A couple of months ago I received an email from photographer Freda Banks saying she needed causal, natural portraits for her website that show she is artistic in a friendly and approachable manner.
I had never met Freda, I had only seen her beautiful work online, so when she answered the door looking like this…I was immediately very excited and extremely intimidated.
Very excited… because she wanted me to photograph with film, which is my most favorite way to photograph.
Extremely intimidated… because I always assume every photographer is more talented and knowledgeable than I am. So photographing other photographers means having to wrestle my brain into silent submission, at least enough so I can do the job I was hired to do.
Also extremely intimidated… because Freda is stunningly beautiful with an incredible sense of style, which meant I felt this overwhelming pressure to take the most amazing photos of my life, in order to live up to this fun opportunity to play with film and with beauty.
But because Freda really is artistic in a friendly and approachable manner, it didn’t take us long to feel comfortable with each other, allowing me to silence my overactive brain and focus instead on finding good light. We talked and played and talked and played, and before I knew it, three hours had passed, which is a long time to make one person model, so I reluctantly put away my cameras and we said good-bye.
(All of the above photos were taken with medium format film.)
While I do love film, it was a long painful wait for the film scans to return… luckily I had a few digital files to tide me over until the film scans finally returned.
Digital photography is a wonderful tool and I am so grateful to have it, but when given the opportunity to shoot with film… it is really hard for me to put down the film cameras and pick up the digital ones again.
I just love the sensory experience of photographing with film cameras. I love the sound of the shutter and the crisp, yet ethereal way the world looks through film lenses.
But film is slow, it is expensive and it can be unpredictable. You don’t always know what the results will be like and you have to wait a long time to find out… which for me translates to: exciting and risky (like the hard-to-get, tall cute guy, with big glasses and mismatched socks, who I married.)
Digital is fast, it is inexpensive (if you don’t factor in your editing time and you don’t upgrade your equipment every 9 months) and you know immediately if you got the photo or not… which for me translates to: boring and predictable.
But the advantage of shooting both digital and film is that I get to show a direct comparison between the two and you can decide for yourself which you prefer.
Below are examples of similar photos taken in both digital and film, with no retouching and very minimal color alterations on the digital files…
I admit, it’s a really close call… but film still wins my heart. What do you think?
…but we should have been looking for shoes and a jacket, before we impulsively went looking for love…
Because it wasn’t until we were halfway to the coast that we realized we didn’t have either of those necessary clothing items for Harper on that rainy Northern California Sunday in March.
Luckily his daddy has strong shoulders and his mommy had extra layers to improvise with…
But in the end, our lack of preparedness didn’t matter one bit because, as usual, it all came off anyway…
And I swear, that boy has never run so fast or laughed so hard as he did while scampering half naked through the forest on that muddy trail…
…so I don’t think he suffered one bit… and our mission was accomplished.
For the last three years, or more, I have been talking about moving my photography to the “next level.” Well, I had my first “next level” photo shoot on Monday of this week: a product shoot for a well known company.
At first I thought it must be a mistake, maybe they had the wrong Paige Green, but the company assured me they wanted to hire me because they like how natural and realistic my work is.
But sadly the photo shoot I did for them on Monday was as far from natural and realistic as you could possibly imagine… I had no idea how many phone calls, emails, texts, lights, photo stands, sand bags, retakes, late nights, early mornings and photoshop layers were required for commercial product photography.
But it was a good experience and if I’m asked, I’ll definitely do it again because I like to step out of my comfort zone and learn new skills… and the money is hard to turn down. But I may never share those photos… because they aren’t my photos. They aren’t real and they aren’t natural.
Today, however, I photographed real and natural and it only required a handful of texts, two people (Kelly and me) and a couple of hours editing to make it happen.
The contrast between Monday’s photo shoot and Friday’s photo shoot made me realize that this level is pretty darn special and I am lucky to be right where I am.
To learn more about Kelly, and how you can have her pretty darn special cooking in your home, visit her brand new website here: http://kellycollinsgeiser.com/
Huck and EZ have been hanging out together every week since they were 6 months old, and their babysitter would walk around with one of them strapped on her front and the other one strapped on her back.
Now at age four, the boys share a mutual love for Star Wars and Legos… preferably Star Wars Legos.
In the weeks since EZ was diagnosed with cancer, the boys have only seen each other two times. And that has been hard on both of them.
So when the time came to decide how to deal with EZ losing his hair from chemotherapy, the moms agreed that the best way to help EZ feel better about shaving his head, was for the boys to shave their heads together.
And seeing as Huck had always wanted a buzz cut, this seemed like the perfect plan. So we had our date scheduled. Celebratory hair cut presents were purchased and wrapped. I arrived and picked out the best spot for light in front of a big beautiful mirror. The hair stylist arrived and we were all ready.
But when EZ arrived, we learned that he was in a lot of pain and he was not having a good day. It became very clear, as Huck was in mid-shave, that our perfect plan may not work out the way we imagined.
The adults tried to reason with EZ, letting him know that shaving his head was a much better option than having his hair fall out in patchy clumps every day.
But it wasn’t until I was driving home that I could really understand how this was about so much more than a hair cut for this four-year-old little boy. This little boy has had his life turned upside down and inside out… he can no longer walk, he can not use the bathroom without pain, he hasn’t eaten in days, his bones hurt, he gets poked, prodded, taped and needled every day.
And in the middle of all this change, he lost his father, the only person who had ever given him a hair cut in his life, to a heart attack. It makes perfect sense that the last thing EZ wanted was to shave his head.
So he very clearly said “no,” and they got back in the car with his beautiful curls untouched.
Despite the tough morning and the head shaving protest, Alex did have some very good news to share about EZ’s progress with chemotherapy. Since so many people have so generously sent their love and support to this family, I wanted to share Alex’s update:
EZ’s last two scans reveal that the chemo has currently stopped his cancer from progressing. It has also reduced his tumors by 50% in size. This is a good start to a very long marathon of treatments that EZ will endure.
Dr. Month, EZ’s oncologist, shared that while his lungs and spine look worse to the eye, the bones will take the longest to heal. His lungs just look worse because he had a chest tube (from original biopsy) and he just got over a terrible cough and cold.
She reminded us of how important keeping him in his little Frida brace is, so his spine is protected. Meanwhile, we are pumping him with bone broth, probiotics, wheat grass and other homeopathic remedies.
To all sending your distant healing and prayers, we are deeply grateful and thankful for each and every bit of support, hope and love we are receiving. The children and I, as well as our extended family, are missing Roneil deeply. EZ is very clear on what has happened and shares that he misses his dad everyday. LU also is being very expressive and sharing her grief. We are pursuing different grief support measures.
A million thanks to all. XO, ap
Now Sonoma Valley Wine wants you to know the people behind the good wine and food of Sonoma County…
Karin Warnelius Miller and Justin Miller of Garden Creek (left).
Jake Bilbro and Scot Bilbro of Limmerick Lane (right).
Look for a fun new campaign coming soon, brought to you by Sonoma Valley Wine and The Idea Cooperative and photographed by me, with lots of styling and reflecting help from Morgan Bellinger and Debbie Wilson.
It was a bread-full week. Many thanks to our wonderful team: Peter Reinhart, Katy Brown, Melissa Moore, Karen Shinto, Jeffrey Larson, Tessa Watson, Alexis Scarborough, Morgan Bellinger, Debbie Wilson, the folks at Central Milling, Kendall Jackson and Craig Ponsford. I can’t wait to see all our hard work printed and standing proudly in bookstores October, 2014.