Knowing Your Subjects Well

bri-running-2-smallOne of the most important considerations of a photographers work is the subject matter they choose to make photographs. Sounds almost simplistic, doesn’t it?

But there is a great deal of thought that goes into this part of what we do. If we have chosen subject matter for any reason at all, it should resonate and help us be more authentic in the work we choose to do.

For instance; if you are a mountaineering photographer, would you not be interested in mountains, hiking or climbing? If you shoot cars, are you not interested in them at all… just metal and wheels?

Car shooters LOVE cars. They LIVE cars. They can tell you about the fins of the 80’s and how big the cylinders the Cobra’s engine had in those classic muscle cars. A fashion photographer can instantly spot the trends, know the designers who are creating them and speak the language of fashion.

And that mountaineering photographer… she knows how to climb and hike and where all the cool places to shoot climbers are.

It is how the most authentic of us begin to work within our tribe. And it shows in the images.

One of the photographers I am working with loves motorcycles, in specific the older, retro designed bikes like Triumphs and BSA’s. He is not a kid though, and his friends reflect that as well. It is his tribe, and bikes are mixed with kids and the suburbs, day jobs and long weekends.

A niche he plans on using in order to build a stronger lifestyle book, along with the rugged outdoors folks who hike the Appalachian Trail in winter, the ridges of the Canadian Rockies in the summer.

It is the same people he spends time with when not shooting or working.

His tribe. His subjects. His authenticity.

A few examples of authentic photographers working in their own tribes.

Matt and Agnes Hage: Adventure Photographers.


The Hages live in Alaska because the love the mountains and hiking where the wild things are. They have turned that love affair with the rugged outdoors into their subject matter and are shooting for editorial and advertising clients all over the world.

When they are not climbing and shooting for clients, they are climbing and shooting for themselves. Their lifestyle IS the one they photograph for, and with the people who are part of that lifestyle.

Scott Toepfer photographs his friends, their interests and what they love. The west coast surfing, motorcycle, freedom loving youth are where he turns his lens. His tribe, his life, his subjects.


Scott has captured that culture, his culture, very well. And advertisers are wanting that authenticity brought to their products and services BECAUSE it is real and authentic

If Scott is not shooting motorcycles, he is probably out with the tribe riding them, hanging out with the buds and living the lifestyle he portrays in the work he produces.

Scott and I chatted about photography and it is here on Lighting Essentials.

Tara Donne loves design and food and travel. No small wonder it is what she makes photographs of as well as living that life. She loves to cook, and she loves to shoot food. Her travel bug is ignited by and paid for by her photography. Exotic locations are where she loves to go, and the images show us the excitement of visiting far away places. The food, people and quirky little vignettes are what she would shoot if she were on vacation.


Her tribe, her images, her way.

Can you work with subjects that you do not have a personal affiliation with? Sure… because you live that lifestyle through the camera, the work, and the professional friends you make while working. And you KNOW it, and how to portray it with real insight.

You may be an older guy who loves to shoot fashion. And that work becomes your passion and your subject. It doesn’t mean you have to hang out in clubs and do shooters with 21 year olds, it means that you have to understand that lifestyle and bring that authenticity to the work.

You find yourself knowing more about designers, makeup, hair trends and style than you may have ever expected to, but it is an interest that brings authenticity to the work.

In short, your tribe, your interests, your passions… they make the best subjects. And if you come to the subject from a different passion, let them engage your imagination and spark an interest that goes beyond the surface, and into the heart of the matter. Making YOUR photograph is the most important thing, and being involved helps you stay focused.

As we look at new and exciting new opportunities for photographers, it can also be wise to consider who we are, what we do, and who our own tribes are. Finding authenticity in our own lives and watching that interest become a part of our subject matter can be quite exhilarating. And fun too!

Big Ambitions? Where Do We Start?


I want to ride a bike across the country. I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
I want to photograph the heartland… from an old Indian motorcycle… with a view camera.
I want to do a photo story on Ecuador and Peru and the percussionists of South America.
I want to be able to do the ‘Quick Step’ on the dance floor.

