BATHTUB-GATE

bathtub by corey amaroI have been to more than 14 cities in less than 10 days.  To announce I am exhausted would be a slight understatement.  I am still on East coast time whilst in the midst of my West Coast, Best Coast travels so I have been waking up at ridiculously early hours and wanting to go to sleep just when they are serving the Early Bird Special at around 6 p.m. I have powered through this knowing that at my final destination there would be a bathtub with my name on it.

For those of you with bathtubs (and I am pretty sure that must be 99.9% of you), this little soliloquy might seem unfathomable.  By my moving to the country I had forfeited the one luxury I had in life– a bath.  I want to let you know this was not an intentional sacrifice, if I had known I would have put the kibosh on the lease in a New York minute but I didn’t so I signed my name along a dotted line that ensured I would be bath-less for the better part of a year. I wasn’t without a tub, I did and I suppose since I am going back Tuesday I do have a tub, but there are three main deterrents. One is that our bathtub is fiberglass, but might as well be plastic.  Before I lived in the country I did not not know fiberglass tubs existed, I assumed all tubs by nature of being tubs had to be porcelain.  Fiberglass tubs should be relegated for one purpose only and that is for use in a trailer.  There I said it, I mean it and if you own a fiberglass tub and don’t live in a trailer my heart goes out to you. Second, we are on well water, so even if I had a porcelain tub I would have used more than my fair share of allotted well water for the day and thus be fined. A great bath would be worth the fine, but the third obstacle stood in the way and that was hard water.  Hard water is interesting, it makes your skin feel like it will break in half since it depletes all hydration but makes your hair super soft, completely lifeless and unmanageable. It’s a wonder they let me into Los Angeles with my hair suctioned to my scalp and my skin so taut if I sneezed I would break in half.

On the last leg of my scouting tour I checked myself into a hotel that I knew had beautiful deep porcelain bathtubs, balanced water and strong water pressure.  It was my only requirement and all other design elements could be overlooked and forgiven. When I emerged from the bath at the end of the day I felt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.  I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so privileged.

What is one thing you couldn’t dream of giving up for a year?  Do you have a fiberglass tub?  Does it bother you too? Or not so much? Any comments on my potential move?  I am pretty 50/50 between the Bay area and Seattle both offer equally amazing opportunities it’s going to be so impossible to decide!

photo by Corey Amaro

A WEEK OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY | DIGITAL DARKROOM

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I am well aware that many of you don’t have the time or inclination to try film out, but still would like to achieve the look in the digital darkroom.  There are many ways to do so, but I am going to just go over the ones that I feel are the most authentic looking and the easiest to use.

I have been shooting with the VSCO app on my Iphone pretty much since the day they released it to the public.  I had been following some photographers that were in beta testing with the app and It was killing me to not get my hands on the #VSCO that I kept seeing.  This is a nominal investment for such a simple app with stunning results. The more lofty investment is the Lightroom presets, which I do own.  I had waited until they had improved the .jpeg conversion as I don’t shoot in RAW.  It’s one click, filmy goodness.

I mentioned 9 Lives Photoshop actions last year, but it deserves another mention. The designer of the actions, photographer Kim Miller has introduced more sets and is working on Lightroom versions  Kim has made her actions very affordable and they truly emulate film.  My only complaint is that the layers are not grouped, but you can always record that into the action if you know what you are doing. If you work with actions often you’ll understand why a grouped set is ideal, it may not bother you.

One of the signs of film is grain.  In digital photography we are usually trying to avoid this at all costs, but for the sake of emulating the film look you could shoot in lower light raising your iso almost as high as it can get.  I feel this produces lots of fine grain and when the photo is converted to black & white you get a very film like effect. This would be the most cost effective route to play with film effects in the digital darkroom.  Or you could always start in film by picking up a disposable camera like the talented Amy Merrick has done and try your hand at getting beautiful shots like these.

Photo by Eleanor Petry

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.

A WEEK OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY | ELLIOTT ERWITT

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.

WEEK OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY | VIVIAN MAIER

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.

A WEEK OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY | FILM

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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!