Relaunching a Semi-Regular Blog about Film Photography, Life in Alaska, and Growing old and stuff

HOUSE PARTY IN HOMER, ALASKA.

I like to use the Oxford comma. That’s one pet peeve from my journalism days that I still hang on to. It just makes more sense, dammit.

But I don’t work as a journalist anymore. At least not full time, and at least not since 2017. Instead I mostly take tourists halibut fishing out of Homer, Alaska to help pay the bills, and in my spare time I shoot a lot of photos on 35mm and medium format film stock. This is going to be my platform to explore that more, sometimes, like whenever I have time and the mood strikes me, and also ramble about life stuff and Alaska stuff.

A VIEW FROM NORTHERN ENTERPRISES BOATYARD IN HOMER, ALASKA, LOOKING TOWARD KACHEMAK BAY.

I like film photography. There’s something to the process and not knowing what you’ve got until later down the road — after you get home, develop, scan, or print that canister of film — that really draws me to it. There’s a lot that impacts the outcome at different steps along the journey, especially if you’re D.I.Y. developing and doing everything at home.

When I was still in school for my journalism undergrad, I actually minored in fine art photography at Georgia State University. At the time at least that program was packed with some great instructors that really pushed me outside my comfort zone, and the program also happened to be 90-percent film photography. Even more than a decade ago that was a rarity, and it taught me a lot about seeing the photo before the shutter snapped, the darkroom process, and the aspects of photography film seemed to capture (and still seems to capture) better than digital.

No, it’s not really about trying to get that “Instaspam” filter look, although you can do that if you want. There’s a certain structure and feel you get from the grain of film, an image made of homogeneous dots and not square pixels on a screen. Yes, digital cameras are amazing and take insanely dynamic photos, but it’s not really about for me. Journalism was my stepping block. Photography has always been about captures moments in life, telling a story through slices of life, and film helps me do that.

A TOURIST WALKS ALONG THE HISTORIC BAYFRONT IN NEWPORT, OREGON.

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Clay Duda is a freelance journalist specializing in investigative reporting, feature writing, editorial photography, and digital media.