For this year’s monthly photo challenge, I’m submitting this photo for March, which is the theme blur. I’m calling the image “Forward Facing Nostalgia.”
My wife Tina was so happy to be my model for this one. She asks to be a part of my creative processes a lot. The only reason she’s not in every photo is because there are a lot of photographers with the same person in shots, and it makes me think they don’t have access to a wider range of models.
But then you have super creative forces like Jamie Beck at Ann Street who uses herself as talent all the time and it makes me question those thoughts.
It’s weird. There are people who I think are narcissistic when they constantly post self portraits. But then there are others like Beck whom I don’t feel as judgmental toward. She makes such amazing art that I become more jealous than judgmental of how she’s in so many of her own photos.
Regardless, this image was inspired by my memories as a little boy, sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car or cars, looking out the windows and constantly making up imaginary stories of myself outside the car riding a bike, jumping over mounds or cars, and weaving through trees and people’s front yards. It also reminds me of when we drove down the road and I would sing to myself with my mom, dad, brother and sister in the car, but I would pretend I was alone.
I wanted the image to have a sense of fantastical motion. I layered images and I ended up loving the double exposure look of Tina’s face twice.
To get the shot, I fixed a camera to the seat rest and a light. I got some exposures of Tina sitting still. Then my idea was to get long exposure shots all the way from downtown Chicago to our home. A 20 minute drive.
It was an all or nothing move. The camera ended up being too heavy for the device I used to hold it. It was a little metal arm. I ended up having to hold the camera with my right arm, driving with my left and trying not to be a totally distracted driver. We ended up with 30 or 40 exposures. We used a Camranger to trigger the camera by having it take 20 shots in a row at 1 to 1.2 seconds a piece.
If I did it again, I would find a lovely place with lots of traffic. I would not move the car, but have tina just sit by the window and let cars pass, doing long exposures. I would then get a couple solid exposures of her at 1/15 or 1/30 a second and combine them in post.
But doing it again isn’t the challenge. Going out and making a photo is the challenge. Learning from it, the mistakes or the successes, and using it to inform my work from here on out. I love that.
I hope you enjoy the photo. Check back for a BTS video soon.