week of film elliott erwitt besotted blogToday I am driving up to Santa Barbara, which I am very excited about.  I am meeting someone I have long admired via the interwebs, who I do consider a friend and a tremendous source of inspiration.  If you only knew how unlikely this whole trip is for me, you would be very proud.  I am very shy and uncomfortable around people, unless I am working and I put on a ‘business’ social face, but to just meet people for the first time is a bit terrifying.  I am equal parts nervous and excited, so I hope the balance doesn’t make me too much of a goof ball!

Back to some of my fave film photographers!  Eliott Erwitt is way up there.  I worked at gallery in my late teens and was exposed to many classic photographers, Eliott Erwitt being one of them.  Last year when I was in NYC I got to go to an intimate exhibit of his work, the best part was the guided tour which was recorded by Mr. Erwitt himself.  It was such a treat.  You would think Erwitt’s work was another street photographer great like a Cartier-Bresson.  His shots all seem so candid and as an aspiring photographer you may wonder how it is that he had gotten so lucky to seemingly always be able to be in the right place at the exact right time. When I worked at the gallery, I just thought he had impeccable timing, not that I knew anything about photography but I did know enough to be impressed by a photographer who was able to capture such moments. Fast forward a couple of decades and Erwitt himself reveals his secret to me (and of course every other attendee to the exhibit).  He was in advertising and these seemingly candid shots were all well executed and staged.  The top one above with the Great Dane and the Chihuahua was something he had painstakingly planned for a shoe ad. One of his other most famous shots of a couple kissing in their car has people from around the globe letting him know that it was them that he had happened to come across and shoot, some even demanding compensation, but alas it was a friend and a model he hired to do the shoot.  The magic of the images for me now after the reveal is how he was able to create such  authentic captures.  There is no doubt in the viewers mind that these moments are not real. Some of the other photographers that I love that are in this same vein of creating these ‘authentic candids’ which are carefully planned are Norman Parkinson and Robert Doisneau (his very famous kiss photograph was an awesome staged shot). Definitely visit the links to see their work, I think you will be very inspired.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.


August 11, 1954, New York, NY

January 9, 1957, Florida

I wanted to showcase some of my favorite analog photographers this week. I really don’t believe in separating a photographer by film or digital, after all it doesn’t change the fact that they are a photographer whatever medium they choose but for the sake of the theme this week I will pull from a small selection of film photographers that I admire.  I am launching with Vivian Maier because her story is so unreal, outstanding and ultimately magical that it bears either an introduction or for those that know her to be highlighted. The concise version is the Vivian was a nanny and an avid street photographer who not only shot  extensively but did the very odd thing of never developing her film. One day a young man bought her storage locker of film, developed it, showcased it on his blog and Vivian became viral.

“Vivian Maier’s photos were seemingly destined for obscurity, lost among the clutter of the countless objects she’d collected throughout her life. Instead these images have shook the world of street photography and irrevocably changed the life of the man who brought them to the public eye.”

I look at these images and my heart stops. I ache for a time when people dressed beautifully, even the most disadvantaged.  If I were to go street exploring today I may have a collection of shots of men past their prime wearing Ed Hardy shirts and girls with sweat pants hanging off their hips advertising someone’s company on their bum.  If you want to become a better photographer (besides actual shooting on a regular basis) you need to be able to understand what it is that attracts you to an image. Is it the light?  If so can you figure out where that light source is coming from?  Is it from the a window? Is it in back of the subject” Etc. I am constantly flipping through magazines, books, even on-line and if an image is of interest I will try to figure out what it is that compels me to look further.  It may take time to figure out why a photograph works, but it is a good exercise + habit to get into.  If I had more time I would be flipping though Vivian’s portfolios all the day long.  I am that taken with both her talent and this tale. The young man, John Maloof, that introduced her to the world has begun production on a documentary, you can take a peek at the trailer here. There is also a book that would be welcome in any aspiring photographers collection.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.




I have mentioned the Framed Network when I discovered it during its premiere season.  If you are a photography buff I can not recommend this site enough. It’s a well produced show of  interviews with today’s most celebrated photographers and up & comers. The photographers are culled from every aspect of contemporary genres-maternity-children, seniors, wedding, family, commercial, fashion, beauty, action etc.  They are on season 3 now, so you will have plenty of interviews to go through and you will leave their site duly inspired!  They recently released a set of episodes under their ‘Film’ series which is hosted by film photographers Ryan Muirhead, Tanja Lippert and Tia Reagan (who is also an amazing stylist + make-up artist).  I am going to give you fair warning here, please do not judge the episodes immediately by the hosts being a bit goofy, some of you will roll with it and others may be like, ‘what the what?‘. This trio is super talented, very generous with their knowledge and you will learn so much, especially about working with light.  The #15 Episode at the penitentiary blew.my.mind.  You really get to see how light will effect the end image. I loved that episode and if it’s the only one you watch of their series you should walk away from it a lot more inspired to shoot in more interesting lighting conditions. For me it just made me want to shoot! Throughout the episodes they will discuss what type of cameras they are shooting with, the names of the film and settings.  It’s even great for those that have no desire to shoot film but just want to learn how professional photographers and shoots go down, it’s definitely a behind the scenes look and you do feel privy to information that you usually aren’t readily exposed to.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. This week is dedicated to film photography, she sure hopes you leave here a bit more inspired!


