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my first time shooting film with clients

Canon EOS 3 \\ Kodak Ektar *

I consider myself very lucky to be able to meet up with this family on their California vacation once a year. I always leave so inspired and have a lovely time making photographs with them. This time, knowing the mom to be up for anything, I asked if she would be willing to have me shoot only film at their session. And she said yes.

Armed with eight rolls of Kodak Ektar and a new to me Canon EOS 3, I started up the session with shaky uncomfortable fingers. I took my time deciding what to shoot, and only let myself fire off 1 shot per “setup”. (I broke my own rule 2-3 times when it was called for.) Having to stop to load a roll of film felt very disrupting and not having the safety net of a few shots fired off anytime I SAW something felt very scary. But quickly, it didn’t. I fell into the groove. Knowing this was an experiment for me, they were patient as I fumbled with rolls of film, and waited for the right moments.

I was shocked and relieved when I saw the results. Out of the eight rolls, I only had to trash about five images. I LOVED the tones and feel of the rest of the photos. Not only that, the best part was: I. DIDN’T. HAVE. TO. SPEND. FOUR. HOURS. EDITING. THESE. FILES. (The black and white images were the only ones edited in Photoshop with my black and white action.) It was like the biggest party ever getting the scans back and sharing with my client, without having to do any work on the computer.

I am not sure that I am ready to go full film on all of my clients, but this experiment was definitely a success.

You can see their session from 2012 here.




San Francisco session opening – March

Hello! I have one opening for a session in San Francisco on March 7 or March 9. Please email me at tara at tarawhitney dot com OR use the blog contact form if you are interested and would like more information. Thank you and happy Tuesday.















“We are our faces. That’s all there is, light on faces.” Garry Winogrand

I’ve been watching a lot of old photography interviews and documentaries on Youtube the last few weeks. Garry Winogrand is one photographer that keeps my attention, keeps me wanting to pour over his photographs again and again. These sentences really stuck with me over the course of a few days. The thought strips everything down, kind of like how I feel using the Nikon One Touch. Stripped down. It’s a pick up the camera and shoot kind of camera. You can’t be that focused on the outcome because you won’t see it for a long time. I can use it so fast and in the moment that I never know what the result will be. I also take a few weeks or months to send my film in, so when I get the scans back I don’t remember taking much about taking the photo. The emotion or energy that was there when taking it is gone and it’s just like – oh, there we are. That is us. That is “it” – that is the moment. There is something about the space between taking it and seeing it that creates a new energy and emotion. (If the photo “works”.) Garry also said in one interview, “Great photography is always on the verge of failure.” And yes, yes to that. I always love the ones that almost don’t work the best. The ones that are offbeat/unexpected, or the ones I was afraid to take but did. They are the ones that I want to keep looking at.

I have been shooting all personal work on film for over a year. Of my family, and life as it unfolds. But it hasn’t had a focus. This year I am going to push myself closer to that verge of failure. Closer to the fear, closer to the offbeat and unexpected. And share my results here on a monthly basis.

This is a very large post for me but a very small portion of what I took Sep-Dec of 2013.

I hope to continue this project for a very long time.