Big ambitions. Especially the dancing… LOL.

Where do we start? What is the first step?

We can all have big dreams and big plans, but the hardest thing we have to do is to break it down into the smaller chunks and then granularize it even more to a set of actions.

Do this.
Then this.
Then this.

We don’t set off one morning heading for a donut and a cup of coffee and figure, oh what the hell, let’s go ahead and walk all the way to the other side of the continent. Right?


Lately I have been thinking it is similar to building a body of work in photography. I am thinking that there needs to be as much planning in our work image wise as would be in an epic shoot of drummers in Peru.

And that planning should have the same structure as the planning of riding a bike across country. Where, when, contingency plans for snow and rain… life.

We have all ridden bikes before. I do it a lot these days. Grab the bike, head out the gate and think… where am I gonna go today. And it is usually within the neighborhood. My bike is not a road bike, it is a beach cruiser so it only has one speed… whatever I pedal.

So distance is measured by how much of a workout I am going to commit to, and what my time frame is.

Short little jaunts in the immediate neighborhood. Safe. No need for planning at even the granular scale. Ride away, turn around, ride home.

Photographically I have been doing the same thing. Safe, comfortable… out and back again imagery that works nicely and I enjoy.

Time to get uncomfortable again. To ride farther than I normally do.

Planning a photographic body of work, what I want to accomplish this year in images is a rather new endeavor for me. I have always been led by my instincts, the clients I had, and the fun of making images that I like.

Nothing wrong with that until it becomes less comfortable and less fun. And one looks back on a year of images and realizes there was no direction, no cohesiveness… no ‘body of work’ that can be discerned overall.

Glimmers of a direction, and some fine shots… but a disappointing year of work for me leads me to be more deliberate this year.

Deliberate… not sloppy, or crude, or slap-dashed, or semi-planned, or sorta-in-a-way… DELIBERATE.

This has been top of mind for me for the past six or seven weeks. I want to create images that are both deliberate in construction and as a collection – cohesive and tight and planned for reasons that can be articulated… even if just for me.

Where do I start? What comes next?

Identifying the problem was easy, and a bit painful… now it is time to set forth on the corrective path and the myriad roadblocks that usually hide in the mist are making themselves highly visible.

Old habits… die hard.

New habits are even harder to create when we are not certain how to proceed to begin with.

I have been planning a lot of new teaching materials, and teaching plans for this year. And not all are revolving around the technical aspects of photography. I am planning for some philosophical and artistic discussions, perhaps a workshop or meeting of the minds as well. That planning goes well for me… it is in my DNA to plan that sort of thing.

Now I find myself having to plan out my work as well. And I am struggling against forty years of discipline in a craft in order to break away and do something different… something without a different set of disciplines. Or at least a new set of challenges.

It is possibly one of the more challenging things I have done in a long time… well, I haven’t completely done it yet… still in the opening throes of it.

I know when I must start… today. Every day is today.

Every day is the opportunity for something new… now to find the courage to grab on to a corner of that fleeting opportunity and take it for a spin.

Just around the neighborhood… I can always turn around and go home. It’s safe.

And one day… I may just decide to keep on going.

I’ll keep you posted.


“What is Wet?” – Project 52 Assignment

Some beautiful work from the Project 52 assignment on ‘wet’.

From the assignment:


Shiny, smooth, liquid… wet is – well, wet.

And we have to show “Wet” in a photograph. For a client who wants to keep things dry.

You can approach this one in three ways:

You can show something very, very wet. And make the photograph speak to the power of being wet, and how that may be a challenge down the road a bit.

You can show something very, very wet that is purely for the fun of being wet… as long as it shows the detail of the ‘wetness’.

You can show something repelling the wetness from it’s surface. Like a deck protectant, or a sealer for cloth.

The title of the shot would be “Wet” and obvious to anyone looking what that referred to.

