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Hassie Love I // Seattle Film Photographer

Only some people will read this and understand, but I hope that everyone “gets it.”

I have always loved film… I am a self-proclaimed “filmie,” even though Michael swears I made up that word. I learned on film when I was about 11 (?), I worked with film in high fashion-low production, low fashion-high production, in toy cameras, handmade cameras, old cameras, new cameras, always manual cameras, in low light, too much light, in 35mm, and in 120mm. I feel like I’ve kind of been around the block when it comes to film; it is one of my strongest characteristics in my career (and in my life… let’s be honest here), and if film truly was more than just a proverbial block, I would go around that block until my footprints made tracks in the cement. That’s how much I love film.

SO! If you love film, then the be all and end all of being a film portrait photographer is to shoot with a medium format camera. Not shoot, but own, a medium format camera. Hello, because I have shot with such cameras hundreds of times in my life. And then, it could be argued, that the be all and end all of medium format cameras is the much desired Hasselblad. It is safe to say that I’ve wanted a Hasselblad since I was 17 years old. However, I was always so happy with my first love Minolta, and then with my sweet & faithful powerhouse Pentax… I don’t want them to feel left out because, well, those two cameras have been an extension of my life and of my hands and have helped build me into the woman that I am today. no joke. But I always yearned for the crispness and perfection of a 120 camera. But then, alas, digital came along. And I kicked and screamed and bore the brunt of people’s jokes with my “darling” & “quaint” film cameras, until finally I begrudgingly switched to digital. And I must say, that I do appreciate digital. I appreciate it. I don’t Love it.

As time went on, I felt this yearning, this deep longing… like, they say we humans are biophilic; well, let me coin a new term here: I am creanphilic (yes, I made that up), which is to say that my being desires creativity. And film for me is that medium, the means with which I can satisfy my desire for creativity.

Serendipitously, I shot a wedding with one love photo, and took two frames—count them, yes TWO—with her Hasselblad, and knew that I would never again be able to rationalize myself away from having one of my own. So, less than a week later, without being able to contain my yearning any longer, I walked into Camera Techs, walked out, walked back in, and then walked out again with a Hasselblad 500c/m in hand (I paid for it, FYI).

I know that this is an extremely long blog, and if you are still reading this, then kudos to you for not giving up on me, all ye good & faithful!

On the day that I picked up my camera, I likened it to my wedding day, which Michael found fairly offensive, until in return he likened it to if he were to finally buy his beloved 23-window VW bus. I walked out of there with butterflies creating so much chaos in my stomach that I was on the verge of nausea… I walked all the way home with a smile so big that my local Ballardites were most likely thinking about calling the EMT’s on me. I shot my first rolls of film on that camera without a meter, but painstakingly & joyously analyzing each shot before I released the trigger for that endearing & unique *clunk* of the shutter. And when I sent off my first rolls of film, I felt the same sadness & happiness that one might feel when sending their firstborn off to Kindergarten; and when they arrived on my doorstep this morning, it was as if they were safely home from school with nothing but good stories to tell…

I love my Hasselblad. I bring it with me to places that my 5dMii never gets to see, and I look into the viewfinder lovingly and see things that I never before imagined were right in front of me. I am a reborn creanphiliac, even if that word was just invented (by me, duh), and I hope to never again lose sight of the creativity that is inside of me, even if it just takes a simple piece of film & a certain chemical reaction to realize.

And now… working on… my 500c/m tattoo.

Michael - I have goosebumps!!!

Abbey Hepner - Catherine-
I love that I have found someone who shares my complete adoration for film! It will always have such a magical place in my life and I am insanely jealous of your hasselblad! How I miss shooting with it! I know you will continue to make some amazing images with it! :)

katie - okay, so i didnt read the whole thing but i skimmed it. when i was maybe 10 or 11 my dad pulled out his first camera. He is by no means a professional but taught me how to focus, set the speed and pay attention to lighting and bought me tons of film. one of my best memories!

jennifer Tai - So you’re the “Hasselblad body 500c/m UT18xxxx that’s marked “SOLD”. I am jealous :) See you Monday and bring the new baby!

Happy Birthday to you, CALIMA! | Seattle Film Photographer » CALIMA Portraits - […] 1995: First job as a printer & photographer in training at Expressly Portraits in the mall. Hence my affinity towards portrait work. I worked there for five years, off & on, even when I was living in NYC. It was hellish, but it was a priceless way to learn, I tell ya. 1996: Moved to New York City and interned for several photographers (most notably Gregory Heisler), and then got a real job working for Thornton Studio doing grunt work as a photographer. I mean grunt work. Like you will never ever know… I was a mere 17 years old, told most of my co-workers & all of my clients that I was 25 (per my employer—Uncle Ed’s—request)… I was a photographer, a printer, an “equipment manager” for all of the other photographers. When I wasn’t working in the City, weeks of working 100+ hours, sometimes days from 5am until 1am, I was working all over the states working as a traveling portrait photographer for them. It was absolutely insane and I absolutely loved it. 2004: Started building my portfolio with my own work, with plans of having a strong enough portfolio to show, and to eventually start my own photography business. I cannot stress this enough to the people who send me their work for critique, or to people who want advice as newbie photographers. I didn’t want my work critiqued until I knew it was strong enough to show, and I certainly didn’t want it critiqued by an unhappy client. I shot family & friends only, and never charged anyone, but was not actually working… just building a portfolio. 2006: Opened CALIMA Portraits. eeeeee! And for those of you who want to know what CALIMA is… it was the pen name I always signed my work with when I was a child; a budding artist, if you will. CAtherineLIwaywayMAnalo And yes, I just told you my middle name. Which will never leave this room, promise me. 2009: Fully switched to digital with my Canon 5DMii and a plethora of expensive lenses. oy vey. 2010: Switched back to film. Not fully… but still. You know my story. […]

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