Eat Pomegranate Photography
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Hartland Quay

March 15, 2018
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Check out that FJ

After the 964 Porsches, these have by far my favorite silhouettes.

When was the last time you found a quiet place to disconnect? The kind of quiet that puts you in a daze and time seems to stand still. Gah! I feel like I caught this guy in the middle of one of those perfectly peaceful moments. I love witnessing people create little segments of quiet in their daily lives. I came across this surfer in his Land Cruiser atop a cliff in Hartland Quay. He was lost in his own world looking for the perfect set of waves. When the waves started to pick up, he drove his FJ down the side of this cliff, changed into his wetsuit and ran down to the water with his board.

I had exactly 3 frames left on a roll and here are all of them.

Enjoy!

Also, these first two photos are available for print if you click on the shopping cart icon to the right of the images.

Quay

This was the vantage point from atop the cliff.

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.


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.

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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Film in Snow

January 7, 2017
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A friend of mine recently asked me about why I always mention whether a photograph was taken digitally or with film. Especially because film isn’t replacing the photographer’s skill. I thought about this a bunch and realized that film changes the process of taking a picture. Each shutter click costs so much money and film forces you to be more thoughtful about each composition; it teaches you to move on from ideas that aren’t working. I was just reading a really good blog post by a wood worker and he talks about how “few people have the ability to engage in the making of something.” When I am taking pictures with a film camera, I get more of a sense of creating something. So much has to be working in unison to get shots like these. Juggling all the technical variables in addition to working with another dynamic human being is what keeps photographers coming back to their cameras. This series is from a shoot with Sophia Brawner in one of the Detroit suburbs. We were both freezing but who could’ve passed up huge snowflakes like these.


Snow Flakes

Sometimes you wake up and everything looks absolutely perfect. I love that we get such gorgeous representations of all the seasons here in Michigan. It took me so many years to learn how to dress properly and now snowflakes like these are such a welcome sight. I hope you are getting out to enjoy the snow this winter.


Dessert Oasis

September 21, 2016
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A photograph is such a thin slice in time but a good image can leave us with feelings that extend much further beyond that one instant. When we look at an image we extrapolate a story before and after that moment. Not only that, when one person looks at a picture they have their own unique perspective and story around it. One person may look at this series of images and think about a memory of having coffee with a special person, another might think about their first job as a barista, and a third person may think of their morning ritual. These stories we assign to photographs connect us to these images. Photographers do their best to create a venue for people to establish these connections; sometimes we succeed.


film

I am always thankful when people let me take their pictures but I especially appreciate it when I am shooting film. With a film camera, I can’t give them the instant gratification of reviewing an image. So, it takes a lot of trust in a stranger to take your picture if they aren’t even going to show it to you. Thanks people.

This is another series with my mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 film.


Playlist for a Stranger

February 20, 2016
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I saw this woman taking pictures in Downtown Chicago and I made her a playlist. Check it out:

Coast to Coast

February 12, 2016
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Water

This woman traveled to the West Coast to collect a bottle of water from the ocean. She walked along the beach as that bottle clinked against her shoe. When she was ankle deep in the water, she dipped in her bottle, and then walked all the way back. This whole ritual was so simple and beautiful.

On a separate note, I couldn’t get over how perfectly these clouds registered on this film stock. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, film.

Travel

Some of my oldest memories are of laying on top of the speakers behind the back seat of my parent’s light blue 1975 Datsun 120Y. My parents would take me and my brother on long cross-country road trips using difficult/technical trucking routes. At a relatively young age we had seen every province of Pakistan. We had been to the forts of Multan, the peaks of the Himalayas, the desert of Sindh, had seen the flow of the Indus, and the beaches of Karachi. This wanderlust has been passed down to all of my siblings. Last year alone, me and my siblings visited four continents including extended stays in Africa and the Middle-East.
I really wanted to end 2015 on a strong note. I was originally going to go to Pakistan but the overlap with my sister and my mom was only two days. For the first time in years, I was left with a block of unscheduled days. I decided to go on a coast to coast adventure; from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast.

Pacific Ocean

The crashing waves of the Pacific Northwest minutes after arriving in Seaview, WA.



Film

A friend recently asked me if I am always looking at the world in terms of how I would photograph it and my answer was a resounding “no.” It is so much more important to look around and let pictures reveal themselves. If I was to look at everything through the cross hatches of a view finder, I would probably miss the all the beauty. The act of shooting without a digital viewfinder helps me slow down. For this whole trip, I only took my film camera and a few rolls of film. I hope you enjoy all of this medium format goodness.

Camera: Mamiya 645
Film:      Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Ektar 100
Lab:      Indie Film Lab


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Looking Up

December 3, 2015
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Here are two photos from my last trip to NYC. I drove across the country with my parents and sisters to surprise my brother at his favorite restaurant. It was a really memorable trip—almost too memorable for me to be behind a camera the whole time. After we found him, I was walking through the city and came across the building on the left. I loved how the clouds were rolling over us and I knew that film would have enough dynamic range to capture the building and the bright sky. That was the last photo on that roll. Right after the exposure, I huddled down to replace the film. My next shot was the photo on the right. It wasn’t until I saw my film scans that I realized how these images perfectly mirror each other. Even the clouds in each photo seem to blend together across these frames.

The time it takes to receive your film scans from the lab is perfect for inducing deja vu. It is almost like they wait to scan the images till this tipping point just beyond a fading memory. I have been traveling with only my film photography gear for the last few trips. Film makes me shoot a lot less and I get better at remembering my environment aside from the camera’s viewfinder. Ask any film photographer and they will tell you about the joy of receiving your scans.

Once in a while, those scans reveal correlations like this one. I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

If you want to hang these prints on your wall, check out the Eat Pomegranate Market.

P.S. I am writing this blog post from a coffee shop in Portland, OR. Just as you start forgetting about this post, I will upload photos from my current trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Pink and Blue

November 11, 2015
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hands

I always go after hands in shoots because they tell so much of a story.

When I take pictures I am thinking about how that set of images will look hung up a wall. People are usually looking for patterns and we are stringing together a story from a series of images. I take pictures with the hope that my audience will piece together a story or maybe let their imagination take them beyond the images. Here is a mini photo series with Alexa.

Bow

I loved this moment and I was even more excited to see it captured when I got the film scans back.

A note on film

Film captures color better than the majority of digital cameras. I really love picking the right camera and the right film for each shoot. Even the process of shooting an image is more thoughtful and intentional. All these things combined make up for when photographers say “there is just something special about film.”
These images were shot with a Mamiya 645 film camera using Kodak Ektar 100 film.


Blue and Pink

Most times the simplest photographs become my favorites. This image is a perfect example.

look

I keep looking at how well Alexa’s eye color registered on film