Roll 3

Roll 3, you heartbreaker, you.

Upon arriving in Lisbon, I decided the best way to shoot it was with black and white film. The color in the city is so vibrant, so alive, you could feel it. Sometimes the best B&W photographs are those of colorful subjects. Furthermore, I think black and white is incredibly effective in high temperatures. I'm not sure why, but I, as a viewer, find it easier to feel the heat of a scene in black and white sometimes.

Overall, I'm happy with what's here. I wish My finger (or something else in the foreground) wasn't a blurry distraction in front of the classic streetcar in the Alfama neighborhood. The framing is adequate for most, and I can feel the warmth of the city in these images.

Of course, there are only five photographs here. What gives? Well... either when inserting the film or removing the film (I can't recall clearly), I exposed the roll to sunlight. Stupid, stupid, stupid. As a result, an entire day of photography is gone now. It's very frustrating to say the least, but once again: it's a good lesson to learn. I've since improved how I handle the film to make it, effectively, idiot-proof (me-proof).

My favorite photograph is the last, number 5. I remember taking a few photos of that street. There were always pigeons there for some reason. The first snap got me very excited-- I thought I caught them in flight, on the perfectly-lit street. I was sure it'd be hung on my wall someday. Always humbling to face our failures, isn't it? ;-) Anyway, what I really like about this photograph is the depth of light and darkness-- moreso than the others in this roll-- with much of the light coming in one thin strip on the right, immediately alongside the darkest light in our view. What also makes me happy about this one is just how much there is to see. The shirt hanging outside a window, the pigeons congregating, the building off in the distance, the graffiti in the foreground. This feels like a photo I could come back to in ten years and find something new. So it's a keeper. :-)

Roll 2

I am infinitely happier with this roll than Roll 1. There are photographs in here that I am not just happy to share with others, I'm dying to share them. 

Tactically, I didn't try anything crazy. You'll notice a bunch are taken from the street, roughly around sunset, with the camera either facing directly into the sun or with it at my back.

The man walking into the sunset and the man sitting on the bench gazing at the Brooklyn Bridge are by far the best, in my opinion. Realizing this changed my approach since I shot this roll. Historically, I shy away from taking photos with people in them. Psych analysis aside, I simply preferred the cleaner lines and absence of another person's perspective in the image.

What I mean is: if I take a photograph to show you a scene, I am showing you my point of view. If there is another person in that photograph, the viewer considers that person. The viewer is no longer considering what I want to show them. This is, of course, absurdly selfish. And a good lesson to learn!

Since learning that lesson, my focus moved to include more people in photographs. I didn't quite learn it on the next roll just yet, but by the time I got back to New York (the next roll is a Travelin' Roll!), I decided to focus more on people.

Roll 1

This roll spans a long time. I started it during the blizzard in January of 2016 and kept going through June or July. The blizzard finally inspired me enough to grab the camera my grandfather left and snap a few pictures. More than anything, I feared the conspicuous nature of photography. You stand out. You are no longer a participant, but an observer. As a resident of New York, I generally prefer to blend in and quietly view the world around me, acting as an ant on the highway rather than an eighteen-wheeler. That consciousness distracted me from focusing on what was in the frame early on.

Further emphasizing my newb-ness is that my camera (a Nikon F3) has an exposure count up to 48, but the individual roll only went up to 24. Ouch. I've lost a bunch of photos as a result of that one. Did not learn it until about three rolls in to this experiment...

The first image is actually an important one. When I took it, I made a mental note that it would mark the beginning of my exploration of my creative side. Sure, I've casually drawn with pen and ink, or did a mega crazy insane way awesome brain dump with dry-erase markers on my giant dry-erase board, but this was different. I (eventually) took my camera out in the wild. I (eventually) felt confident with it in my hands. While many of the pictures are either 1/ poor quality or 2/ uninspired, this shot of the BQE from below will always be close to my heart.

Refreshing is the effect of fresh eyes on not-so-fresh images. The photos of snowy buildings (taken from my apartment window) are views that I've seen for nearly 1.5 years, but there's something about the color balance on some that really work. They take the mundane building behind mine (maybe that's too harsh for beautiful brownstone BedStuy) and make them old, worn, experienced-- in short, interesting. I could hardly ask for much more from my first roll of film!

Overall, I think this roll accurately reflects my abilities and my sight as a casual photographer. I'm happy to leave it behind, but it represents an important stepping stone in my growth as a Human With a Camera in My Hand.