South America 2017, 35mm Film

It was always going to take more than a slightly sticky shutter and a gang of knife-wielding pickpockets to deter me from having a crack at a few rolls of film. Here’s a few that made it through the development process, albeit with a consistent defect on the right side of the frame.

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

Wildly unsafe at times (like, boys on bikes with firearms were a real consideration), but deliciously Brazilian. I regretted not taking a photo of the very voluptuous woman catwalking proudly up the beach in a thong, carrying a jumbo red and white striped box of popcorn. Girls run the world.

Best butts award goes to Rio.

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SÃO PAULO

A charming and vibrant city, home to a treacle of vintage shops & street art along Beco De Batman. Props to Frank (miss jou) who sat patiently in a couple of stores until I found *that* denim jumpsuit – yes you know the one, and also invested in tequila shots at 2pm to keep us kicking. Would love to come back here one day.

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SANTIAGO

OK so disclaimer I literally had only one day here and yes fine I did take myself on a wine tour (in a group which inevitably consisted of two painfully touristy American sweethearts in cargo shorts, a Chinese couple with broken English who knew more about the economy of Chile than our tour guide, an “I’m just here for the wine and some snaps/ schnapps” Aussie also known as ‘me’, and a lone creepy German guy who was taking a break from his break in Thailand doing… well it doesn’t matter what he was doing there).

Valparaíso was awesome and wish my Lomography expired portra survived the journey, as there were some gorgeous shots of an old guitar player up along the rooftops that I would have loved to see again. Viña del Mar was okay, but I was jetlagged and a bit ~over it~ until we got to the epic vineyard and I experienced a convenient second burst of energy which allowed me the strength to endure a few of their proudest and loudest. Also took a cheeky selfie; I might be using film but I’m sahh modern.

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“Glamarama”, 35mm Film

Periodically, life chews you up and spits you back out like a stick of pale gum.

The past couple of months have been a little blue, sometimes wild, certainly sleepless, and a choice to either grind to a halt, or flourish after the rain.

I want to say a very public thank you especially, to my best friend of 20 something years miss Emma, who picked up my pieces when my life went through a NutriBullet, my little (but kind of older?) brother who helped me move house not once but twice, holding my fragile frame in his arms when the emotional toll grew too large, and to those who chimed in with things I didn’t even know I needed. Family; friends. Kind words, silence, dinner dates, perspective, and offers of everything good under the sun.

Fast forward and I’m lazing in the lounge at Santiago International Airport with a glass of Carménère, waiting for my flight home after an amazing week and a half here in South America with what is quickly beginning to feel like my second family.

When loss occurs in any aspect of life, it’s all too comforting in my experience to slip into stillness in order to preserve grief or punish yourself. It’s easier, isn’t it? To lay back in the cool, dark cave of solitude that nurses your need for quiet. Initially, it’s a gentler way to suffer, but for those on the outside who cannot reach you, time doesn’t slow. The burden of the day-to-day continues, until eventually ties are severed and you find yourself drifting, or left behind.

I’ve been luckier on this occasion to have enough strength to observe my own situation this time from above, to force myself to stay busy, and seek a more balanced pathway to healing. To cry the hot tears, and to feel peace afterwards. To give more weight to the beautiful moments and adventures passed, and let them rightly outweigh any resentment or hurt that threatens to creep in and negate what was shared in 730 days of love.

I’ve spent a little time considering the following; Knowing that I have a finite presence to give, am I focussing on the people I love to the best of my ability? How can I intensify my efforts to support people less fortunate, who’s lives are just as real and fragile as my own? Have I allowed some of my friendships to thirst without nourishment? Have the outlines of the person staring back at me become fuzzy? Am I paying any attention to my physical and mental health? With the time I’m now afforded to focus on myself, what should I be focussing on? Where’s next on the map? And always, how soon can I get back to Paris?

I’m usually awful at sticking with things and lack follow through, growing weary of an idea or fascination as soon as it falls out of my mouth (typical Myers-Briggs “Debator” personality), but photography of all things has outlasted those natural borders and become a solace for me. I don’t require anyone else, it’s not something that can be marked or scratched out in angry red pen, and it’s a method for me to share my happiest experiences, which especially while flying by it’s very nature are so often had alone. I love the simplicity of wandering a new city in my own company, reflective and inspired, but I also love coming back and showing people the emotional pull I’ve attempted to bring home from those places.

As always, Dad has been the technical push I’ve needed to shuffle me along from my safe-zone. The birthday gift of an Olympus OM20 couldn’t have come at a better time, something to distract me, and in my first ever roll of film (see favourites below, shot in the last sunlit hour at Tamarama at my place & down to the beach in prep for South America), something to document my return home to the east where I belong with the Wonderland Girls: Rosalind, Chazzy & Nat. I can’t wait for a hot, endless summer with you.

I suppose if there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that sometimes when one door closes, another bright yellow one opens.

x

 

Shot on the Olympus OM20, Fuji Superia Xtra (35mm, 400Iso)

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