Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A Wiitala Brother

While watching a video of the Foo-Fighters playing in a guys basement I realized that half of the tiny crowd was trying to steady their phones, Flip cams and DSLR's while recording this precious event. It made me wonder if our generation is too obsessed with documenting life as it's happening. People literally stream their lives online. I can see what some of my best friends are doing minute by minute thanks to Instagram. It leaves little room for conversation sometimes. You go to tell someone something exciting you saw and because it was already shared online they say "Oh yeah I saw you posted that". Is it all too much?

I think if I would have been at this show, I would have felt conflicted. Wanting to document to remember it but also wanting to just watch and not through an LCD screen!

In some ways this is why I prefer to shoot film. You have to compose the shot just the same but there isn't that constant looking at the picture and retaking it. You really have to think about what you're shooting. Compose it well. Choose what you're shooting carefully because you only have 36 frames.  If you want to share it, that's an extra effort (at least for me. I love developing film and shooting instant films but I truly LOATHE scanning. Especially scanning negatives.)

Watching this video made me think of a photographer I admired for years that I had forgotten about. Her name is Robin Laananen. I remember frequenting her site always hoping to see new photos. She went on such adventures and she was photographing some of my favorite musicians at the time. I revisited her site and it made me think of the part of my life I spent photographing music...

What seems like many years ago I was very active in the music community where I grew up. I can't think of many shows I attended and didn't snap at least one photo of. It was really fun for a long while but when my brother passed and I realized I had hundreds of photos of bands and hardly any photos of friends and family I resented the art of live music photography and kind quit taking pictures at shows almost entirely. It was a big change for me as I had always done it either as a hobby or as a job. It was so much funner just to sit back and enjoy everything without having to think of the next frame or if I would have enough film for the entire set (yes, I'm dating myself I said FILM). I still have a hard time photographing those I love over objects and tiny moments or situated things that just make me smile or make my heart leap but I am trying to work on it. I feel a project coming. One long over due.

Portraits are so intimidating but I find myself drawn to them more and more. I am hoping to take a portrait a month. I know that's not a very big aspiration but trust me, it's going to be difficult for me. I mostly enjoy capturing life as it happens instead of sitting someone down and asking them to look dead into this fake glass eye of mine. Wish me luck on my journey! If everything slows down I also hope to scan in some of my favorite band photography negatives and put them online somewhere. That should be insane to look at now at least five years later.



  1. I love this ... I too find portraits and street photography very intimidating because I am such an introvert. Can't wait to see your pictures and find out how the challenge works out for you.

    I can also identify with the "lifestyle" benefits of shooting film. I choose the medium primarily because I like the end product and feel that film produces better images. But I've noticed how much more fun I have on vacation, at events, etc. when I don't have a digital camera. I can shoot less frames with more confidence, and really enjoy the experience. When I relied on a digital camera, I felt more frantic about capturing everything.

  2. Dude, I could have written this post.
    I also used to shoot bands all the time and in the end had folder after folder of live music shots and after a while I realised they all looked the same and I had to ask myself why I was even doing it.
    I get so annoyed at shows now when people spend the whole gig shooting it on their digital cameras and I want to scream at them and say, "enjoy it, it will be over and you won't have taken part in it!".

    This post really resonates with me, Azuree.
    In saying all that, I'd love to see some of your band shots. :)

  3. What a great post Azuree! I agree with it all. When I'm shooting film, I can't check that last photo to see if the light came out just right and if not take it again. I have to trust my skills and instincts. This in turn leaves me more time to enjoy the beauty without calculating it.

    I am nervous and unsure of my skills with portrait photography. I like to snap away unobserved by people, while I quietly observe them. Part of the reason I got an iphone is actually to encourage myself to take more photos of my life rather than just photos as art. It's not doing to badly. :)

    I can't wait to hear more about your project!

  4. Great words, Azuree. One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to be comepletely honest, and use a genuine voice. Which means that many times I've discussed the magic and superiority (sorry, I'm a snob) of analog photography on my blog. It's important for my clients to know, and always creates a great stir/discussion from my photo community. slowing down and being intentional is what it's all about. digital cameras confuse me. also- love the Foos!

  5. Jess: You are completely spot on. I don't take my camera with me to places where people might start asking me to take pictures of everything. I tire of doing this work when I'm supposed to be a guest!

    Amanda: I wondered if perhaps you dabbled in band photography since your boy is a music writer (is that right?)? I agree, band photography can all look the same, especially when shot digitally (and I'm not even trying to be a snob here- just my opinion). Thank you for the comment. Do you have any of your stuff online anywhere? I'd love to see your band photography.

    Ashley: I'm right there with ya. I'd much rather photograph what's going on than come up with my own concept (I'm not that creative but also, I think life can be so beautiful on it's own, it doesnt always need to be propped!) but I like the challenge of taking portraits. Something new. Thank you for the encouragement!

    I agree. I think with film you have to be extra carefully, especially now that it is increasingly difficult to find a trusted lab, etc. I know some folks that shot digitally and put just as much thought and care into their work if not more and really to each his own but my heart beats to the silver halide drum!

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