Colors of London

So remember when I was in London, oh, five-ish months ago (oh goodness it’s been that long?) Well, y’all know I made a few bodies of work, and y’all also know that I’ve kinda released a couple of said bodies of work a bit after my trip. Well guess what? I have more for you, and it was the series I created that I was looking the most forward to.

Here are my Colors of London:

I decided in spring 2013 that I was going to study in London the summer of 2014. Once my mind was set, I got to brainstorming, and this series was the first one that came to mind. I told my friend and model, Becca, about it and she was like “HeCk YeS!” and so we spent a couple months going back and forth on who was going to bring what color shirts. Ah, the logistics.

Then we spent a couple of days doing marathons around the city of London to get photos. Man, we were tired. Bless Becca for the craziness of those couple of days. Bless bless bless.

Yeah, not entirely sure what the nailpolish and thread and other embellishing is all about, but it was the idea that I had so I just kinda went with it. And the random words? Those are parts of Henry James short stories/novels. Let me tell you, it was a fun time trying to find the word “orange” in his work. Also, the word “teal” wasn’t used as a color in the English language until after 1920– the more you know, I guess?

We studied James in my classes abroad, so those are sort of relevant. And, when you read all the photos one after the other, you get a fun little narrative that has nothing to do with the images. Because I like messing with people.

Happy Shooting!

 

The Story of the Girl from Bath

When I was in Bath, I did a shoot with my friend, Caroline. It was done on my Minolta Weathermatic A with expired 110 Pocket Film from Fukkatsu. I dressed her up in my classical-looking dress and dragged her around in public all day. Here are the results:

This is the story of a girl who is lost in a different time. When I initially thought of doing this shoot, I was thinking I was going to have a classical shoot, as in I would just stick Caroline in front of old buildings and such. However, when we were driving through the city, I saw a motor bike parked up against a Georgian-style building. Do you see where this is going? Well, you should because you can literally see the photo shoot above.

So, she is a girl in a classical dress that looks eerily similar to the gauze-like fabric that is portrayed on Roman statues, and has a lace collar and cuffs, reminiscent of the 19th century. She is in a city that is just like her- only she doesn’t have the trimmings of the modern-day world. Juxtaposition, my friends. Juxtaposition.

As for the quality of the photos: I love the grain, I love how she seems to glow in some pictures, and I love the faded saturation. These elements fit the narrative I was going for extremely well. Hooray for adding to content!

It is always such a thrill to shoot in different formats. I’m looking forward to trying even more things during my stay here! I really wish that there was a LomoLab near where I live in the States, because it is super convenient to drop off my fancy/weird/rare film and be able to pick it up within a week, instead of mailing it off, praying it gets to NYC, and waiting over a month to get the scans. I’m going to miss this luxury.

Yesterday I went to the White Cliffs of Dover and did another photo shoot with a friend. Now, to wait for the slides. I shot it with tungsten film, so here’s to hoping I get the effect I desire. Even though trying new things is cool, it’s still risky and anxiety inducing. Mais, c’est la vie.

Happy Shooting!

London at Sunset and Planet Parliament

Tonight I went on the London Eye. It was sundown. There is not much else to be said, as the pictures speak for themselves.

It was really spectacular. If you ever go to London in the summer months, go on the eye at about 9PM. It’s so worth your time to watch the sun go to sleep and see the city lights wake.

I also did a weird little editing thing. I made a planet. What? I made a planet? Whatever could I mean by that?

My friend Kaiden told me about this cool little trick. You should really see his planets on his Flickr page, as they are a lot more eloquent than mine.

I found a useful tutorial on how to make these things, which can be found here. This is something I want to experiment with some more, especially since I’m here in Europe and I have some cool scenery at my disposal. But, these are hard to make well, so I’m going to have to have a lot of trial and error before I’m happy with the results. C’est la vie, practice makes perfect, never give up and never surrender and all that jazz.

And with that, happy shooting and happy planet-making!

planetstonehenge

 

Somethings Can’t Be Bought

Yesterday and today I went on an adventure to a place I’ve never heard of: Portobello Road. There is a large market there of antiques, clothes, pottery, food… anything you find in a market. IT’S HUGE.

Yesterday when I went it was rainy and not many stalls were open. But something really awesome happened. I was walking by some antique stalls when I saw a camera one, so of course I stopped, because this is a photography blog you are reading so duh. On the table, I noticed an old looking photograph in a nice album-like frame. It looked like a Daguerreotype. So I was excited, because, hello, it’s one of the oldest types of print in photography. So I asked the old gentleman who was sitting at the stall, “Excuse me, but is this a Daguerreotype?” and to mine and his surprise, he said, “Yes- how do you know that?”

