Eat Pomegranate Photography
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Boutique Film Lab

February 19, 2018
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New Friendships

In parallel to my writeup about BFL, these photos will tell a story of a quick weekend getaway with one roll of Kodak Ektar, one roll of Kodak Portra, and a Leica M6. This is a view of Lake Michigan off M-22.

Working with a Lab

When we shoot digital images, we spend much more time editing our photographs than we do shooting them. When we take pictures on film, that task of developing is left in the hands of another person. The relationship between a film photographer and their lab is a true creative bond. The lab tech brings a photographer’s images to life.

For an upcoming project, I thought to work with a new lab. This new project has forced me to start the whole creative process absolutely afresh. I have come up with a few things to consider as I start this new working relationship with Botique Film Lab (BFL).

To get the ball rolling on this blog post, I grabbed two of my favorite rolls (more on this later), hopped in a car, and went on a road trip to Northern Michigan. These pictures are all from this shoot and everything is developed by BFL.


  1. Understanding the Process: Building any new relationship is about learning how the other person works. It is really important to learn about the logistics of shipping your film and getting your scans (and film) back. These are the things that often get overlooked when you are working with a lab. In the crunch of a photo deadline these logistical things are life savers.
    On BFL’s website, you put items in your shopping cart with any details about push or pull processing. In the comments section, you can include any details with special instructions or processing inspiration. I already know how I like my film developed, so I was able to send BFL some other scans in a link. Upon paying for these shopping cart items a shipping document is generated and you send your film off to BFL. When your film is done being processed, you get digital scans emailed to you and your film mailed back. I really loved that the filenames for each image indicate which film stock they are from. I didn’t have to go back to the negatives to figure things out.
  2. Communication: It is so important to start early with establishing a working relationship with your lab and especially the person who will be developing your film. Upon mailing in my film, I gave BFL a call just to give them a general sense of what I was working on. Like I said earlier, it takes a lot for me to surrender my negatives to another creative and just talking to someone can make you (me) feel better.
  3. Test rolls: I am primarily a medium format photographer but for this shoot I was working with 35mm film. The grain in medium format is totally different than on 35mm rolls and I like to process the film differently depending on the format. Both, when working with a new lab and working with new film stock,
    test rolls are a major key! Side note: I said that in a heavy DJ Khaled voice.
  4. Tweak: The main difference between a good lab and a lab at a pharmacy is how you get to make personalized tweaks during the developing process. Take advantage of the fact that a good photo lab will work with you to make sure the film developing is specialized to your specific shoot. Notes like that are helpful to your lab.


Wineyards

My camera introduces me to such dynamic personalities. This guy was harvesting grapes for wine and was kind enough to pause his busy day to take a picture with me.

Yak

There is a Yak farm in Traverse city. I had to stand on top of my car to get this shot. Hopefully I can make it back there next time to get a closer look.

Chef

Every road trip should have pitstops for good food and sometimes you are lucky enough to hang out with the chef.



Thanks

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Hillary and Anthony

December 7, 2017
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Color

I kept coming back to this tree during the shoot and thought it was a perfect image to set the mood for this wedding teaser for Hillary and Anthony.

Autumn

We had an extended Autumn in Michigan this year and many of the trees were left with these beautifully colored leaves. Before Hillary and Anthony’s wedding ceremony, we walked up to this garden and were welcomed by a bed of yellow leaves. I am uploading a few of the images from their wedding to give you a glimpse of this awesome day.

Lace

Hillary’s dress had all these small details that I couldn’t stop shooting. Here is her veil and her shoes.


Privacy

On wedding days things can get chaotic and I always emphasize the importance of having little time slots that take the couple away from all the chaos. This was a small section of the day that Hillary and Anthony had just to themselves.

Flowers

I loved the pop of color in Hillary’s bouquet; it was perfect juxtaposed to her fur shawl.

Laugh

These natural reactions make a photographer’s job the most fun.


