It's been a busy couple of weeks, but thankfully film helps slow everything down.
Today solidified a few things: The best things do come in small packages, I have the greatest friends and it's never too late for birthday cards.
I came home from work this evening to find a handmade card from my best friend (Who else would carefully collage leaves and a yarn message?) and a stack of prints waiting for me. After falling in love with our first batch of 620 film, Tyler and I order two more rolls. While there's always some risk involved in using old film, we take our chances — because finally having them developed always take us back to little, otherwise forgotten moments.
These photos represent every Saturday spent together since the end of July. Carvins Cove, afternoons in Radford and Christiansburg, a Salem Red Sox game, a morning at the Roanoke farmers market and a day in Harrisonburg. Recognize the bridge?
I'm a little disappointed I didn't take more photos during my business trip to Austin last week. But after 10-hour days, I was ready for ice cream and Netflix most evenings. More to come when I get my film images developed.
I don't think it's any coincidence that Tyler and I began our relationship on a bridge. It was a wooden bridge, tucked between a parking garage and Ruby's, the downtown lounge hosting my first photography show. Despite my terrible, sketchy directions that February night, Tyler arrived right on time — and wearing the same shade of cobalt as I was.
It was love at second sight.
In the year and a half that's followed, our lives have arched into one. We've learned how to compromise, share our food (trust me, it's harder than it sounds) and mold our individual interests into new experiences for both of us. We've also taught each other a thing or two. In so many ways, we have combined the best and worst of each other into a beautiful adventure — one that started when two nervous people met halfway on a bridge.
Here are some photos I took when Tyler and I returned to Harrisonburg a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!
When I told Tyler I wanted to go to a major league baseball game for my birthday, he was all about it. So fast forward a few months, and we're sitting (and sweating) in prime seats at Nationals Park in D.C. I couldn't have been happier about my first MLB experience — and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it with anyone else. Tyler is a patient teacher and happily fills in when I can't think of words like "plate" and "batter."
In between the game, metro rides and great food, I was also able to see a few friends in the area. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by people I love even hours from home.
I believe that you are what you surround yourself with. So to stay inspired, I place myself among things I love. People, scents, images, memories — those will always be my strongest motivators.
Of course, as a photographer, my workspace extends well beyond my home or the four walls of my office. But creativity has to start somewhere.
Birthdays call for a little bit of reflection. Here are 10 things I've picked up this year:
1. Quitting doesn't mean you're a quitter. In December, I decided it was time to move on from my first full-time job. While part of me felt terrible for leaving the first employer to take a chance on my skills and passion, I realized that life is about moving forward when you're ready. As long as you apply everything you've learned to your next endeavor, this is a healthy and unavoidable experience.
2. You can be a leader without being a boss. I've been so fortunate this year to land a job that encourages every facet of my creativity. By taking some initiatives, pitching my own ideas and following through with them, I've been able to produce great things with my team.
3. Living at home isn't the end of the world. When I moved back home, I knew it would be an adjustment. In the midst of cramming everything back into my childhood bedroom, I could almost feel the pressure of "Boomerang Generation" being stamped on my forehead. But it's not bad. The time I'm able to spend with my mom and family on a daily basis is something I'll hold on to forever. And have I mentioned there's no rent? My savings account is loving me.
4. Love is enjoying the little things together. Tyler and I celebrated one year together in February. Throughout our relationship, I've learned that the little things will always be enough. While we share a sense of adventure, most of our favorite things don't involve grand plans, plane tickets or a lot of money. Give us a camera, a Netflix series or a 40-count box of Bagel Bites, and we're happy.
5. My friends are the best. There was no other way to say this one. Instead of being down the hall or across the street, we're now hours or a plane ride apart — but that hasn't kept us from making each other laugh every day.
6. It's better to be safe than to owe money. I got my first traffic ticket this year, which means I started crying about 30 minutes too late. Takeaway: Come to a complete stop at all stop signs, because 15 seconds could cost you about $150 in the state of Virginia.
7. Shooting with film is a great lesson in patience. I'll be the first to say that I'm as impatient as it gets. The instant gratification I get from shooting digital is invaluable. That's why I need to shoot with film every once in a while. From start to finish, analog demands a kind of calm and care that everyone should harbor. After all, patience is a virtue.
8. Being an aunt isn't going to be easy. For some reason, I am Amelia's least favorite person. But I'm dedicated to one day winning her over.
9. Listen for stories. Someone once told me that being a journalist, a storyteller, is about giving a voice to the voiceless. Recently, I've been listening closer and jotting down snippets of conversations or facts about people's lives. Everyone has a story to tell and no one wants to be forgotten.
10. Your hometown can become new again. It's so easy to become blind to the everyday. But for me, taking photos is a way to look at something with fresh eyes, to rebuild a connection with the subject. In some weird way, it allows me to carry a piece of its energy with me. Just last week, I began taking photos of iconic downtown Roanoke scenes. Though I've grown up seeing these images, photographing them has transformed my same-old city into a whole new place.