So, we got to talking about how I’m studying photography, and I asked him about more of the photos on the table. After asking about a hand-colored tin-type, he told me something I’ve never heard about.

Apparently, when he was an apprentice in the late 40s, he would hand-correct negatives of portraits. He would go in with graphite and alter the soft-focused images to get rid of blemishes, make noses bigger, make noses smaller, lips fuller… He said that after they were done the photographs didn’t resemble the people anymore, but they were happy.

How cool is that? I thanked him for that knowledge, and hopefully I can pass it on to photography students some day. It was a really nice conversation, and I was so sad to leave. I’ve been longing for someone to talk photography with, and I found that someone in the form of an old Italian man in a white fedora. You can’t replicate moments like that.

I returned to the market today to see how it was without the rain, and today (Saturday) is the serious antique day. You couldn’t move it was so densely populated by tourists who loved to stop in the middle of the road or sidewalk or whatever who had no sense of space and were completely unaware of their surroundings in order to take a picture or point at something and wow it was frustrating. I spent four hours there, just walking around and browsing antique shops. I saw one lady drop 600 pounds (or quid, as they call it on that side of London,) on a brooch. Like dang son, I wonder why that brooch was as much as it was- did it belong to some marchioness or something? So that was bizarre for me, anyway.

After my adventure at the market I went to Hyde Park and finally saw the Serpentine. It was soo beautiful. I also had my camera loaded with color infrared film with me, so I took some shots and hopefully they come out.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy shooting!

Bathing in Photo Ops

This weekend was another busy weekend. I didn’t leave the country this time, but I did see a lot of it. My classmates and I went to Bath, Glastonbury, Yeovil, Old Sarum, Avebury, and Stonehenge.

Bath was super exciting for me, mostly because I’m writing a novel that takes place in the time of Julius Caesar. So, anything Roman is instant interest for me. I’ve been wanting to see the Roman Baths since I was a little girl, so I was so stoked.

And I was not disappointed.

This weekend also marked my first ever international photo shoot. I dressed my friend Caroline in a classical looking dress and dragged her around Bath. I took the photos with my pocket film camera, so when they are developed (hopefully soon,) I will share them all and share the story.

Glastonbury was another place that was awesome. I had never heard of it, honestly didn’t care, I just wanted to find a Starbucks. I didn’t know what we were doing there, but apparently we were visiting an abbey. I was like, okay, whatever, it’s a church, that’ll be cool. Butttttttt then I found out it wasn’t just any ordinary abbey.

When you get out of the visitor center/museum space, it’s a totally different world. There were acres of green grass, and to my surprise, extremely old ruins. According to legend, this abbey was started by Jesus’ uncle, and King Arthur was once buried there. It was beautiful, it was humbling, and I was singing little hymns as I walked along taking pictures. I couldn’t help myself.

After the wonder that was the Glastonbury Abbey, we took a hike to a place called the Tor. I also had no idea what this Tor thing was, and my feelings towards it were kinda apprehensive- and even more so when I found out there was a giant hill standing in my way. So, a hike later up a tragically tall hill, I got to the Tor, and photos ensued.

It was really gorgeous. A few people in my group say it was the best view they’ve ever seen, and I kind of disagree and agree with them- but hear me out. I disagree because I’ve seen some pretty amazing landscapes. I agree because I’ve never seen this landscape, and dang, it was beautiful. You feel me?

So, after spending a night in Yeovil, we went to Old Sarum for a few minutes (like, really, we were there maybe half an hour,) then to Avebury for basically lunch and a good look at the stones (oh, hey, giant stones, we gotta get back to the bus holy crap,) then FINALLY AFTER ALL WEEKEND we made it to Stonehenge.

It was crowded.

We had to take a tram.

And it was great.

It was everything I expected it to be, except the construction work off in the distance (I wasn’t too thrilled about that.) It’s weird, seeing something that you’ve spent your entire life seeing in textbooks, on postcards, in documentaries. It was right there. Too bad you can no longer go near it and touch the stones or anything, but I can’t imagine how crazy that would be with the hoards of people that were there.

I got my hands on some color infrared film and took some pictures of Stonehenge with it, so I’m hoping for some cool effects from that.

Also editing photos is getting meticulous so here have a thing that wasn’t.

Happy shooting!

On the Topic of Nervous Photographs

I’m not a shy person. I’m a terrified person.

I don’t like calling in pizza. Sometimes I prefer eating toast over eating alone in the school cafeteria. I don’t answer the door when the post man knocks, and lord knows one of my least favorite things to do ever is ask for help in a store.

Sometimes this can get in the way of taking marvelous pictures.

