Culture shock is normally something people think of when traveling to a foreign country, but when I found out we were moving from Los Angeles to Ohio, I knew I was in for a doozie. All I had ever heard about the midwest painted a bleak picture of corn fields stretching into eternity, watching stop lights for entertainment and never having a shopping experience outside of Wal-Mart. You can imagine my surprise when I saw myriads of beautiful historic buildings, a nearby J. Crew (Hallelujah!), and the most beautiful forests I had ever seen. Still, every time I met new people they would say “WHY on earth did you move to Ohio?!”. Clearly, Californians weren’t the only ones doing the stereotyping.
In my photography, I work hard to maintain my own vision and personal work. I really enjoy fashion-related projects so I decided to style one of my shoots to showcase the urban, gritty side of Ohio, to show people that there is depth, character and interest here. My model, Erin, is a beautiful, bombshell girl but I really wanted to portray her as a tough, devil-may-care figure. So I purposefully grunged up her looks and chose a very strong pose. This is one of my favorites from the shoot because it leaves much to the imagination. See the full shoot here.
So on to the technical speak! I shoot almost exclusively with film and this photo is no exception. I used a medium format camera, the Contax 645 with a Zeiss 80mm f2 lens, and Kodak Porta 400 film, which has ridiculously amazing latitude. I shot on manual and used my light meter to over expose the film 1 1/2 stops, which introduced the color and contrast that I wanted. Shooting film is the perfect choice for me and my style because it is so freeing and allows me focus on what I’m seeing at that precise moment instead of thinking of camera settings. Film is not dead! That being said, it is crucial to shoot with what works best for your vision and makes you so excited every time you click the shutter, whether it’s film, digital, or your iPhone. Shoot for you.