How do we show “Wet” – in a photograph?

Wet things are shiny. Wet things have highlights and speculars that show them to be shiny. We will have to have some context around them – or within the subject itself – to make the call that it is indeed wet and not ‘just shiny’… and that means probably some added detail to the wet areas.

We want to see big, ‘liquid’ highlights on this shot – so softbox, scrim or overcast sky with lots of control. White cards are important, and your subject should be chosen with care. (Note… natural wet areas do not count… lakes, streams, rain etc… unless there is a reason or context present in the subject.

Get More Info on Project 52 Summer 2015 here.
Enrollment starts July 3, 2015

An Interesting Negotiating Tactic


… and it is true.

Names have been changed a bit to keep client/photographer privacy.

I had lunch with a photographer today. We had met to go over plans for a big project and chose “The Vig” for delicious sandwiches and salads. What has that to do with the story? Nothing, I just wanted to tell you where I ate so it is kind of an instagram moment.

He recounted this story from earlier in the year:

A prospective client had been in touch with him 5 times in the past two years about shooting his proprerty, a twenty-six unit hotel in North Carolina.

Each time my friend sent him the same bid: $6000 for 16 finished images and a usage of two years.

Recently the hotel owner called and was totally dismayed. “Why so much?” I hired a guy last year and he only charged $800.”

“How did they turn out,” my friend asked? “Since you are calling me today, I am guessing they didn’t do the job.”

The hotel owner was nearly apoplectic. “They were horrible, terrible pictures and didn’t do anything for my business. But you are ten times more expensive.”

“Actually, my images won’t cost you a thing. They will even make you money.”

The hotelier was now very curious… “What do you mean they won’t cost me anything”?

Most of the hotelier’s business came from website bookings. Internal and external research shows that the most important thing a consumer looks at are the photographs of the hotel… even before price in many instances. Having better photographs means getting more bookings.

My bud explained that in detail and then asked: “What is your profit per room, per night”.

The answer was something like $55.

“Well, my photographs are going to cost you .50 a piece per day. $8 a day for 16 images that will help you book a room for $55. A net gain of $47. Even at one booking per week, your costs will be paid. If the images bring in one more booking per day, your costs will be paid in a few months, and then it is pure profit after that.”

$16 per day / $2920 per year / $5840 for 2 years.

“If the images bring in 2 additional bookings per week, that is $110 per week or $11,440 – nearly double what the images cost,” the photographer explained. “How many more bookings would you expect with really great photos”?

The hotelier explained that his chain estimated that great images could add an additional 5-10 bookings per week.

An hour later, my bud received the go-ahead. The shoot was booked three weeks out, shot in a day, and delivered in three days.

The hotelier was so pleased he has shown the photographs to his chain representative who was also fascinated by the breakdown of ROI that my friend had presented.

“It just came to me,” he said over lunch. “I was sitting there and looked at the calculator and thought… oh what the hell.”

Are there ways you can use out of the box thinking to explain cost/benefit to YOUR clients?

I bet there is… and there is a calculator built in to your phone.

Make the case for better by showing them how much more better can produce.

BTW, the hotelier reports much higher bookings as a direct result of the images my friend did.


“Twenty Four Frames In May”

The Project 52 members were tasked with shooting something different: 24 frames of film – and making every image count. This is a very exciting time with digital instantaneousness… but something can be said about taking one’s time to make an image.

Limiting the work to only 24 frames, taken over a longer period of time than one shoot, gives a photographer time to think fully about what they are wanting each and every image to do.

Enjoy this work by a very talented group of photographers:

Jorge Rodríguez Santos

  • Nikon FM2n
  • Lens: 50mm F1.4 AIS, 105mm F1.8 AIS
  • Film: Fuji Neopan 400 processed at home.
  • Scanned on Canon 9000F
  • Slight cropping and straightening.

