From Silicon Valley to Austin, TX, whenever I set out for a wonder downtown or a new exploration there is one camera I grab (much to the chagrin of my back and shoulders). That camera is my trusty Pentax 67 medium format film camera. The camera itself is gigantic, weighing in at well over 5 pounds but the phenomenal results I get with it outweigh its burned. My street photography instructor at Standford, Neal Menschel actually chuckled when I told him I use it for candid street shots. There is nothing like the experience of loading a roll of film (it is often a fun challenge to explore with only one roll) knowing that I only have 10 frames to capture my experience for the day; it truly forces me to observe and analyze each situation I encounter.
I haven’t had much opportunity to use the Pentax on portrait sessions, but I plan on changing that in the near future with some new Austin portraits and downtown adventures!
I grew up in the outskirts of Salinas, CA, an area fueled by agriculture and livestock. Throughout the years I watched cattle meander down the trails alongside the highway and sheep graze along the hillsides. This interplay of nature co-existing alongside daily life always fascinated me and I deeply missed it when I moved to Silicon Valley. In January of 2015, for my birthday weekend, we traveled up to Spring Hill Ranch in Petaluma, CA where I got to work alongside the family running the ranch and snap a few pictures. It was a spectacular adventure to say the least!
You may have noticed that many of my portraits are black & white. I often get asked why this is. Quite simply, my love for black and white goes back to basic visual design principles; every element (lines, texture, light, and of course color) must have a function or it becomes a distraction. Therefore, if there is a strong color in a photograph that isn’t an integral part of the subject (such as the eyes or wardrobe) that element starts to distract the viewer from the hero of the image. Once that distracting layer has been removed black and white portraits allow the viewer to connect to the subject in a new way.
Besides all of that, being able to shoot and develop my own black & white film is just fun! After spending a lot of time trying to digitally emulate the look of some of my favorite films, I decided it was better to just fold film back into my arsenal. There is a certain life a film portrait has that digital lacks; much like a vinyl record versus digital music, or a classic car compared to a newer one.
Technical skill and composition are parts of every picture I take, but be sure to check out my high school seniors or boudoir & glamour galleries to see the impact of color versus black and white. If you’re interested in stronger design elements, streets and travel really let me push these visual elements in a fun way.