Saturday, September 10, 2016

cruisin' faster than the light

I went to Arizona in the middle of the summer to visit my best friend of sixteen years (!!!) and it was as hot as you'd expect from a desert in mid-July. There are approximately three (maybe four) people I love so much I would voluntarily fly a budget airline with no TSA Pre-Check to visit in 117F temperatures for, and even though I certainly don't miss the heat, I miss my best friend. We've known each other since kindergarten and used to live three blocks away in our tiny hometown north of Seattle, but since starting college in different states three years ago, we only see each other a couple times a year at most. 

As is our tradition, Yvana and I ended up taking very few photos together in spite of the concerted effort I made to try to take pictures for once; I recently bought a new film camera (my Olympus point-and-shoot has some lens flare problems when it comes to outdoor shots but also, I really wanted to indulge in a new camera) and in my excitement I kind of forgot to read the manual, made some rookie mistakes, and as a result 80% of our shots that weekend were underexposed and unsalvageable. I really regret not getting to know my new camera better before going to Tempe, because I don't think I've ever laughed so hard or honestly, will ever have that much fun in a Safeway again.

It's been practically a bucket-list dream of mine to do a photoshoot in a grocery store ever since I discovered and became obsessed with Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear show when he transformed the Grand Palais into a giant Chanel-branded supermarket, so when we were coming up with indoor things to do, "photoshoot at a supermarket" made it onto our weekend itinerary somewhere in between listening to unreleased Lana Del Rey songs and eating our way through Scottsdale. We initially went to some bougie Whole Foods-style store called Sprouts but ended up feeling too self-conscious posing next to pineapples; we ultimately ended up at Safeway at 11:45pm on Sunday night, still slightly tipsy off of the grapefruit mojitos at Olive & Ivy.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that one of my favorite things is the intersection between mundanity and fantasy. I'm fascinated by being at everyday places at times when it feels like reality is just a little bit altered: Denny's at midnight, normally busy streets at dawn, rest stops after a long stretch of driving down I-5. Lately, I've discovered another reason I like to shoot in film is because it's not only a more honest depiction of a candid moment but it's also a medium in which you can capture that moment of altered reality. The blindingly bright flash creates an instantaneous contrast in light and color that doesn't exist beyond the split second the shutter clicked, and that ephemeral serendipity gets preserved in 35mm.

xoxo, vivian

10/29/2016 update: got my last roll of film from the end of this trip and the remaining shots turned out well! Pro tip: don't shoot 200 ISO film with a UV lens filter on indoors. 
Top two photos: Kodak Gold 200; bottom photos: Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400

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