Jorge Rodríguez Santos Photography

Jorge Fuji Neopan 400

24 Frames in May – “What I saw When I was Out and About”

The only SLR camera in the house: Olympus OM2n with a Tamron 28-70 lens, manual focus. Film: Fuji “Superia” 200 ASA. Accessory; Mickey Mouse camera strap! ;) As an added “challenge”, the ASA dial is screwed up (not correctly aligned), so I wasn’t certain if the camera was exposing correctly. The (10-year-old) roll of film that had been in the camera showed that all of the images were underexposed. I compared exposure settings with my DSLR and set the dial so it seemed to show the correct exposure on the internal meter and hoped for the best.

I really enjoyed the deliberateness of shooting film. Slowing down. Making certain that the angle is right. Should I move here? There? Shoot high? Low? Is the shot actually in focus? Is the exposure as I would like it to be? Is it straight? (most likely not, as it turns out I suck at keeping some shots level)

I felt as every frame was precious and not to be wasted. I think I let that be WAY to controlling instead of just shooting. It took me, therefore, forever to take even 30-some shots! The images are simple, everyday things: “What I Saw When I Was Out and About”

So…out of the 33 frames that I shot, I picked the 24 most interesting shots for the challenge. I dropped of the film at my local camera store, and to days later I got prints and a CD-rom with the images. The images are taken directly from the CD-rom. The only adjustments made is straightening a few of the images.

If I do shoot film again (which I most likely will), I think I will want to find a theme or project to keep me focused.

Tammy Bogestrand / Website


Steve Pamp

Images from morning walks in downtown Denver between May 01 and May 25, 2014.

  • Camera: Canon Rebel2000
  • Lens(es) 50mm f1.8, 28-105 f3.5-5.6
  • Film: Ilford XP2
  • Scanned with an Epson Perfection negative scanner
  • Post Processing – Minor dust removal. Convert from .TIF to .JPG.

I enjoyed this project, even though I had a rough month and wasn’t able to give it my full attention. I enjoyed it so much, that when I dropped off this roll for processing, I picked up 2 more rolls of XP2. Thanks for re-introducing me to the joy of film.

Steve Pamp / Website


Steve Gray

Camera: Minolta X-370, purchased at JC Penney in 1984.

Lenses: Mostly the 50mm f/1.7. I used an 80-200mm zoom for one shot (the dog at the pool)

Film: Kodak SuperMax 400 speed

Scan: Images scanned by and transferred electronically


I did some minor cropping and enhancement in Photoshop (with some light use of Topaz Adjust). One problem that seemed to come up regularly was a light stripe near the left side of the image. I’m guessing that I have a light leak somewhere, but it’s strange that the effect isn’t consistent across the images. When it seemed particularly bad, I tried to correct it a little in Photoshop.

Two of the studio images I made had a strange problem on the bottom of the frame – a whitish glow that I can’t figure out. I didn’t even bother to try and correct these, and they are included as they originally appear.


I started the project as something of a “shot a day” approach, trying to capture something that was happening in my small world each day. One shot – the Harrisburg Capitol Building – nearly got me arrested…but that’s another story.

Because of some other distractions, I started getting behind on the project, so I shifted to doing a still life study, and I chose a pineapple as my subject. I photographed it first at the supermarket (where I was admonished for taking photos), and then I tried several lighting styles and visual approaches with the pineapple (finally stabbing it with a bayonet…hahaha). I had a couple of shots left at the end, so I set up a quick self portrait and another “shot a day” type of image at the end.

Something interesting (to me, anyway) with the effort was the limitation of the mechanics of the camera. The fastest shutter speed is 1/1000, and using 400 speed film was a potential problem in some well-lighted scenes. To get around it, I purchased a 3-stop neutral density filter. When I was using my digital camera (5D classic) for setting up shots, I had to so the mental math to compensate for the ND filter, and adjust the settings accordingly. And for the most part, it worked! It was good to be able to do the conversions on the fly.



