A Year of Creative Endeavors

  1. In 2023, I got to explore a whole year of creativity, namely in film photography, photographic darkroom printing, piano and saxophone-playing, and drawing
  2. Film photography felt like an old friend I was coming back to: I was already shooting film 20 years ago, but dropped off for the digital world
  3. In moving to San Francisco, I also found a community of film photography experts and enthusiasts around whom I could build a creative practice
  4. It's much easier to continue pursuing a hobby when there are events to attend, people to share, and spaces to go to for it
  5. I crossed off the vast majority of items on my learning wishlist for photography: I learned to bulk roll film, I learned to shoot medium format, I learned to develop film in all processes, I learned to scan film and also print (in a darkroom, and digitally)
  6. I'm now reasonably confident in all of those things, enough for me to be able to print photos for art shows
  7. Not sure where I want to go with the printing thing, but it came in handy when I also, in the last two months of the year, started teaching photography at a community space in my neighborhood
  8. I gave disposable film cameras to participants (who are either unhoused or who mostly live in the supportive housing in the area), who then went forth and took photos of their lives and experiences
  9. A local film lab helped us develop the negatives, and I printed out a selection of participants' photos for a small private art show at the community space. I am now working on documenting and showing some of this work online and will share it when I am ready!
  10. In developing a 'creative practice', I've come to see that the work I do in photography or in music (or even meditation) all have similar roots
  11. It's all about establishing a regular practice on something in my life where, maybe I won't ever be a professional, but it's something that I personally really enjoy and can learn from
  12. It's enough joy to be able to work on these hobbies that bring me peace and solitude
  13. When I sit in a completely dark darkroom, that's one of the only times I am away from a screen
  14. The hour or three that I spend in one helps me center my thoughts around creating something beautiful that can bring happiness to someone else (my wife, for example, really likes having prints so she can decorate our home with it. I also love giving prints to friends)
  15. Given that I stepped away from photography for a decade or so because I was burned out by the practice of commercial photography, which killed my love for it and which also made me uninterested in picking up a camera for a very long time, I'm very happy with... this, whatever this is!
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