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I’ve been a bad bad girl

I will see you soon my friend. :)

So I recently cashed in some granted stock from work…and my original plan was to pay off all my debt and chip a big portion of my Visa bill away…and then I realized I keep paying off the same stupid card because I pay it off, then get sad about giving away all of my money and never getting anything of use. Seriously where does the credit go? So this time around I decided to buy a few things I’ve been meaning to get before I give all my money back to my debtors and continue being fiscally responsible Valerie.

FINALLY, I ordered my film scanner, which in the end is going to save me about 3-5 dollars per roll being developed not to mention the 20 dollars it costs to get a professional negative scan when I need to scan something hi-res, granted I may loose some sleep because while the quality reviews are amazing, apparently this process is slow as shit and I am impatient. I foresee many wine and scanning nights. Either way, I finally put my money where my film is and sacked up to buy one.

I’ve been lusting after this TLR like a cougar stalking her prey at a sports bar on college night for far too long and it will finally be mine. I will finally have in my possession a toy camera that I can respect.

And to accompany my new little toy I decided to get some fun film to experiment with since I’m not really known for testing the waters when it comes to switching up my films. I’m a Fuji and Illford girl, what can I say? I also added a couple rolls of Kodak Ektar and Porta films to see how I feel about those, since I’ve heard great things.

Though I may be out a couple hundo, at least my heart will be happy and I can actually USE these things for years to come (well not the film but ok). I’m going to justify my shopping spree as an investment in my artistic self. So, Merry Christmas to me. :)

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yesterday was payday

I should be saving for my film scanner, and I plan on contributing my first chunk of cash to that this month, BUT friggin Liz showed me this digital photo gear store called PhotoJojo. Although I’m not a digital photographer (at least I don’t consider myself one), they had some really cool stuff I wanted!!! I MUST HAVE THESE SOON.

jpeg necklace (photo links to store)


focusing ring bracelets (photo links to store)

Right now I’m having a hard time justifying a 40+ dollar purchase on things I really don’t need (this is generally how I feel about shopping for clothing in general) but these little goodies are just calling my name. We will see who wins. Checkbook vs Vals Wishlist

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Ansel Adams rollin' deep into the backcountry, I like his style- standing on top of his car.

Lately I’ve been noticing myself having dreams about cameras.  Specifically toy cameras. Toy cameras are essentially cheap(ish) plastic cameras that are meant for casual photography, lately they’ve been seeing a resurgence in their popularity because of the unintentional effect they create on photos, light streaks, double exposures and what have you.  They’ve even become extremely mainstream in the hipster community thanks to Urban Outfitters and the like.

the Holga camera, medium format (120mm film)

But anyway, I’ve been dreaming about these cameras lately which is very odd for me.  Since I first heard about Holga cameras when I was in high school I’ve always wanted to dabble with toy cameras but I never really did it, mostly out of forgetfulness.  Lately I’ve been reading up on some other photoblogs like I Still Shoot Film (really heavy on cross-processing which gives the photos a cool color effect) and this other blog about this relatively unknown street photographer Vivian Maier who has become quite famous posthumously when someone bought all her negatives shot with her TLR (twin lens reflex) on the streets and started developing and posting them.  I think all my late night blog reading has finally caught up to my dreams.

the Instax, spits out credit card sized instant photos

A couple weeks ago I had a dream about the Instax camera.  I was in a photo class with my friends that was being taught by my college photo professor Danita and we were doing experimental photography.  Because of the crappy budget allotted for photography by the school we were given these ancient versions of the modern day Polaroid/Instax cameras.  In my dream they were a cross between a  large format camera (think Ansel Adams and a huge cloth over his head) with a giant flash bulb attached, and the glass plate that normally sits in those large format cameras spat out instant photos, but with all the settings of modern toy cameras.  It was a beast of a thing but surprisingly light in my dream.