Michelle Cushman

  • Camera – Nikon N65
  • Lens(es) – 50mm Nikkor
  • Film Type – Arista 100-35 B+W
  • How Scanned – sent to theFINDLAB for processing and scanning
  • Any Post Processing added – no

Michelle Cushman / Website

The 24 Frames in May project came at the perfect time for me as I was heading back home to Rochester, NY for my youngest nephew’s First Communion. I only took a roll of black and white film and my Nikon N65 with me – no digital much to the disappointment of my family.

This project starts with a photo of the shed at my house that I have captured with my iPhone at various times during this past year. I was curious as to how it would look on b/w film. I took a few scenic shots about halfway through our seven hour drive just outside of Williamsport, PA. The family shots before going to church turned out fairly well and I am happy with those. I included an accidental shot (crooked shot in a parking lot) because well, you can’t delete those that are taken like you can on a digital camera. The series ends with a photo of the house I grew up in, a few shots from breakfast the morning we left to go back home as well as my entire family (minus me) and a few more scenic shots from a rest stop in Pennsylvania.


Alfred Kypta

The bridges and falls on the Androscoggin river project was photographed between Lewiston and Brunswick Maine, I think I will extend the project as time permits.

I shot this images on a 15 year old Fuji color film ISO 400, camera was Nikon F4 with 28-85mm f3.5 lens.

Alfred Kypta / Website


Rob Davidson

  • Camera information: Mamyia 6
  • Lenses: 50mm, 75mm and 150mm.
  • Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100
  • Processed in Kodak XTol 1+2 dilution at home in a Jobo CPE2
  • Scanned: using a light table and Hasselblad H4D
  • Postprocessing: dust removal and contrast correction in Photoshop CC
I approached this project by limiting myself in terms of film, camera and subject. My family recently moved into a new home and this is our first spring since the move. I decided to study the lines, light and details of our house and yard throughout the month.



Instagram: rob_davidson

Twitter: @robdphotography

24 Frames Rob Davidson

Rob Marcil

  • Film: Fujicolour Superia 200
  • Camera: Minolta X-700
  • Lens: 24mm F2.8 MC w Rokkor-X


  • Converted to B&W using one of the default presets in Lightroom 5.
  • Adjusted exposure -0.8 stop

Rob’s Flickr Page.

I enjoyed this project. I shot the roll in 3 or 4 sessions. I tried to show the relationship of my town, and the water that surrounds it…

I liked the feel of this camera in my hands, and I love the lens. I only have cheap kit lenses for my Nikon D90, so shooting with the Minolta glass was a pleasure.

Almost all images were taken at F8. I used my sekonic meter, to set the camera. I found that the meter in the Minolta, was slightly different that the sekonic. I think I tried to average the two. In the end, I should have just followed the sekonic. I found that every exposure was over exposed by about a stop. I found the images to be a bit boring in colour, so I converted them to B&W. Also, I had to rotate every image -1 degree.

Anyway… this was fun. I am a bit disappointed in the scans however. The company I used to develop the film scanned them in at a relatively small size.(1544 X 1024)

Thanks, Rob


Reed Waters

  1. Voigtlander Vito II circa 1951
  2. 50mm
  3. TriX
  4. scanned by processor
  5. boosted contrast a bit

Reed Waters / Website | Reed’s Facebook Page | Images on Flickr


Chris Dean Camera and film info

  • Camera: Yashica Electro GTN
  • Lens: 45mm 1.7
  • Film: Kodak Porta 400
  • Scanned by Photographique (
  • Post-processing: some cropping, straightening and curves adjustment

Chris Dean / Website


Twitter: @chrisdeanphoto

Instagram: @chrisdeanphoto

Larger version of the photos: Flickr

This was my first time shooting film and it was fun. I’ve spent a lot of time making my decisions about photography more deliberate, but in this case I decided it would be fun to approach my everyday environment with an open mind and shoot the scenes that sparked my interest while I was out and about. I tried to concentrate on what it was that I originally found interesting about each shot, but took time to explore and refine it, all the while being conscious that each frame was precious. I can’t wait to get another film back from the lab!