film is not dead besotted blog

filn is not dead besotted blog ii I grew up when film was the only option for photography, but I never took a class, although I wanted to.  It came down to budget. When I was in school you could only take a photography class if you had access to a 35mm manual camera, unlike now where you could get one (a good one at that) for under $20, cameras were very expensive and since I knew nothing about photography other than I had an interest in it, it seemed like something out of my reach. As a young adult I was still interested, but photo classes at the time ran hundreds of dollars. What I LOVE the most about the internet is that it is very democratic, you don’t have to be part of the elite to be able to explore your interests. There’s a plethora of information at your finger tips and I hope in a small part that I too am now contributing to that.

When I met my boyfriend (now husband) the one thing that impressed me the most was how intently he listened to what I was interested in. I told him I always wanted a camera and for my birthday he gifted me one. It changed my life, it wasn’t just a camera but a new set of eyeballs. I will be forever grateful. Now as an adult, a little older than my younger self, I am thrilled that there is a whole subset of photographers out there embracing the film medium and making it accessible to people like myself.  I was initially very frustrated with the information that was available about film photography.  When I first started dipping my toe into the analog photography waters I checked-out books from the library, but they all seemed over my head, I wanted to know how to be able to use film in the 21st century. As  I researched further, one name continued to pop-up time after time and that was Jonathan Canlas. Jonathan had started teaching workshops called Film is not dead.  The workshops were way out of my price range, since photography for me is a hobby and not my profession, I couldn’t justify the investment.  I did sign-up for Jonathan’s mailing list and was glad I did. The day his book with Kristen Kalp became available he announced it and I bought it.  It is by far the best book for a newbie to film in these modern times.  Jonathan’s style is more masculine than what I would shoot (or could shoot), the book is very no-nonsense and conversational.  He goes through everything–film, cameras, settings, film development with beautiful examples of his work throughout the book, all in a voice that is very easy to comprehend. If you have any interest in film photography buy this book!  I say buy rather than check-out at the library because I often find myself going back to it and looking things up, it’s a reference and I would be sad if I couldn’t have it at the ready.  It has made me covet medium format photography and I want a Contax 645 camera more than just about any camera (including the Canon Mark 5D III). If you are scratching your head and wondering where to start get the book!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.


Jen Huang Photo Workshop BesottedLast week I mentioned we were moving again and a lot of emails and phone calls ensued asking where? When? Etc.  I can tell you that I quite don’t know yet, but I do know we will be leaving our country home in the South this May. I have the opportunity to attend Jen Huang’s Photo Workshop next week in Santa Barbara and decided it would be the most perfect time to start scouting potential locations for our next home.  I will start my adventure in the City of Angels, drive to Santa Barbara for the workshop and perhaps get the good fortune to meet a long admired friend I met via these interwebs. I will fly to San Francisco (my favorite American city) and get to meet another lovely new friend, more scouting and then off to Seattle to scout some more and meet even more amazing people!  Yes, being isolated in the country has made me extremely social on the internet, I have broken out of my hermit shell and am blossoming into one of those people that takes initiative and actually meets people IRL (that’s in real life), how very novel!  I now know that I want to be living in a place where there are people and I can walk to get good coffee in the morning. Not too much to ask for, right?

But back to the workshop! Once I finally share my goals with you (one of which is to work on my procrastination problem), you will see that I have actually started to accomplish much of them and we are only three months into 2013! This is a great sign. I love progress. One of those goals is to focus on becoming a better photographer and to try an alternative photo process, this workshop is a film workshop which would fall under both improvement + an alternative (to digital) process. To say I am out of my mind with excitement is a complete understatement. If you have been on the internet you have seen Jen Huang’s work, it is hard to miss as she is often featured on the very best wedding blogs in the world and her work is pinned about a zillion times an hour. She is wildly talented, smart and this is the kicker–beautiful. Really? Are you allowed to possess all three things?  Aren’t there laws in the universe against this? And she’s nice too, just an all around wonderful individual. I feel so lucky that I was able to land a coveted spot in her workshop as they usually sell out as soon as she mentions them, for good reason the word on the street is she goes above and beyond your expectations. I just feel so honored to be able to be in the same room with her. I have so many unanswered questions about working with film (which I have been experimenting with on my own for the past 8 months) and it’s going to be great being around other film enthusiasts. Li Ward a photographer + lettering artist whom I featured here previously attended Jen’s NYC workshop and had nothing but great things to say and even better results. I can’t wait to start my adventure!

P.S. Next week I will be devoting the entire week to film photography, what I have learned so far, cameras, film types, resources, inspiration and even re-creating the look in the digital darkroom!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She’s traveling to the West Coast next week and can’t wait to see the Pacific.

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