Living in an instant-gratification world certainly has its perks (here’s looking at you, minute rice!), but I often wonder what the ramifications of our fast-paced society will be. Lately, I’ve been taking steps to incorporate small lifestyle changes that harken back to an era when things weren’t so… harried. A time when neighbors chatted at mailboxes and lemonade glasses were filled and re-filled and re-filled again over endless front porch conversations. One of those small changes has been reading and studying older methods of creative pursuits – specifically film photography. And although I didn’t anticipate becoming so terribly fascinated by this subject, I also didn’t expect to stumble upon the work of someone like Jon Duenas.
Jon lives in Portland and is a self-taught film photographer, shooting with cameras older than he is, and although he loves the colors and tones and grains of the method, it’s the challenges of the medium that he treasures most. “I can’t shoot off 1,000 frames, so it forces me to slow down,” he writes. “Each frame costs me money, so it forces me to be intentional. And I don’t have a screen that shows me the photo I just took instantly, so it forces me to stay focused on the moment, not get distracted, and be confident in knowing I got the shot without checking.”
It’s a beautiful idea – to remind ourselves that we don’t have 1,000 frames. We have one. One lifetime and one body and one today. And I often wonder if I’m shooting for my moment – or if I’m distracted and unfocused and unintentional.
The bright side, of course, is that life is stacked with moments that require more of us, beckoning us to change and grow and learn – if only for the moment at hand. And much like a photographer must look for a glimmer of honesty in his subject, I can do the same in myself.
“I’m not like a painter who spends days and weeks pouring over one scene,” Jon writes. “Photography has become a way for me to find these moments that connect with me right in that instant. A movement. A shadow. The light when it hits a person’s face. A genuine expression that is gone a second later. I know that sounds kinda pretentious, but what I love most about being a photographer is not only having a way to save those moments to appreciate them even more, but it’s given me an excuse to seek out or even create these moments.”
And today, that’s precisely what I’m attempting. To seek out and create moments – moments of joy and depth and meaning. Moments of purpose. To sit down with my family and loved ones, pour a glass of lemonade and connect until the last ice cube thaws, drinking in the moments we’re given.
Image Credits: Jon Duenas
p.s. Just for fun: more double exposure images.