Tomas Jansson

  • Camera: Bronica 645
  • lens: 75mm
  • Film Kodak b/w Tmax 100 and 400
  • Scanned by lab (Crimson, Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Processed in ACR and PS.

Tomas Jansson / website:

Instagram Flickr


Nicole Fernley

  • Camera: Minolta Maxxum 5
  • Lens: Minolta 28-90mmD
  • Film: Ilford HP5 400 B&W
  • Scanned by the lab
  • A few crops in post processing

Nicole Fernley / website


Good challenge. I learned a few things about myself, not least of which is that I am a pretty bad chimper. I becomes painfully obvious when you keep looking at the blank black back of the camera.


Kine Meijer

  • Camera: Nikon F4
  • Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.4D
  • Film: Portra 400
  • Scanned: At the lab
  • Post processing: Small global adjustments in contrast and color (CS6)

Kine Meijer / website



It is my first time trying out this camera and this project was a great way to explore it. I started with no light metering, but soon realized I didn´t have a clue about how ISO 400 works in daylight. After several images, I started using my digital camera to make a better guess. I live at the Swedish west coast and this project was in perfect time to frame the Swedish Spring. Both my father and I had our birthdays in May and I was spending some time in my hometown Trollhättan where my parents live and some of the images were taken there. But most of the pictures are taken around Gothenburg. I´m also including myself in some of the images, at least my feet and hands. The Portra film gave a nostalgic feeling to the images that I like. The only issue I noticed was the skin tones, especially in the indoor portraits where I brought down the orange color a bit.


Greg Pastuzyn

  • Camera: Konica T4 circa 1980
  • Lens: Hexanon 1.7 50mm
  • Film: Kodak Tri X Pro 400 ISO, dated 2003
  • Processing: Self developed myself with the help of Rob Davidson
  • Scanned by Rob’s scanner, also a classic
  • Post processing: contrast, curves, levels in PS, along with a lot of dust removal

Greg Pastuzyn / website | Insidious Tomatos

My thoughts on shooting film It was a throwback to say the least. I can’t say I miss it much but it was fun to do. I learned it isn’t very difficult to develop the film, ala the Rob Davidson method. I like the grain in the film much more that digital noise. It was nice to know you were focused on something as the prism doesn’t lie. I would say that for almost every shot I looked at the back of the camera to see the image. Even the Corvette owner asked to see what it looked like (after I said I was shooting film). Will I take up film again? Maybe not with the Konica. Perhaps if I find a good deal on a medium format.

Click here to learn more

  1. A Honda 70, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”
  2. 1976 Super Glide
  3. Dying flowers with an unexplained light streak
  4. Old sneakers
  5. Tree limbs and leaves, I think the light was interesting that didn’t come across in the image
  6. Open windows
  7. Rotting logs, the rising sun was casting an interesting light on them
  8. Wood/stick pile, again the rising sun was casting an interesting light on them, doesn’t look like it came across
  9. 1968 Corvette, could have used the help of some reflectors for the grill
  10. I have no idea, don’t remember taking this shot and not sure why
  11. More tree limbs and leaves, again, the light was interesting and I didn’t realize I had already gotten a shot of this
  12. Old cars with some lens flair
  13. 1975 Sportster gas tank
  14. Pier at sunset
  15. Sunset on Raritan Bay
  16. A different angle on the pier
  17. Railing
  18. Shed in backyard, I liked the way the light was playing on the leaves
  19. Can’t see it, but there were ominous clouds over the house
  20. Another attempt to capture the ominous clouds over the house
  21. Another light playing in the leaves. Most likely I was sitting on the deck, a few beers in, reading the paper when I noticed the light
  22. Rusted iron gate, loved the texture
  23. Beer tap handles in a local pub
  24. My kegerator tap handles
  25. 2001 Roadking


Rasmus Hald

  • Shot with Yashica D TLR
  • 120 film, Fuji 160 color neg
  • Scanned by the lab.
  • Only very small WB and exposure changes done in LR on 4 images, the rest are untouched.

