I’ll tell you how it begins … with Megan and I driving through downtown … the windows down and The Lumineers up … looking for a patio and some beer. We’re later joined by all the FINDers for a farm-to-table diner dinner, Austin style.
And I’ll tell you how it ends (but doesn’t really end) … with over a dozen new friends like family … and my wanting a Polaroid SE 600 and a Hasselblad.
I won’t go into all the in-between … though that’s the best part. How we warmed to each others company instantly, ate BBQ and game sausages and food truck tacos, drank margaritas and Negra Modelos and Lonestars, saw a real life armadillo (!), relaxed with beer and rap in the park, touched strangers, made friends with a real life cowboy named Sam, talked til 3am night after night, danced around the kitchen, shot Polaroids in the bodega parking lot, and had our fair share of run-ins with the local police. All too good.
At the end of April I attended Jonathan Canlas’ FIND (Film Is Not Dead) workshop in Austin, Texas. What I learned about both film and business was invaluable. Jon (along with his workshop coordinator, Catherine Abegg) is full of knowledge and willing to share it all. His approach to teaching is collaborative … I never felt like he was judging or coming from a superior my way or the highway position. In fact, he and I do things quite differently (and like very different things) when it comes to shooting and editing. And though he had his moments of making fun of me (only because he liked me … or so he said haha), he also took a moment to hear me out on why I do things the way I do. I think we both tried to understand each other (though I’m a lot more stubborn and could argue for days, ha). In the end, I left being challenged by what he said and looking to make some real changes as well. What more could I ask for?
I told Jon and Catherine this as we were wrapping up and hugging goodbye … they truly have a gift for what they do with FIND. Every person in our group was amazing, but Jon and Catherine fostered the connections even moreso by being real and down to earth … by actually caring about every individual. And, on top of that, by having a TON of fun. They were with all of us the entire time … we were all in it together. I just adore them both and learned so much from them (and honestly, everybody there) … especially in the down time after the ‘real’ workshop ended and we were all just chilling and connecting. I’ve been to workshops where I leave with a handful of new friends … but I truly left this one hoping to cross paths again with every.single.person.
So one thing Jon and I talked about was how maybe I shouldn’t write so much on my blog, haha (that whole viewer/reader fatigue thing) … but this was more of a testimonial to how much I loved FIND. A story I couldn’t tell in images alone. Are you still reading? Thank you.
Below are some of the frames I shot around Austin and of the other FINDers. (If you know me well, you know my preferred personal shooting is food & the lifestyle surrounding food … but I found myself shooting all that stuff on my iPhone … hmmm, I’m a work in progress … sorry, no food photos to share here.) I shot them on the same camera on which I taught myself photography back in high school — the Pentax K1000. Not the greatest camera ever, haha, but I love that it’s old and that all the cliches about film … its magic and its perfect imperfection or imperfect perfection … are embodied in it. I accidentally opened my first roll of film (Kodak Portra 160) and got all these amazing light leaks. Going to do that on purpose more often now. Some film shooters might cringe upon seeing these … I didn’t edit them at all beyond how the (little, local) lab developed them. I shot a little underexposed … but hey, I love that Urban Outfitters catalog look … and I love these as well. And I’m still working on letting my images tell the story (as opposed to all these WORDS). What keeps film like magic for me is that you can’t delete the mistakes right away … they’re mixed in with all the proper stuff and you’re faced with all of it upon developing. Maybe it’s cliche … but most/all cliches in life are true. Film is magic. And it’s not dead.
Catherine, Char, Chris, David, Ginger, Jon, Joyce, Megan, Mel, Michael, Nancy, Noelle, Sarah, Susan and Tracey … thanks for who each of you are. Miss you already. Reunion Tour!