This morning I went off on my own back to Westminster, mostly because the sky was perfect (blue and scattered clouds make my heart sing,) and because my tenacious side was still irritated it was raining yesterday when I visited. See, I have a photo series in mind that centers around London’s landmarks, and let’s be real, you can’t take a picture of a landmark people have seen thousands of times with a bleak grey background and expect to get positive reactions. Except from your mom, of course.

So, there I was, riding the tube to Westminster. I got off and went to the pier to get a good shot of the London Eye across the Thames. Before I explain my irrational behavior further, I have to show you the photograph.

I’m not sure about this composition but that’s a different tangent.

In a nutshell, I was extremely self-conscious about one, taking out my huge Instax Wide and snapping the shot, two, standing around pretending to look like I was doing something while it developed since I was standing in an ideal spot for tourist-like photos and was not sharing, and three, holding out the picture got people staring (or maybe it was the rainbow-tie-dye-skirt I was wearing but who knows really.)

I did manage to wait it out and take a lot of different compositions of this idea, so kudos to me. I plan on doing a whole series of these, so I have to get over my nervousness in taking photos in public settings. Sometimes I want to take pictures of strangers, but I don’t out of fear of making them upset, when I could just take their picture and if they ask what the hell is wrong with me, I can explain. This hesitation that crops up from time to time gets in the way of my goals. I’m thinking about challenging myself and just asking strangers if I can photograph them. We’ll see.

But I had a lovely day, and I did get the shots I needed, so all is well. I enjoyed the freedom of walking around by myself, it was more romantic that way, and while I was pretending to look busy I did manage to get a nice, ironic photograph of the Thames:

I tried doing another instax-within-a-photograph shot, but none of the photos came out like how I wanted. The place I took a photo of I pass everyday on my way to class, so I don’t foresee any issues re-taking it. I’m just glad I have the opportunity to do redo’s if I want!

Tomorrow is visiting the Globe and St. Paul’s and who knows what else. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have an inspirational tale about over coming nervous-photo-taking and I’ll be an inspiration among the masses. Or I’ll just have a cool photo, whatever works.

Until then, happy shooting!

 

 

 

I’m Not Sure What to Title This, But Whatever I’m in London and I Took Pictures

I touched down yesterday morning at about 7AM, and headed to Regent’s University with my classmates. Once we got there, we put our bags down and went to explore the gardens.

Guess who didn’t have their camera? Moving on from that embarrassing confession…

I did carry my camera everywhere after that, the only exception being to the grocery store today. Now, I’ve only been here two days, but I have some observations:

British people really like their soccer football. My classmates and I were at a pub during the Mexico/Holland game, and I was pretty giddy about the reactions from the other people in the pub. It was fantastic, mostly because one family was rooting for Mexico and the entire pub was rooting for Holland. The shade that was being thrown… My oh my.

Grocery shopping is an experience. We went at about noon on a Monday. See, where I come from, that’s not a heavy shopping hour. Most people are at work or in school. But, apparently, everyone in Bloomsbury does there shopping around that time. My anxiety was skyrocketing and I kept apologizing while weaving through people just to get some grapes. I was apologizing very quietly though, mostly because I am super aware of being American and I don’t want the people I was bumping into to also be super aware of that fact.

The oven is called a “cooker” and a microwave is called a “crisper.”

But, enough of that. This is a photography blog, so here, have some photography:

 

Hopefully I’ll have some more film stuff to show you by next week. I’m so excited to be back, my camera bag is shoulder-breaking heavy, and my index finger is ready to press some shutter buttons. Tomorrow morning I plan on rising early (I mean, my classes don’t start until 1PM, so I have a morning to explore London) and heading to Regent’s Park, to get the shots I didn’t get yesterday when I forgot my camera oh my goodness why did I do that.

Today, there were many adventures. After taking the tube to Baker Street in order to figure out how to get to class tomorrow, my friends Andrew, Lindsay, and I decided to go to central London to see Westminster, the London Eye, and Parliament. We rode the tube forever because we took the wrong direction (ha) and by the time we got to the Westminster stop, it was raining. So, we spent about 45 minutes under an awning waiting for it to let up, and then proceeded in a random direction and took lots of pictures.

When we were on our way back home, we goofed around in King’s Cross for a little while. We were trying to find Platform 9 3/4, but we were on the other side of the station, as it turns out. I guess we’ll try another day.

We ended up going to a pretty cool pub last night called The World’s End. I’m not a drinker, and I honestly was debating on not going, but I’m glad I did because not only was the pub cool inside, the Nigeria/Germany game was on and the atmosphere was contagious. We ended the night with getting lost in Camden town. My feet were going to fall off.

I love London.

Well that’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have more adventures and photographs to share tomorrow. Until then, happy shooting!