Tree

We took full advantage of the fall colors. Here is a portrait from a quick sunset shoot we did on the wedding day.

dance

Just a little teaser to one of the most incredible dance floors I have been on this year.


36 images

A good camera really minimizes the distance between the idea of a photo and the execution of taking a photo. When someone is taking a picture they are considering hundreds of visual elements and when a good composition locks in, the act of taking that photo should be simple. Leicas have a cult status amongst photographers because these cameras get out of the way as much as possible.
I wanted to put mine through it’s toughest test: shooting a high-energy Grouplove show. This was a concert at the United Center in Chicago and along with my digital camera, I brought a roll of black and white film. I had 36 opportunities to capture Grouplove’s energy. The black and white film stripped away all the color from the lighting and just left me with the band.

Sidenote: Check out their latest album.

Hannah

This is Hannah taking in the packed United Center crowd right after their first song.


Shooting to a beat

Leica’s rangefinders are manual focus cameras. A lot of concert photographers shoot to the beat and predict what is about to happen. This camera forces you to get better at making those predictions. I couldn’t rely on instantaneous autofocus; Gah! that aspect added such a thrill to the shooting experience.
Unlike SLRs, where the viewfinder shows you exactly what you are going to get as a final result, rangefinders show you frame lines within your viewfinder. This let’s you see what is happening inside and outside your frame. This let’s you see what is coming in and out of your composed photo.

Band

A wider shot of the whole band (almost).

End

This is closer to the end of their set and I loved how the light was shining perfectly on Hannah.

Contact Sheet

Here is my contact sheet from this roll. I still get giddy when I get rolls back from the lab and immediately review them like this.

Weddings showcase a couple’s taste and how they bring their closest friends and family members together. Martha and Steven surround themselves with beautiful people (inside and out) and have impeccable taste in music, food, and fashion. All these elements shined in harmony on their wedding day. They got ready at the Inn on the Ferry, had a beautiful ceremony at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, and had the best party for their reception at the Jam Handy. Check it out:

McGregor

Meet Steven and Martha.


Steven

Custom tux vibes


Rings

Some bling for the wedding day.

Center

I am so obsessed with symmetry and the McGregor provided so many great vignettes like this.


I shot this wedding alongside two amazing assistants: Sean Gleason and Shelby Robinson. We also shot lots of film and can’t wait to get those scans back.

Taylor and Jacob

August 7, 2017
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A shoot

Taylor started with taking photos of Jacob.

In retrospect, it is hilarious that I showed up to this shoot and asked Taylor and Jacob to photograph each other. Not only that, I asked them to wake up at sunrise so we could have this really awesome early morning glow. I can’t believe they still like me.
Their polaroids gave me a little glimpse of how they see each other. Gah! I really want to do this more often.


love vibes

We found this bench on our way out and I loved this little note someone left behind.

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Hands

I am always drawn to hands when I am taking pictures. I think they tell so many stories … even more so, when they have beautiful jewelry.

Michele is the curator and the owner of Collected Collage; an antique jewelry shop in Ferndale. I came across their storefront while exploring her city one evening.

Unlike so many other vintage jewelry shops, her place had such a minimalist aesthetic. Everything seem to have been placed with intention and it was so obvious that all these pieces had a story behind them. I try to savor the little things in life and I think Michele looks at fashion / jewelry in a similar light. When I met Michele, I remember immediately asking if I could photograph in her space. That conversation lead to this shoot.


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sage

I hope you are ready for a pretty gorgeous wedding.

Mom

Kaitlin and her Mom working on the bouquet.


dress

This was Kaitlin’s dress and when she brought it downstairs, there was an audible “awwww.”


Olive

Meet Kaitlin and Steven’s ring bearer.

Ice Cream

Between the ceremony and the reception, all the guests went to the MSU dairy store for Ice Cream. It was an absolutely perfect day for it.