the Instax in my dream had a huge old timey flash like this one

Now I’m normally pretty fussy about what I shoot and the exercise of the day was to “capture life” which I felt pretty intimidated about because lets face it I’m a perfectionist and I wanted THE perfect shot.  Time was running out and we were running around campus trying to shoot things so eventually I just gave in and ended up shooting someone jumping on a trampoline who jumped up and did the splits right as I shot it.  When I saw what I had shot I was totally blown away at how much I liked the picture I took on impulse and ended up really liking the Instax in my dream.  I woke up that morning confused but inspired.

a traditional TLR camera, the viewfinder is at the top and usually a large size to allow for shooting near the waist

Last night I didn’t have such a detailed dream as before, but I was playing around with a toy TLR camera and was walking the streets shooting everyone and everything I saw and loving it.  Half the struggle, for me at least, with doing street photography is that its a little intrusive to people if you come up to them or their business with a camera to your face and take their pictures, its much more relaxing to people you shoot if your camera isn’t up in yours and their face.  Enter: the TLR, it allows you to shoot from the waist, giving you the freedom of actually making eye contact and conversing with these street subjects if you dare.

I think my dreams are telling me something. I think they are telling me to be more adventurous in my photo taking and to experiment outside my comfort zone on the things I choose to photograph.  I really want to get the Blackbird toy TLR now, like real bad.  Who knows, this could be the year I go plastic.

the Blackbird Blackbird, Fly (BBF), a toy TLR that uses 35mm film
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My never-ending To Do list…

I’m a list person, if you’ve ever been in my apartment and taken a look at my desk you will find lots of stickie notes with lists on them posted all over.  Sometimes things get done, sometimes I dont cross things off for months.  Since I’ve been spending money on various things non-photography related since Vegas pretty much, my photography ToDo list is ever-growing.

  • get 5 negatives scanned @Photosource and get them print ready so I can do some fancy canvas prints of my best ones.
  • develop the REALLY old Kodak Plus X-Pan roll of film I found in my dads camera bag when I first got my grubby little mitts on his camera gear
  • develop these 2 rolls of Illford HP5 that have been chillin’ since my trip to NZ last year and make contact sheets (at the very least)
  • NEATLY organize all my photo files onto my new external 1TB hard drive :)
  • organize all my developed rolls & prints so that they aren’t crammed into 2 too small boxes anymore

Thats probably not even the tip of the iceberg. I still need to reprint a couple of my best b&w’s so I can mount and frame a couple to auction off for a charity thing coming up early this year! Oh and did I mention how my personal goal for 2011 is to get my portfolio ready to have my very first gallery showing ever?  And to open up a store so I can share my stuff with people who are interested in buying???  Head, meet Desk.

An amateur artists work is never done.  I need to quit being such a slacker and start looking at this whole thing I’m trying to do as my full-time job instead of part-time.  I want my part-time job to be something that just pays the bills and my full-time job to be something I love doing.  :)


one of the many fortunes taped to my inspiration board over my desk
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Dear Santa,

Hi my name is Valerie and I know its been a long time (possibly a decade and a half) since I’ve last written to the North Pole, but you see Santa this year I’ve finally decided to get serious about things when I’m the brokest (I know its not a word).  I think I’ve been pretty good this year, definitely not deserving of coal.  You’ve been a pretty fair man to deal with all my life, when I wanted the Barbie RV and mansion/loft and mom and dad were too broke, I got it.  When I asked for name brand clothes my freshman year of high school, you bought them (granted it was from Ross but whatever I didn’t specify).  When I begged and begged for a new car that wouldn’t die on me constantly, you even delivered early on my 23rd birthday and got me “Sally” the 2008 Sentra.

Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE Scanner

So Santa this year I could really use some stuff to help me out in launching myself into a new direction, one aimed towards making a real career out of my talents.  I could really use some  darkroom time at Photosource , and if you really feel like being generous it would really help me out and save me time and money if I could get a film scanner.  I know its asking alot, but I promise not to ask for anything else for a couple more years.  Santa I know I’m not on that naughty list so could you help a Fig out please?  Pretty please.