I’m not sure what’s going on with the weather, but I’ll happily take a 60 degree day in January! The warm weather gave me a chance to get outside and test out/break in a new Canon 85mm lens- woohoo! Here are a few snaps from today’s visit to the Ramble in Central Park with Callahan, 10 months, and Eleanor, 9 months. There was a lot of crawling, laughing, eating of sticks, and fighting over mom’s cell phones. Though the grass looks a little sad, it’s still great for the little ones to practice their moves on. Frederick Law Olmstead envisioned this part of the park as a wild garden, and I’m grateful for this locale with lots of new nooks to discover so close to our apartment. I hope everyone is enjoying the weather as well!
Last week I heard that Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy and I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s no secret that this 131 year old company struggled to keep up as digital photography burst onto the scene, but it still saddens me. Of course, I’m part of the very same problem that I lament. During photography school in 2005, about 65% of my class had already switched over to digital, but I dug my heels in and shot only film on the most basic of cameras, my beloved Pentax K-1000. The school was in a slow transition; we shot slide film and Tri-X for the first half of the summer but at the halfway point, they no longer required us to shoot film and scan it to digitally edit; rather, the choice was ours. I held out until the final few weeks, and finally gave in and purchased a used Canon Digital Rebel. I felt like I was selling my soul, but over time I came to love the immediacy of the images, the histogram display to check exposure, the versatility of switching ISO on the fly, and the cost! Though I missed the excitement of picking up my slide film at the local camera shop (remember those?) and the thrill of placing them onto my light box, digital photography eliminated a lot of steps and expense. Of course, it brought on the problem of mastering Photoshop, but that can fill a whole different post. The transition was swift- my class was the final summer that used the darkrooms at photo school- now the film developing stalls are used for cell phone booths! I returned in 2010 for a week-long intensive on wedding photography and it was all digital, all the time! I sound like a nostalgic dinosaur to say this, but it saddens me that new photographers will never know the frustration of fumbling in the pitch black to roll film onto a developing reel, or conquering a finicky enlarger to burn and dodge a print. Or my ultimate favorite- the moment when you place your image in the darkroom developing tray and watch as your image appears through the liquid.
My days of buying rolls and rolls of Tri-x 400 Kodak film and filling my freezer with film rather than food are gone forever. Kodak claims they will still try to reinvent themselves, and I half heartedly hope that they can find a new niche. They have been criticized for not adapting quickly to the digital photography age and finding a way to be profitable in the market. But what I love about them is who they used to be and the past that they represent. But my nostalgia has no place in today’s market. What do you think- is film gone forever?
I first “visited” C and R in early August while their mom, a serious trooper, was on bed rest. Not long after, the identical boys made their much anticipated debut on August 23rd, the day of the East coast earthquake! I guess they couldn’t contain their excitement at such a bizarre weather phenomenon, arriving well before their October 12th due date. There were some ups and downs during the fall, but now the boys are home together and thriving. Cormac and Reece live on a beautiful prep school campus, which someday soon will be theirs to roam and conquer. Having lived and worked at a boarding school in my past life, I can remember how much excitement new faculty children bring to the students on campus- and these guys get this love x 2!The Eckert boys were my first experience photographing twins. From the moment I picked up my camera, stood on a chair and towered over their pack’n play, they seemed genuinely interested in what this crazy lady above their heads was doing. Window light was at a minimum since it was torrentially raining, but the twins were very cooperative as we schlepped them all over the apartment. Their dog, Jambo, stared longingly from the covered porch while we worked. I’ll admit that it was twice as hard to get the perfect shot with both boys awake, looking at the camera, eyes open, Mac’s arm not blocking Reece’s face, etc! (Check out the triptych below for one great sequence.) But it was also twice as fun to witness and record their interactions with each other. Their dad (who writes an awesome blog about C and R’s adventures) stopped off between teaching classes and I witnessed the impressive double parent bottle feeding routine, and captured a few photos of the whole clan. Check out Mike’s post (from Jambo’s eyes) about our photo shoot. Happily, we succeeded in getting a great shot for their Christmas card/birth announcement.
I also had a blast documenting their nursery. Their mom is the most creative person that I know-each boy has a gorgeous custom quilt handmade by her- so it was no surprise to see greens, grays, whites, and blues come together to a form a clean, happy, modern space that felt minimalist yet warm. I loved how their cribs were placed (see below) and how the large map decal reflects their parents, who are true world travelers. The two handcrafted rocking horses, complete with hockey stick legs, are the incredible work of our high school coach, Bruno. My daughter is lucky enough to have one too! I also adored their elephant mobile so much that I ordered one for Callahan’s room. Gotta love Etsy. Reece and Mac, it was such a pleasure to visit and photograph you and I can’t wait to watch you grow. Heather and Mike, keep up the good work!
Happy New Year! It’s time to catch up on blogging about a few recent portrait sessions. In early December, my family traveled to D.C. to meet the adorable new (then 5 weeks old) Callum James, who was born on Halloween. Their Cal met our Cal and it was a ball. Baby Cal lives down a quaint little historic alley (or “walk” as it’s officially titled) in Georgetown. I loved the architecture so of course I snapped a few exterior shots of their gorgeous brick row house, rumored to be a former workshop of Alexander Graham Bell, to set the scene. Cal’s parents, Matt and Brooke, are good friends of ours (Matt was the best man at our wedding) and it’s crazy to see how much has changed since I took a few engagement portraits of them in July 2010, then attended their rustic chic wedding in Sundance, Utah, and joined them in the world of parenting in 2011!
I was lucky to photograph Cal over two days, taking advantage of natural window light for most of the sessions. I just love the photos where he is gazing adoringly at his parents and so relaxed in his mom’s arms. Callum, his rock star parents, and Abigail–Cal’s 4 legged sibling–were quite cooperative! I also had fun photographing a very special outfit personalized for Cal from daddy’s boss at the White House…check it out below. Matt, Brooke, and Cal, thanks for being such wonderful (and gorgeous) subjects. I loved the photos that you chose for your Christmas card and I’m certain Cal rang in his 2 month birthday on New Year’s Eve with great fanfare!
This time of year, winter afternoons can seem long and cold…often only punctuated by the holidays lights and the warm glow of windows. I stumbled across the NY Times photography blog yesterday, Black and White and Black all Over, and loved many of their archival images. There is even a photo (#9) of my street in 1959! Though many photographers can’t wait to gain back late spring and early summer light, this gives us all inspiration to see the magic of the dark (and to bust out our dusty tripods.) When I lived in Paris, I spent many evenings photographing the city after dark. I returned to Paris for New Year’s Eve three years ago, and captured these night shots- a streetscape complete with lit chandeliers for the holidays, and an ever present muse-the Louvre aglow at night (center and right images).
It’s tough to choose a favorite in the NY Times blog, as I’m torn between the Paris and New York images. I finally settled on a stateside image- the last one (#17, 1972), the classic window view of the Brooklyn Bridge…with an evening twist. What is your favorite image in the slideshow and why?