Many people say they enjoy film because they don’t know what the images will look like.  I usually disagree.  Photography is as much of a science as an art.  With proper measurements an image will develop exactly as expected.  It wasn’t until I started pushing film past its intended limits that I felt like I could share in the sense of ‘mystery’. 

Any photograph needs a set amount of light to expose.  I cut that amount of time in half, and in half again, and again up to five fold.  What came out of the camera is a scene unlike anything that existed.  The shadows devour the subjects.  Day can become night and shadows become black holes.  The images aren’t meant to be grim, but they are something that was never real.
I find myself often working with medium format to achieve a shallow depth of field, sometimes narrowing the focus to just a sliver. I spend a lot of time with analog film, but have spent my fair share with digital media as well. While digital tools can make the process easier, faster and more precise, I find myself at odds with it sometimes because it can lack the unique personality inherent in each and every roll of film.

My work is not as interested in narrative or objects as it is in the process, the continual loop of focus and blur, attention, losing attention, so that it may be regained. In finding attention again, you can ground yourself in the moment of your experience, in the simple joy of two lines meeting in a pleasant way and realizing that this is everywhere. And that we are always surrounded by satisfying, meditative images on which to refocus our ever-drifting attention. I sometimes think images within photographs are similar to consciousness; both host an intangible abstract representation of reality with a limited scope of attention. Meaning, the moments captured are filtered through my personal lens and the camera allows me to show you a representation of my mind’s eye. Communication may not be my forte but I love the idea that I can literally share a thought by sharing a picture.

*Portrait by Christine Calhoun, Mamiya 645AFDii, 2019.
caitlin crowley - midwest film photographer. all rights reserved 2019.