Married

This is it for now. Keep your eyes here for more photos.

Fern Room

April 24, 2017
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Having a camera can get you into pretty cool places but nothing compares to the kind of access a wedding dress gets you. Jamie and RC had a permit to get photographed on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. Originally, we wanted to take some portraits in the conservatory but it was one of the busiest days on Belle Isle. That day was the first sunny day as Michigan emerged from a cold winter. The staff working at the Belle Isle Conservatory saw Jamie and decided to let us into the lower section of the Fern room. This part of the conservatory is typically off-limits to the general public.

Sound and Color

March 15, 2017
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The Bell Choir before this wedding ceremony set the tone for such a beautiful wedding to come. I am including a photo teaser here of Katey and Eric’s gorgeous wedding. Weddings are such personal and intimate affairs and a couple’s personality shines through every aspect of a wedding. It was so incredible to see these families come together.



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Meg and Andrea

February 14, 2017
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On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share Megan and Andrea’s story. This holiday is so commercialized and that leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths but I have always thought of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate love. How cool is it that we have a day to make people around us feel loved and feel special? Answer: very freakin’ cool.

I get to photograph people on such a special day but in Megan and Andrea’s case, I had gotten to know the two of them throughout their relationship. I met them when they had just started dating. Then, as if no timed had passed, I was photographing them on their wedding day.

This wedding was full of personality and character. Megan and Andrea incorporated their family members and their personal traditions into their wedding. All of these things made for such a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. To top it all off instead of dinner, their wedding had brunch! YUP, this was a bunch wedding. gah! So cool.




words


After the ceremony, Meg made this speech and it brought tears to everyone’s eyes. No picture could do justice to the sentiment behind these words. I am including it here for you.

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge how we all got here today. Many of you know that I was previously married to a man; it’s been my experience that nothing tests a man’s character quite like his wife telling him, “listen, I’m gay and we’re getting divorced”. What I saw after that conversation was that he was kind when he could have been cruel and supportive when he could have been destructive; he showed me what it looks like to value your partner’s happiness even when it comes at the expense of your own. Some of us have probably learned these things from observation, but I had to learn them from experience, and what I am bringing to my marriage to Andrea is what I learned about love, commitment and support not only from my first marriage, but from its dissolution.
We would have celebrated an anniversary just a few weeks ago. I still celebrate that day for the optimism and hope I brought to my first marriage. Of course, some of that hope was that I wasn’t really gay, and here we are. Being openly gay is a privilege that many around the world will never experience. Andrea and I are fortunate to be celebrating with so many LGBTQ-identified individuals. And we collectively are fortunate that despite unequal rights, overt oppression, very real physical danger, lack of representation in everything except voting rights for the TONY awards, family opposition, and a heightened awareness of the risks and benefits of simply existing, we’re all still here.
We’re here because other people came before us: our ancestors who contributed the genes that made us so stubborn and so good looking, our families and friends who support us but still challenge us to grow, and our civil rights ancestors: the labor organizers, feminists, desegregationists, revolutionaries, and violent and nonviolent protestors whose work has brought us here today. None of their accomplishments are perfect, and none of their work is done, but it’s a start. We also owe a debt of continued remembrance to LGBTQ individuals who have suffered and died, and to those who have suffered, but lived.
And everyone here who is not an identifying member of the LGBTQ community is an ally. This means that you support us. You support our right to get married; our right to not lose custody of our children because of our gender identity or sexual orientation; our right to a life free from physical and sexual violence; our right to be addressed by our chosen names and pronouns; our right to not hide our identities to keep our jobs, find housing, belong to a religious congregation, or simply walk down the street; our right to access healthcare appropriate to our unique needs, and to document and celebrate our own history. If you didn’t know what you were endorsing when you came here today and you’re just here because you like brunch, don’t worry. We like brunch too (we might have invented it), and someone will be dismissing tables very soon.”







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