Over the past couple months I have been wanting to try medium format film photography. The main difference between medium format and 35mm film is the size. Medium format is about twice as big so the image has quite a bit more detail. I was at Moler’s Camera and saw a Mamiyaflex TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera. A nice simple camera as an introduction to medium format photography. I must say I do like shooting with the Mamiyaflex. I find myself taking more time. Really thinking about the shot before I take it. Also it is totally manual. So I want to make sure the exposure is on point before I click the shutter. Below are some scans from the first couple rolls I took with the camera shot on Ilford FP4 120 film!
Earlier this week I was in New York City. Had a blast taking photos while I was there. While walking through Central Park I came across a group of people, young and old, who were enjoying making huge bubbles. I could have stayed here all afternoon but decided to shoot a roll of film and kept it moving. Here are some of my favorite photographs.
Something happened last night that I had dreamed of for years and thought would never happen. I can’t tell you how times I was sitting in class or walking to work playing the Wu-Tang Clan on cassette. I was obsessed. I had the clothes I had their music. At one point around 1997 I even had the Wu-Tang Clan symbol shaved on the back of my head. So as I was standing watching the Wu-Tang Clan perform AND doing it in Wichita… I had to keep pinching myself. Got to see some old friends and amazing people. Here are some of the photos I took while I was there. Definitely a night to remember.
After I shot 3 rolls and sent them off to be processed I quickly figured out that it would be faster and cheaper to process them myself. It took anywhere from one and a half to three weeks to get a roll of film back from development. It also cost around $10 a roll! So I bought everything I needed and decided to start doing it myself. I will post more about the darkroom equipment and chemicals I use in another blog post. Here are photos off the very first roll I ever processed and scan myself. This would have been 4 years ago. Best decision I ever made! It is interesting to see what was on the first roll. Some shots from around the city the renaissance fair and even some at the radio station I work at.
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Colton Van Ness is a photographer based out of the Wichita, Kansas area. I came across his work on Instagram. Like myself he shots and processes 35mm film. He has helped keep me inspired and has became a good friend. He is someone who keeps me motivated. We go shoot, bounce ideas off each other and talk street photography. Happy to introduce everyone to Colton Van Ness a.k.a. @coltonvanness!
What got you interested in photography?
The thing that got me interested in photography was definitely the fact that my parents always had so many cameras, prints, and processed negatives lying around. As a toddler they were more of a toy to me, but over time I understood the camera better as a way of documenting your life, so I ended up attached to looking at old photos as a child.
Who or what inspires you and keeps you inspired?
I’m inspired by just knowing that whatever I document and preserve on film, I can pass down as a physical artifact of my generation and my individual experience.
What camera and film do you use?
I’ve been shooting a Nikon F3 with a 35mm focal length for around 2 years now. Always on Ilford FP4 or HP5
How would you describe your photography? What is your style?
Determining my own “style” seems to be the biggest challenge. I tend to just shoot anything that catches my eye in the moment. Which is why it’s so important to always have a camera, even if it’s just your iphone.
What are you favorite places to photograph? (Around Wichita?)
My favorite place to photograph in the city is literally anywhere north of Kellogg between Ridge and Greenwich. That’s the area I’ve stuck to for years now photography-wise, and I still haven’t seen everything.
How much are you able to get out to shoot?
I’m not able to plan days out to hit the streets much these days, but the camera stays with me for when I feel like I need it.
Do you prefer color or black and white?
Black and white.
Black and white can come off to some as less exciting than color, but to me, reducing images to black and white changes the reality of the image. Black and white has a special ability to amaze and confuse me. I’m drawn to them quicker than I am photos in color, because I live seeing in color.
You are currently working on your first zine? What is the process like and when do you think it will be available?
The process of narrowing 3,000 images to 40 for the zine was harder than the 6 months of shooting. Every photo is chosen and ready for print. I’ll get a sample or two, decide on a paper and bind, then i’ll make the drop and announce it on my instagram. Expect it before halloween.
Everyone always asks “Who are your top 5” when talking about any subject. So... who are your top 5 photographers that keep you inspired?
These lists are always filled with Magnum photographers, so this list is just friends and instagram accounts i’m inspired by.
* Royce Stevenson -@double_r_the_superstar
* Geoff Haggray - @geoffhaggray
* Sam Youkilis - @samyoukilis
* Jonathan Walker - @kingofkodak
* Lauren Lepore - @35mm.mistress
For people interested in Colton’s work you can find him on instagram… @coltonvanness!
Let’s kickoff the weekend! Hope everybody has a safe and fun weekend! Any big plans?
I have an uncle who always says, “The worst thing you can do is lie to yourself.” How many people do you know of that lie to themselves? They don’t know who they are. The worst thing you could do is lie to yourself. That does not mean you can’t change your ways if you want to. But, one thing is for sure. If you don’t know who you are, you can never change your ways.
