Film: Love Hate

Finally got around to developing some film. To be honest, while I love shooting film developing and scanning myself has gotten tedious. I just don’t have the time any longer to set aside for marathon developing sessions followed up by marathon scanning sessions. I’m beginning to hate this part of the process. I know hate is such a strong word. Don’t get it twisted film will always have a place in my life. While most days I have my Fuji X-Pro2 slung across my shoulder rest assured there’s also a point and shoot film camera in my bag, whether it be my Holga 120N, Olympus Stylus or Leica Mini Zoom.

Luckily in Seattle we still have a few dedicated analog labs operating and thriving with the resurgence of film. I may just go ahead and support these local businesses and start sending a few rolls there way. Everybody wins.

Seattle Film Labs

Inspo: Why Family Photos Matter | Thomas Allen Harris

Lately I’ve been harping about the importance of photographing what you love. For me it’s family. When I first started taking photography seriously as a creative outlet, I didn’t view my family as subject matter, so I rarely turned my lens toward them. This is something I regret every day. Fast forward to today, now I’m a dad with a family of my own. All I ever photograph it seems is my family, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I have vivid memories of my mom always with a camera nearby taking photos of milestones. It seems like her Kodak Instamatic was never too far. School play, snap. Thanksgiving, snap. Graduation, snap. All those photos tucked away in albums. Then on August 24th 1992 Hurricane Andrew makes landfall. At that time, Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive storm to ever hit the United States. Before the storm, I remember my mother putting the family photo albums and countless envelopes of negatives in garbage bags then putting those garbage bags into big blue plastic Rubbermaid tubs. It didn’t dawn on me until a few years later that she was protecting family memories, our history, our record. While our home was destroyed, those blue plastic tubs full of photos survived and so did our family history in photos. This left an indelible mark on me, motivating me to document my own family and more importantly PRINT those photos.

I recently discovered a show on PBS called Family Pictures: USA, a new three-part PBS series created and hosted by filmmaker and photographer Thomas Allen Harris, explores American cities, towns and rural communities through the lens of the family photo album. When I was doing more research about the show I came across this Ted Talk from its creator and host. If you are at all interested in photographing your family, telling your family story, it’s worth the watch.

As You Grow

Ever since my son was born I’ve been photographing with intent. The intent to document, preserve and tell a story for future generations of our family. Lofty I know. The photographs I’ve been making over the past two years have centered around my wife and son. Witnessing this relationship grow from day one is something that I really can’t put into words so I won’t even try. I’m just glad I’m around with camera to my eye to document it all.

As You Grow Vol 2. Documenting my son’s second year.

As You Grow Vol 2. Documenting my son’s second year.

What am I doing with this body of work? For starters very little of it makes its way online in the form of social media. I do share these images with family and close friends by way of a private family blog. Most importantly, I’m printing. I can’t stress this enough…print your photos. I’ll write a separate post on my printing process, but stop reading this post, go to your phone or your computer select photos and PRINT. Just do it.

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For this book I made selects throughout the year, designed with Blurb Bookwright using “auto layout” , and hit print. About “auto layout” I was lazy with sequencing, these photos are sequenced in the order they were made. Super simple.

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Is this a long term personal project? Not sure. I’m still working out what I’m doing in documenting my family. By that I mean there’s no artist statement, theme or grandiose philosophy. What’s important to me is that I’m MAKING these images and SHARING them with the people closest to me.

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AS YO GROW, I guess is me, a dad, simply documenting our days for our family.

The long game is that by the time my son grows up and ventures out his own there will be printed images in both book form and boxes of photographs for him to take with him. I may not be around but he’ll at least have these photos. I’m gonna stop right there because my eyes are all watery, damnit.

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Document your days. Print your photos. Peace.

Hustler

His hustle, I’ve always admired it. His creativity, always envied it. His style, always peeped it.

Chris Clayton aka Chris Cardi in NE Washington, D.C.

My younger brother continues to live on his own terms. One thing is certain, us Clayton men are stubborn. But please don’t mistake the stubbornness for arrogance, ya see the arrogance is in the DNA. In all seriousness my brother Chris has always lived a creative life, he’s actually the first “creative” I’ve ever known. Growing up I’d watch him make his own board games, fashion his own clothing, always heads down in his sketchbook, always creating.

Takes balls to leave a comfortable corporate gig to follow your creative pursuits. I wish I had that courage. Oh and I wish I had that hustle, that creativity, that style.

As his company motto says: Live Fresh. Die spoiled.

Stay hustlin’ young man.

Now enough about him, back to me. This is my blog so get that spotlight back on ya boy, moi, me. More and more I’m enjoying making photos like this. Little photo essays, snippets of of my life. I used to love walking the streets for hours chasing that “decisive moment.” Side note, check out Daniel Milnor’s piece on street photography. My photography has evolved and Milnor’s piece put into focus what I’ve been struggling with.

Nowadays I just let the photos come to me, organically. Perhaps one day I’ll get off my ass and pursue a long term photo project. But right now all my photos are personal and I’m enjoying this document your days approach. That approach is taking my camera everywhere and let come what may.

This is 42

I’m 42. I don’t feel 42. But just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean “it” isn’t happening, whatever “it'“ is. Last month I’ve been adulting real hard. Getting a home remodel kicked off and affairs in order like life insurance in case I kick the bucket my son will be taken care of. After a two year hiatus from going to the doctor, I finally went for my annual, ah scratch that, semi-annual check up. These need to be annual or my wife will kill me and these check ups would be all for not.

My father has had three bouts with cancer, dude has nine lives. While he’s still around it’s been touch and go. My grandfather died of prostate cancer. This could’ve been treated but he didn’t want to go to the doctor, this is problematic among black men. Don’t be stupid, go to the doctor, get checked out and handle your business.

For me, all systems are go.

Nothing like looking at your son in the face to realize your legacy.

This is 42.

Swedish Medical Center before I dropped trousers…

Swedish Medical Center before I dropped trousers…

Hope & Change

It seems like I’ve written some iteration of this post here over the years. I guess I’m still trying to figure it out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my photography, or shall I say photography in general. Specifically how and where to share my photos. I’m all for social media, I met some of the coolest people whom I call dear friends over a decade ago on Flickr.

All this to say I’m changing my posting habits and hope to be using this space…my space (dad joke) a whole lot more.

To hope and change. Peace.

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Chase The Light 2019

This year I’ve submitted images to a few local galleries and contests simply for the experience. If selected to show my work that’s the cherry on top. This is the first year I’ve contributed to the Photographic Center Northwest’s fundraiser Chase the Light, formerly known as Long Shot. Chase the Light is a 48 hour photo shoot taking place over June 8th - 9th to raise money for the Photographic Center Northwest. I’ve taken a few classes at the center and it’s sort of become my second home and my photographic community, find your tribe right?

These images were made on a round trip ferry sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. What’s really cool is that one of these images will be selected to be shown at the Chase the Light exhibit taking place on June 15th. I’ll keep you posted.