Here at Film Is Not Dead workshops we had a revelation. Two words: Personal Work. That might not sound like much, but it was born out of two things; 1) Jon is always going on about the benefits of shooting more personal work—both personal & professional benefits—and 2) we are always in these rad different cities/countries & we rarely get to actually photograph them, and neither do the other workshop attendees who more than likely are also visiting whatever city/country we are in. So there was definitely an aha moment where we decided to have a day of “personal shooting” at each workshop for selfish reasons (photographing the city we were in), and for the more obvious reasons… for everyone to really think about one thing they want to photograph, what they want to gain strength in photographing & what moves them besides wedding &/or portrait photography, and spend a day honing in on that while encouraging & inspiring each other.
So! Mexico was the first workshop where this was implemented, and it was R . A . D… rad.
If you read my previous post about the ridiculous hacienda that we stayed at while in Mexico, then you know that there was really no reason to even leave that magical place where horses burp rainbows! However, just one hour from there are two great cities… San Miguel de Allende & Guanajuato. We decided to spend the the last workshop day in San Miguel, a town known the world over for its beautiful architecture & history. I’ve actually had a desire to visit this city since I was about 11 or 12 years old, because one of our dear family friends, Jodie, had escaped to San Miguel almost immediately out of high school, had fallen in love with the city & the people & a certain man named Antonio who spoke of the moon in her eyes that lit up the desert, and she eventually had a son named Dillon. Jodie, throughout my life as a young girl & young adult, was everything I ever wanted to be—adventurous, loving, alive, curious, cultured, and one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met—so to finally visit this city that had made such an imprint on her was hugely anticipated. I wanted all the romanticism of San Miguel de Allende! I wanted the moon to shine in my eyes! And it did not disappoint; although luckily, I didn’t leave with a child named Dillon… or unluckily, I suppose! Upon arriving there, you know why everyone wants to be there. Why every time I mentioned this city to anyone beforehand, they either said its name with exclamation or with a long sigh… It truly is a remarkable city. Wondrous, even.
What I considered to be my “personal work,” stemmed from my love of a few things: people, places, things… and straight lines. Yup. That about sums it up. It’s no secret that I’m a very straight shooter, that I rarely explore anything outside of The Rule of Thirds or even The Golden Mean, and also that I love human element in all of my photos. It’s also not secret, or it shouldn’t be, that I actually suck at landscape photography or environmental photography or whatever you want to call it. So while exploring San Miguel, I wanted to focus on lines, but approaching them in a way completely different than I normally would… and I also wanted to photograph people, but that really didn’t happen because I’m chicken shit. But! I think I’m pretty proud of what I did come up with. I think I ended up with a strong body of images that I can be proud of… maybe 3 or 4 that I really really love, and I think that’s not bad. Obviously it’s been a few months since I took these images, but revisiting them again with such an extended period of time between when I took them & now, really has me appreciating them even more. I love the thought of going to a city that practically everyone in the world wants to go to, and trying my best to photograph it in a way that no one else did. Is it possible? Maybe. We’ll see…
Anyway, here’s to being better. A better photographer when I can be… and a better adventurer when I should be.
[if you’re interested in purchasing prints of my photos from Mexico—& beyond!—you can do so by clicking here]