The One Where I Got So Busy I Forgot to Write

Well, there goes 8 months! I had at least three drafts for posts that I’ve meant to write, all in varying mental and emotional states, but here I am… More than half a year later! Within that time, just for a quick recap I suppose, quite a few things have happened… 

  • I spent most of August 2022 in the UK, and made the pilgrimage to Brighton thanks to my friend Holly, honestly of the best photo walks I’ve ever had in my life
  • I took so many photos last summer, that I STILL HAVEN’T DEVELOPED ALL OF THEM!
  • I learned how to print in the darkroom (and I continue to do it every week here in Vancouver)
  • I released my first book and sold most of it in a month, to my shock
  • In the same month, I joined a group exhibit, and one of the photos in the book was selected for the poster 🥳
  • I refurbished a large format inkjet printer with a friend, and can now produce archival prints in-house
  • I became Canadian (a few days after Queen Elizabeth died… 😢)
  • I turned 30 and celebrated it in the most Ariela way
  • I visited the Philippines for a hot moment
  • I spent most of December, January and February on the struggle bus for various reasons (Seasonal Affective Disorder, family matters, personal affairs, among many things)
  • I acquired 3 new cameras after not getting any in 2022 - Leica iii f (Midland Ontario SN! Maybe to commemorate my Canadian citizenship lol), Canon SureShot A1 (waterproof camera), and a Bessa R with Voigtlander ashperical lenses (50mm, 35mm, and 28mm)
  • I did however travel a fair bit in March and spent the month in the London and Portugal (while being sick 75% of the time, this needs a post of its own)
  • I joined curated shows with Blackbox Gallery in Portland and Glasgow Gallery of Photography in Scotland 🥲 I am so grateful to have my work selected! 
My first darkroom print that I made by myself

My first darkroom print that I made by myself

Look Ma! My photo's in a gallery!

Look Ma! My photo’s in a gallery!

I published a book just before I turned 30!

I published a book just before I turned 30!

Is this what 30 feels like? I know it's downhill from here ...

Is this what 30 feels like? I know it’s downhill from here …

My visit to the Philippines in November

My visit to the Philippines in November

A glorious summery day in Brighton

A glorious summer day in Brighton

We were blessed with a snow storm this year and the city just shut down cause we can't deal lol

We were blessed with a snow storm this year and the city just shut down cause we can’t deal lol

Come 2023, I definitely have too many cameras

Come 2023, I definitely have too many cameras

Portugal was an absolute dream.

Portugal was an absolute dream.

So lucky to have been invited to Holly's wedding! A highlight of my most recent trip to London.

So lucky to have been invited to Holly’s wedding! A highlight of my most recent trip to London.

8 months went by like it was nothing… 2023 so far feels like a renewal. Out with the old, and in with the new. There was no way I could be ready for any of the things that have happened so far, and while most of them are well and amazingly good, a part of me also feels like I’m not ready to depart and say good bye to what felt like an entire era of my life. Maybe because it was small and it felt safe and familiar, and now I seem to venturing into a different kind of unknown. It comes with age I suppose, not to say that I’ve suddenly become super old, but life just feels almost unrecognizable to what it was before. Mostly in a good way.

I returned from London a few days ago, and I’m currently battling jetlag by jam-packing my day with stuff to do. I cycled 35km this morning, had a hot shower, and I’m now working at the studio trying to do taxes. I shot 40 rolls of film last month, YES, to make my pile even worse. I seriously don’t know when this pile of undeveloped film will finally disappear, but I’ve been developing film at least 2-3x a month, doing separate runs for C41 and BW. I’ve also squeezed doing my own E6 somewhere in between (note to self: NEVER use Cinestill kits again!) and while I do have the chemistry, ECN-2 is still in the back burner. Slide film is my choice for colour 4x5 and a seeing a positive that large is just other worldly.

The film armageddon has really burned a huge hole into the pockets of film photographers worldwide, and I know I’m not the first to say this: bulk roll, shoot expired, home dev. I want to remain hopeful for the future of film, but I have tinkered around with digital cameras in the last few months as well. (Fujifilm just continues to screw us over, unfortunately.) Thanks to my friend and fellow VanSPC member Cory, I was able to test drive a Hasselblad X1D II. It really is a beast of camera and what amazed me the most is the quality of the RAW file. I have no need for that many megapixels, but the colour science behind these images was mind blowing. (Ya’ll NFT artists, I’m looking at you) I also had a lot of fun using my sister’s Ricoh GR iii in Europe, and I understand why it has a cult following among street photographers. The sensor is really impressive, and I love the images I get from it. It’s also so tiny and discreet, people really don’t take it seriously even if you get super close. I’m not super crazy about the 28mm (equivalent) focal length but it was reaaaaaaaally perfect for all the narrow streets in Europe. I didn’t take it back with me, it’s not mine to keep lol, mostly cause I don’t really see myself using it in Vancouver. Of late though, I’ve almost exclusively only used rangefinders, and I find myself enjoying it! With more practice, I’m sure I’ll nail focus eventually, but at least with the cameras I have, I’m most blown away by the lenses made for these cameras. Especially on the Leica iii, there is just certain feel to the photos that I can’t put a finger on. And with the scenes that I like to capture, it just feels like a perfect match. I lived my Cartier-Bresson fantasy and took it with me in Europe, and it was really  just… *sigh* so good.

With all the shooting I’ve been doing though, comes the hard part. What to do with all these images??? I have my work cut out for me … you see how I continue to make problems for myself. I have ideas for my next book(S) but with the way the year has continued to unfold, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to finish them! THERE’S ONLY 8 MORE MONTHS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

I was already looking at my summer calendar this year, there are several trips I want to make, and I’m saying this just after I came back to Vancouver. 😔 This is just how I do… 🤷‍♀️ If I’m being completely honest here, keeping busy has been keeping my loneliness at bay. It really is something I’ve continued to learn how to cope with as I live my life, because I know I have to move forward. I wouldn’t have guessed that photography has become the vehicle to keep me in motion, but days lately, even with its ups and downs, continue to be filled with wonder. And that, at the very least, is a good thing.

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