Wynn Goes to Paris

Shoots Film

Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Eiffel Tower from Place du Trocadero ©2018 Wynn Geary

 

As a child my son’s passions were art, architecture and soccer, photography was his Dad’s domain. It wasn’t until I taught a pinhole workshop at his school that he made his first photograph. Later, I gave him a 35mm point and shoot which he personalized by covering it with bug stickers. I loaded it with a 36 exposure roll of film and not fifteen minutes later he was back for another roll. That little camera is still tucked away in a drawer in the kitchen.

I began experimenting with digital photography using a Nikon Coolpix. I later purchased a Canon D30 and gave the Coolpix to Wynn to preserve my film stash.

My strategy worked for a while. He’d shoot as much as he wanted then download the photos onto his Mac G3. Then one day I asked him if he needed fresh batteries because I knew the Coolpix was a power hog. He dug through his backpack but couldn’t find the camera. “ I must have left it at school,” he said. 

A week later he came home and pulled the camera from his backpack. He told me he had it with him when he and his friends where hiking in the woods and that a girl had tripped and injured her knee. In typical Miquon School fashion everyone dropped everything and rushed the girl to the office for first aid. The Coolpix had spent the week outside, along a trail in the woods, in the rain. I did appreciate his honesty.

The Coolpix survived a week in the elements, what did it in was a broken battery door from the toss of his backpack onto the sidewalk.

Later, Wynn got an iPhone and of course, aside from the ability to text and make phone calls, it had a built in camera. For several years the iPhone was all the camera he needed. With each new iPhone version the cameras got better and better as did the photography related apps.

 

View from Eiffel Tower

Champ de Mars from Eiffel Tower ©2018 Wynn Geary

When Wynn went off to college I gave him my old Canon 20D. Not wanting to give up any of my L series lenses I  bought him  a used 35-80 kit lens.  Coming from an iPhone he found the 20D’s settings and menus confusing. The LCD was too small and the kit lens was too slow. The iPhone remained his camera of choice.

For the past couple of years I have been collecting film cameras. Some, people have given to me, others I find in thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. I still carry a torch for film, especially black and white. I shoot with these cameras occasionally and still maintain a darkroom. You can see some of my recent  b&w work “Thanksgiving Day Parade” in a previous post.

Wynn mentioned he had friends at RISD that had done film photography when they where in high school and that they would like to try it again. I sent Ryan a Pentax ME and an Olympus OM-2 to Skye for their birthdays.

View from Eiffel Tower to the East

View from Eiffel Tower to the East ©2018 Wynn Geary

This got Wynn to thinking maybe he’d like a film camera too and that maybe he’d like to have it for his trip to Paris over spring break. I thought it a bit risky, taking a used camera you have never used before on such an important trip. Then I decided, what the hell, he would be taking photos with his iPhone too. 

While I had multiple cameras I could have given him all were 60’s or 70’s era manual cameras in need of some amount of restoration and I wanted to give him a camera with at least one auto exposure mode for insurance.

 

Detail, Eiffel Tower

Detail, Eiffel Tower, Paris

 

Luckily, a few days before Wynn would leave on his trip, I found a Canon AE-1 program at the local thrift shop. It was in great shape and came with a fungus free, 50mm 1.8 lens. It even came with an owner’s manual. When I got it home I installed a new battery and everything worked perfectly. The program mode was a big plus, I would rather he concentrated on content, light and composition than on technical issues.

I shipped the camera along with five rolls of 36 exposure Tri-X which he could send back to me for processing, printing and scanning when he returned. For inspiration I sent him a link to photos of Paris by Andre Kertesz. I told him to not come back with ANY unexposed film.

It wasn’t until the day of his flight that i realized we had never had a discussion about flying with film and x-rays! I texted him while he was on the train to the airport and he texted back that the film was in his suitcase and that it would be checked. I told him that was the worst pace for it as the x-rays for check bags is much stronger and would surely fog the film. He removed it from his suitcase and at the airport he asked for hand inspection. 

 

Here’s what Wynn had to say: Having the AE-1 Program in Paris was a blast, it really gave me the motivation I needed to go into full tourist mode. The AE-1 ended up giving me exactly what I needed, a camera that was super easy to operate, light and durable, and yielded exactly the kinds of photos I was looking for – images that look like they could be prints from IKEA. I’m excited to continue to use my new film camera but am hesitant to take it out without a special occasion. If you would like to send me a roll of film my address is 02 College Street, Box No. 0617 Providence RI, 02903

Check out Wynn’s website to see more of his work in multiple media @ Wynn Geary Design.

 

 

 

Carousel in Paris

Carousel near Metro Saint-Paul, Paris ©2018 Wynn Geary

 

Gardens at Versailles

Gardens at Versailles ©2018 Wynn Geary

Wynn was happy with the results and so was I. I’ve never been to Paris so it was fun to go there vicariously through his photographs.

       Au revoir pour le moment!

Wynn was only 10 months old when I shot this photo for our Christmas card. He couldn’t walk or stand on his own yet. The toy truck not only fit the theme but it gave Wynn something to climb up on. This is the developmental phase between crawling and walking, called creeping.

The toy truck was given  to Wynn by one of my clients. It had belonged to her son. We passed it along to Dae, the son of my good friend Peter, who lives in Maine.

I was still shooting film in those days, in this case 120 color negative film in a Hasselblad  with a 150 lens. The lighting was simple, two lights on the background and a medium softbox and some white reflectors on Wynn. The hardest part of the shoot was wiping up the drool from the seamless.

It’s hard to believe the Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands was released nearly two decades ago. I guess that’s an indication of a true classic.

I was flipping through the channels one evening, trying to find something both Wynn and I could watch when I stumbled on Tim Burton’s,” Edward Scissorhands.” Not long into the movie Wynn said, “Dad, I know what I want to be for Halloween!”

While I was glad he had decided on a costume, a decision that seems to get more difficult each year, I also felt some trepidation. We had always preferred to make Wynn’s costumes rather than buy them off the shelf and it was usually me that had to pull them together.

After the movie, I did a Google Image search for Edward Scissorhands. As I expected, I found quite a few stills from the movie. I also found images of everyday people, who had attempted the same transformation, some better than others. The basic get up would require; a black leather jacket, black pants, black boots, and lots of belts with big buckles. Make up would consist of lots of hair gel, and some white, black, and red face paint.

The most important aspect of the costume, the scissorhands, where sourced at the local, fly by night, Halloween shop. I found a jacket and multiple belts at the Salvation Army and luckily, his boots from last years “Igor”costume still fit. Thanks to my Hair Stylist Chrissy, for the super strong “Disrupt” hair gel.

I lit Wynn with one bare Lumedyne head fired by a Pocket Wizard. I dragged the shutter to burn in the background. I would have loved to have placed another light, right behind him, to accentuate his hair but Wynn was too anxious to go “Trick or Treating,” to wait for me to set up another light.