Rasmus Hald / website Link to the images gallery Facebook page

Contact sheet

Dennis Mong

This was a fun challenge. I have been taking pictures with film for most of my life, but only making photographs for the last three years or so. Learning to “write” with light is quite a bit more challenging than documenting a vacation or family gathering. My recent learning was all accomplished with digital. My first dslr was a Rebel T3 with the 18-55mm kit lens and before that a Sony pocket camera. I didn’t realize how far back I would have to go in order to shoot a simple roll of film.

Rewind about two years, no, make that 20, err 50, oh forget it, let’s go back to the beginning. 1937, the year my Leica was made and sold. My grandfather took possession of it from his wealthy employer in the early 1950′s and it dangled around his neck every time I saw him as a kid. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than why would it take so long to take a single picture. How many light meter readings did he need? Well, my grandpa passed away about 20 years ago and the camera changed hands and bookshelves a few times before it arrived in the mail to me about two years ago.

I wanted to use it, but it seemed so daunting. It is a bottom loader and the film has to be cut a certain way so as not to damage the shutter. Problem. At some point a spring broke and the take-up spool would slip when advancing past the second frame. Off for repair. Thank you, Joe Wojcich @ Tempe Camera. This left me with time for only one practice roll. I ran a roll of Tri-X 400 without a hitch. Next up was Kodak Ektar 100 for this project.

My approach with this project was to sort of bring the Leica as a sort of tag along camera. That is why my set of images has a disjointed feel, which is fine by me. About midway through the project I found myself going straight for film on many shots, leaving my dslr in the bag, not even for a test shot. My light meter is always close by, so digital test shots feel like a waste of time now. There are no less than three film cameras in my bag now. The Leica, a Canon Rebel SLR I picked up at Goodwill for $15 and an Argus 75 from the same place $4. Good times. In addition, there a couple of old Polaroid Land Cameras laying around and film from The Impossible Project in my fridge. I guess you could say I’m hooked and my grandpa’s Leica is my favorite.

Huge thanks to Don for putting this project together and letting me borrow the Mamiya on the trip. That’s what really got me going!

Dennis Mong / website


Keith Knasiak

  • Camera – Mamiya 645
  • Lens(es) – Mamiya “C” 45mm, 80mm, 210mm
  • Film Type – Kodak Ektar 100 (120). Kodak Tri-x 100 B+W (120), Ilford HP5 160 (4×5)
  • How Scanned – Epson V500 self scanned
  • Post Processing added – it varied from image to image

Keith Knasiak/ Website

I was very excited when I learned of this project. Prior to this, in the very recent past, I had begun playing with film a bit with a Toyo 4×5 camera and I then purchased the Mamiya 645 with which the majority of these shots were taken.

One key reason I started working with film is that some element of photography was missing for me in this new digital age. Don’t take me wrong, I enjoy shooting digital but I guess a I missed the more tactile sense I feel when developing my own film.

Each of these images were processed by me prior to digitization. This is also the first time I have made any attempt at developing color negative film. I had a blast. I learned a lot. One of the most important things that I learned is that I need to hone those rusty old darkroom skills. This is the main reason for the post processing after digitizing that I did. A second important lesson is that I really have a lot, lot, lot to learn about the use of view cameras. And finally and probably the most important lesson was just how much fun photography can be in all of its wonderful manifestations.

24 in May Contact Sheet

Some of our photographers didn’t get their film processed in time. I will add their work as it comes in.

Film is not digital… the shooting of film is a different experience. One that is involves different approaches to the creative process. We cannot see the images when they are taken, so we have to be very deliberate in our approach. It is a slower, more measured approach to making images… one that involves time. The time from exposure to actually seeing the images is an important part of the process. Some enjoy that part of the process.

Very proud of the Project 24 folks who joined in this project and shared their contact sheets with us.