Tuesday, April 5, 2016

until the sky gets big

Listen to my LA playlist here*
I got into film photography on a whim a few months ago when I was actually in the market for a new digital camera. Photography seemed like a natural alternative to writing: I wanted to develop a more visual form of expression because there are some things that words (or at least my words) fall short of capturing, and I was growing frustrated with how few photos I have to go along with the moments I wanted to write about the most. One of the fundamental reasons why I've kept up blogging for so long (three years here, six years total as of this month) is because I'm kind of obsessive about documenting memories as they were at that point in time. I want to have some tangible record of the person I used to be, as if these posts are proof that I was here and this was real and it's not all just some figment of my imagination.

Even though I lived through those years of transition when millions of people converted from film to digital, I was too young to have been trusted with my parents' film camera because of how precious each exposure is when your roll can only capture 24 shots. I'm used to the instant gratification of digital and phone camera photos that can be taken by the dozen to get the right shot. In the four rolls I've shot and developed so far, I've had to learn a lot about trust and imperfection. There's no way of knowing how the picture turned out until you rewind the roll and get it developed; you have one chance of getting it right, and it feels more true to life to not be able to do things over if you didn't like it the first time.

For the latest roll, I wanted to work on becoming more comfortable in front of the camera instead of behind it like I usually am. In high school, I used to see myself as a supporting role in the story of other people's lives and not the heroine of my own narrative; now, I like to think I've developed a degree of confidence where I'm much more comfortable with being visible than I used to be. I still don't share much of my life on social media because I don't want to feel the pressure of validation from other people double-tapping and clicking like, but I do regret the years I refused to have pictures of me taken in the first place and am trying to find ways to document who I am before I inevitably grow.

I visited LA for the first time a couple weeks ago, running across the city to see and do and eat as much as I could in the four days I was there. These pictures don't really summarize my spring break because I was too busy soaking it all in to get snapshots of everything I did while I was there, and someday I want to be able to strike that balance between pausing to take a photo and really living the moment. I did more of the latter this time around, and it was a necessary break after what was probably the worst week of my entire five and a half semesters at Berkeley (a story for a different time). I needed to get away and out of my head for a bit before coming back to reality.

xoxo, vivian

*I added "No Better" by Lorde to the playlist because 8tracks requires that playlists consist of at least 8 tracks. I'm not entirely satisfied with having "Step" "No Better" and "Radio" on it but I couldn't come up with other songs that I felt were appropriate for what story I wanted to tell. I think about "Afraid" by Lana Del Rey a lot (particularly the line "it's not love that keeps me here") and almost added it instead of "Radio." 

Film photos shot on Kodak Ektar 100 color negative; others on iPhone 5S.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh I love this so much. I haven't been home in a while, and you've done a really good job capturing the best of LA at all the cool hangouts. Hope you had fun!