30 minutes. I found an app called Cody and it’s been a game changer – I should stop right there and say I have no affiliation with this app, other than it has been a key in helping me solidify a daily practice. Something that has eluded me ever since I stepped on  my mat 12 years ago. The other constant has everything to do with photography. I decided to take on a 365 this year (again) but this year I would use my Fuji Instax-mini 90 to do the job. A challenge, a test in patience and in failing so I can learn and strengthen my composition skills and better understand the limits of this little camera. I thought I would share five of my favorite images so far from this series. If you want to see the whole body of work so far, and follow along as it unfolds, check out @365_rectangles on Instagram.


Playing with lower light. I love that this looks like a double exposure and that you can see the transition from being serious to silly.
The world is your playground. Taken during a day out exploring down town Tacoma with friends. 
Date night. Our friend Nick pulls beers at a favorite haunt. 
Morning on the Foss Waterway. Sometimes, I am late to work because it’s just too pretty outside to go indoors. This was one of those mornings. 
Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma. This is next door to my favorite Pho spot. I have loved this signage since the first time I drove along this street (and oh how I wish this place was still open so I could drop off my rolls of film!)

 

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Parking Lot Polaroids

It’s fall Polaroid week and I didn’t have time to scan in any of my little rectangle gems to share throughout the week before hand.

But, yesterday morning I made a snuck off while I had my coffee (at the cost of totally getting behind on the morning routine and schedule, oops) and ran these shots through the scanner.  I couldn’t pass up posting this series that I started with the kids last weekend.

Plus, it’s Friday, and Friday is for Film…
FocusInPhotography - Parking Lot PoalaroidLast weekend we found ourselves in Santa Rosa, California for a wedding. We had the morning to burn as we waited for the mini van full of cousins to arrive from Reno.

We also needed something stronger than the hotel coffee as well as fresh air. So, we took a walk to the nearest Starbucks for goodies and then wandered on to a great playground and park to let the kids run!FocusInPhotography - Parking Lot PoalaroidOn the way we noticed there were several buildings and various colored garage doors. I decided to have the kids stop at each one we spotted (and that looked different from the last) and snapped a photo.While I attempted to direct these two little squirrels of mine (stand here. no more in the middle. wait, over here) I realized that they were too hopped up on their morning bun and chocolate milk for me to actually get them to listen. To be honest, I think they are better this way – The Simpson Traveling Circus in all it’s goofy, wacky, wound up glory. Love me a good photo series, I can’t wait to keep going with this one!

Happy Polaroid week and Film Friday!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

July’s Five on Five

I’ve missed a few months… wow, has it really been since April? I left Facebook rather abruptly a few months ago (I can not take all the political nonsense and the general NOISE over there anymore), and didn’t really think about how I would be leaving behind the thread of reminders for this monthly post as well. My sweet photo tribe reached out and asked if I still wanted to play, and that they would even send me a text message reminder to join in the fun. I really can’t say enough about the humans I have found out here on the internet. Yes, I am over some of the social media chaos, but man, I have made some amazing friendships over the years via this screen and keyboard. Thank you ladies, for understanding and keeping me in the loop of it all!

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I thought I might play a little catch up for the months I have missed AND do it all with my favorite instant photos that i shot using my new Instax Mini camera.

May’s favorite, taken on Mother’s Day. I asked for a ferry ride and a visit to Vashon Island for the day. It was such a nice way to explore. I share a few more of these instant images over on the ViewFinders.

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And June- a date with my girl, Cara. Mojitos and window light. 20160709-summer16003-2-2

Now, on to July!! This moment at the Frostee with all the cousins over the Fourth of July weekend.

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And finally, one more from my growing pile of instant images – this building that was across the way from the hotel we stayed at in San Diego. I couldn’t get enough of the patterns and that YELLOW!20160709-summer16003-2-4

Here’s to an awesome month! Now head to Smallroots and have a look at what she’s been up to.