It is said that there are 26 universal constants. But I think they might have missed one. Change. If there is one thing constant in this universe it is that change is inevitable. I have been going through some of the photos that I have taken over the past couple years and I came across this photo inside the Wichita library. Or should I say, the old Wichita library. It got me thinking about change. Things, people, buildings come and go. Overtime everything changes. Somethings are remembered, others are forgotten. There are some who can’t handle change. Hiding from the truth and living in the past. But change is good. Who would want everything to stay the same for ever. Not me.
Life can be a funny thing. It has it’s ups and down, but also more than anything life will humble you when you aren’t expecting it. I can speak from experience on this. It has been that constant that helps me balance my ego when it gets out of wack. For some they don’t quite get the message. They might get humbled and brush it off or let ego get in the way. Ego is such a funny thing. It is that thing in your brain that tells you lie after lie. Telling what what you deserve or how things should be. It is more of a defense mechanism more than anything. The lies our ego tells to ourselves are ten times worse than any lie someone else could say about us. So try to stay humble. It is a constant struggle. Trust me, I know! Remember that someone else has it ten times worse than you.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. “ - C.S. Lewis
So far this year I would have to say out of all the money I have spent that my zoo membership has been the best bang for my buck. For starters if my wife and I go 3 times in one year we have made our money back. I always like going to the zoo but at the price of general admission I didn’t make it but once a year tops. But now with a membership we can go, walk around and enjoy the zoo. If we only want to see the elephants, then we just see the elephants. There isn’t as much of a rush to get everything in at one time to get our moneys worth.
But what I like most is it gives me something to do when there is nothing going on. On a boring Sunday afternoon with nothing going on the zoo will always be there to keep me entertained. Plus the people watching is as interesting as the animal watching. That is the on place in Wichita that I can say that. I do always feel a bit of nostalgia whenever I go. My first job as a teenager was at the zoo. I think about my time working there and all the fun behind the scenes things that most people never see while walking around. So you might see me walking around the zoo a lot more often. Plus they have the best popcorn ever!
About 6 months ago I put together a photography zine. Many photography zines such as Hamburger Eyes keep me inspired and wanting to get out and take photos. More people are making zines but I noticed not very many people in Wichita had. I love having a printed photo or photobook in my hands. They look so much better than online or on social media. I always wanted to create a zine of my own so I did. You can still grab one here….
I have been thinking of what my next zine will be. The theme, the photos, how I want to lay it out. I would like to have something done and off to the printer by the end of March. Let the fun of finding photos and working on the layout begin! Of course I will give updates on how it is going and when the next issue will be available.
Been slacking the last couple of days. Been traveling and working. Got back form Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week. It was an amazing trip. The food and drinks were cheap. The scenery was beautiful. The people were friendly and warming. I am ready to go back! I was able to get some photo taking in while I was there. Shot ten rolls of film. Still processing them, but here are some of my favorites so far. You can also check out more photos from Puerto Vallarta by click the link right below this. IT is good to be back back blogging!
I have been going through some of my old photos. Looking at the hip-hop events, shows and people who attended around Wichita. Some are still with us, some aren’t. Feel very blessed to have been at the shows and events. Even more grateful that I was able to document them. So many times we have experiences and I hear people say, “I wish I would have taken a photo.” Well let me tell you, I try to make sure I take photos. You never know who might be there and who you might run into. So make sure and snap a photo or two next time you are out.
At the beginning of the year I had a goal. To average one roll of film every day. That means I am trying to shoot 365 rolls of film this year! So far I am up to about 23 rolls. Which is great, but I am falling behind. The hardest part is during the week. Much of time is spent in a radio studio or production room. So getting out is the hard part. Luckily I got out some over the weekend and was able to shoot some rolls. I will say when it gets warmer I am able to get in a lot more shooting. So for this early in the year I am doing pretty good. Here are some photos I took recently.
After hearing so much about Game Of Thrones I finally watched the series. I must admit, the show is amazing. But once the dragons showed up in the series I started thinking. How cool would it be if dragons were real!? Just imagine looking up in the sky and seeing an animal the size of an airplane soaring through the skies. But then so many questions come up. Would they be wild or could you tame them and raise them as pets? Where would they live? Could they last and survive in cold weather climates? Then, I also had to take in consideration the fire breathing. Would it be a good thing to have an animal that could incinerate an entire building in one breath? Probably not. I could see dragons being used in wars and to hurt people. And don’t they hoard gold and riches? So, maybe it is good that dragons aren’t real. I am sure somewhere a scientist is trying to cross a lizard with a bird to create one. Who knows? Maybe someday there will be one.
I’m not sure why, but I have came to the conclusion that the best $15 I have spent in a long time was for a lava lamp. I placed it in the production studio that I spend most, if not all of my time in. I sit and watch it daily. Not sure why watching a more dense liquid floating around inside a less dense liquid is so cool. But it is! If you have a high stress job… get a lava lamp. If you hate your job…. get a lava lamp. If you want to be the cool person at work… get a lava lamp. It puts a smile on my face daily. Might just do the same for you.