So, I finally did it. After a year or more of someone(s) telling me to take a class with Jonathan Canlas, I did it. And the F.I.N.D. (Film Is Not Dead) class was everything I hoped it would be and more. And not so much for the knowledge about film, or old expensive cameras that smell like your broom closet (in a good way!), but because of Jon’s honesty. In this industry, so much is shrouded in secrecy – Locations you want to keep to yourself, how you’re doing financially, how you’re booking your clients and what works for you and doesn’t work for you. I’ve always felt like that’s just not the way it should be. Helping others has actually been something that has grown my business into what it is today. So when Jonathan sauntered (yes, sauntered) up to me and gave me a huge hug and said my name without me even introducing myself, I knew we’d get along just fine. But when he launched into how he started, where he’s come from, how he’s grown, what he loves, and the brutal honesty with his business. . . Well, I can’t tell the future, but I hope we remain good friends because people like Jon are invaluable to have around.
The thing about photography these days is that it’s become . . . fleeting. It’s all 1’s and 0’s wrapped up in a computer somewhere. It’s images that get hosted on Facebook and then disappear into the history of our news feeds. RAW files, .tif files, .jpegs. They all have their place in this digital age. But there’s something to be said for capturing something in permanent fashion on a slide, negative, or plate, that solidifies its existence. Having a physical print on quality paper in your hands is, well, amazing.
Imagine for a moment the last time you cleaned out old photos from your grandparents home, or your aunt’s albums, or your cousin’s fireplace mantel. In no way am I trying to drum up sad moments. But think about that. You probably took that image of your parents out of the album and held it, in all of your mom’s poofy-hair glory, and your dad’s keen fashion sense with that baby-blue ruffly tuxedo, and cherished it. It was physical. And we as humans, in this day and age, seem to have lost a lot of the connection we once held to these memories, because we’re worried about buying another terabyte of storage for our 15,000 Instagram pictures instead of printing a few priceless moments and putting them on our desk at work, our walls at home, or on our nightstands, or just holding them in our hands and smiling.
And this is one of the main reasons why I’ve started doing a lot of my personal work on film. Because of the permanence. And this is why I’ve started making sure I keep more prints in my home. Because it exists in tangible medium to convey the emotions of a day, or the moment when a family gathered, a couple said I do, or when my son laid on our bed with a runny nose watching Yo Gabba Gabba (which, by the way, I think you either need to be 2 years old or on acid to watch that show, but I digress). These are the moments I love to have around, that speak to me, and remind of the times I want to be reminded about.
Maybe this isn’t what the F.I.N.D. class is all about, or what Jon intended, but it’s definitely something I took away from it. That and a big hug from Jon, and the joy of seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones who all share a love of photography, digital or film based.
Thanks to our models, N and M, C & R, and all the folks who made this possible – especially you, Denise Birdsong.
P.S. Jon, I didn’t get to pet your beard. What’s up with that, man ? ! ?