I’m not sure I remember exactly how I found it. I think I was at the Brand Camp Blog and there was a mention of some homeboy who shot film and yada yada yada. Dude must be crazy, or freaking loaded, or both, I thought. And who cares. Film is impossible to find, and mad expensive to develop. Kodak who? Right? Aren’t they bankrupt or something? But eventually I meandered to his blog. And then my head exploded.
I thought film was dead. BUT THEN. It became more alive to me than ever before. I was under the proverbial rock where photographers only shot digital, and bickered between Nikon and Canon, and shot during “The Golden Hour,” and sun flare was king. I scoffed at the idea of shooting anything at 1:00 in the afternoon. Everything I thought I knew about incredible portraiture was turned on its head. I had no idea. I was completely hooked and I KNEW that some way, somehow, I was going to attend a FIND workshop, even though there was no humanly way possible I could afford to travel, pay the tuition or buy a film camera. I hadn’t picked up my camera in weeks, we were expecting our second baby, and had no idea where we were going to live in the months to come. Besides, I had no idea what 120 film was, why you only got 16 exposures from a roll of it, and Contax, Mamiya and Holga sounded more like the names of Japanese car models than cameras. You know, the tiny two-seaters you’d see zipping around crowded Tokyo streets, not the kind you’d ever drive in the wide open spaces we have here, that’s why you’ve never heard of them before. Like many photographers, I was more spray-and-pray, just keep pressing the shutter button until the LCD screen revealed a winner, leave a session with 73921897482761743106 images to sort through and I have to be honest, I HATED IT. I freaking HATED the hours I would spend in front of my computer culling and editing- what made it worse was that my computer is a dinosaur so it took even longer. I was getting burned out and I missed my family and I was ready to throw in the towel, and I had barely even gotten started.
It’s amazing to me that this one discovery breathed new life into my photography aspirations. I felt like I was going a million miles an hour in no particular direction and suddenly… I just stopped. But in a good way. I wanted to absorb every ounce of knowledge I could about shooting film. Just ask my husband- he will tell you that I NEVER SHUT UP about film. I don’t. Ever. When Jon and Kristin released Film Is Not Dead in hard cover, I went straight to the store, bought it, and read it cover to cover in a day. Cody would make fun of me on the weekends when he would come downstairs and I’d be toying with my newly-minted-to-me film camera, pointing a light meter all over the place, the book sitting open on the table. “Doing your daily devotionals?” he’d say. Ha. You know it.
Then it happened. Canlas chose PHOENIX as one of his destinations to hold a workshop in 2013. He teaches all over the world- and he is coming HERE?!?!?! In NOVEMBER!!! You guys. I was on signing up like white on rice. I knew that even with a year and a half to go, there was some sort of community/family thing that FINDers of the past have raved about, and I knew I would learn so much- and hopefully contribute whatever I can- in the months (and months… and months…) to come.
At the risk of sounding totally cheeseball, I have never encountered a community like this. In every review I’ve read of these workshops, attendees rave most about the people. The fact that there is no pretense, no egos (although that is a rule!), no required level of expertise to take part. No pressure. And that Jon is an open book. That you could ask ANYTHING and you have a whole army of people to help give you advice. And they are kind, and everyone is different, and honest, and respectful. (In an election year, that’s AMAZING. LOL!) I have found this to be totally, unequivocally true, inspiring and refreshing. And I cannot WAIT for November 2013 when I get to experience it in person.
All that to say, folks, I am determined to create a film revival here in the desert. I’m so excited to see my hometown with new eyes- in fact, I’m already starting to. If you are reading this, and have an education budget set for the year, don’t wait another second and sign up now.
Whoever you are, future Phoenix FIND family… I can’t wait to meet you. We are going to have AN UNREAL amount of fun together.