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Progression - Photographing the Woosley Family - Patrick Engman

Progression – Photographing the Woosley Family

A family photo in St. Joseph, MichiganA photo of a father and his sons riding a merry-go-round A portrait of Lydia and her daughter Juniper A portrait of a young boy in the shade. A photo of Jason and his two sons in the wild. A photo of two brothers playing with Legos. A photo of two brothers playing the Wii. A BW photo of two brothers drawing on the sidewalk. A family photo in St. Joseph, Michigan A portrait of a child on his tricycle A BW photo of cooper biting into an apple. Jason and his son Max draw on the sidewalk A photo of the Woosley family's children BW photo with a light leak of a baby. A photo of a boy on a jungle gym with light leaks. A portrait of a family laying on their bed. BW photo of a boy on a swing BW photo of 2 brothers sitting on a tree stump.

It’s been approximately  7,516,800 seconds or 87 days since I moved to Chicago from Panama City, FL. Time has flown by so fast! I think I’ve adapted quite well with my surroundings and it’s been smooth sailing ever since I found the perf place to stay off of Craigslist. You should trust humanity sometime. It can be equally rewarding and freakish. Unfortunately, I didn’t get both… I’ve been getting a lot of positive vibes from my roommates and overall, I think I’ve made some pretty cool friends. I even made a fort last night. I can get into that.

Since moving here, a lot of things have changed in regards to photography. I wanted to shift focus and pursue the more artistic side that photography offered. I felt a lot of the assignments I have done in the past limited me in one way or the other and I wasn’t having as much fun as I used to when photography was a hobby. Part of this was because I relied on photography as a main source of income and thus, I was obligated to work on projects that paid the bills especially in the tiny market I worked in at the time. Now that I have a part-time job at a coffee shop in Chicago, I can be more specific on what projects I want to work on without too much pressure on getting by. Another catalyst for change was my thirst for knowledge and the experience of making photographs. I felt like I hit a wall with digital. It felt too easy in a sense. It began at capturing the image and ended in digital post production. There is no in-between. There is no mental operating check list, no metering for the shadows and exposing for the highlights, no light leaks, no development and surprises and no analog experience. I didn’t consciously think, “okay, I have a 15 gigabyte CF card, I need to be conscious of 350 shots.” Although I tend to shoot on the lower side and quite slow, film has increased the importance of each and every single frame that is exposed on that 12 shot roll of 120 film. Switching to film not only has made me a better photographer, it has also made my actions and approach more disciplined. For someone who is all over the place, I am much more aware when shooting film and the experience is so much sweeter.

I’m super stoked for the future. I’m already feeling a lot more creative and I’ve got several shoots lined up to show you guys. The above shoot was taken in St. Joseph, Michigan of the Woosley family. This is my very first paid shoot in 100% film using my Hasselblad 501C. Normally, I’d push the date further out if I was shooting a family I’ve never shot before on a new camera system but I’ve known Lydia and her husband Jason for a while and I’ve taken photos of them many times in the past when we all lived in Florida, so it was a comfortable situation with open creativity. I used several types of film including, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak TMax 400 and Ilford FP4+. I self developed and scanned 2 black and white rolls and sent the rest off to www.IndieFilmLab.com . They did a killer job and as soon as I got my scans back, I knew I was onto something… I barely edited the colored photos as I wanted to preserve the characteristics of film so I just slightly boosted contrast, sharpened and resized for web… I’m hooked.

As a commemoration, here are dated photos from my previous shoots with the Woosleys! Thanks for being a part of my progression and passion. 🙂

Woosley Family Portrait in 2009                                              My first shoot with the Woosley’s in November 2009. Back when I got obsessed with ‘Strobist’ type work.

A family portrait of the Woosleys in 2010My second shoot with the Woosley’s in September, 2011. My interaction and posing started to get a lot better this year. 

A portrait of Lydia pregnant with her second son, CooperMy 3rd shoot with Lydia when she was pregnant with her 2nd son, Cooper! March of 2011. This was a good year for me. I started to feel a lot more confident!