Seattle Portrait Photographer | High School Senior | Children

Journal

As this old-time saying goes, "It's never too late to....." do pretty much anything that you have a passion for.


I've always wanted to have a little farm, so I am starting with chickens. I have been fascinated by the homesteading lifestyle. At least in the sense of growing herbs, vegetables, and eggs. Living on a couple of acres, I feel very blessed to take advantage of the space I have and build my little farm to feed my family and share my bounty with my neighbors.
I've never had a green thumb, but ironically, my grandparents were farmers and laborers and had that Midas touch when it came to agricultural gifts. I am hoping that my grandpa and grandma are looking down on me from heaven guiding me.



So, I'm working and studying profusely on raising chickens for eggs, gardening, finding ways to protect my chickens from predators, and deterring the deer and rabbits from my garden. I'm even thinking of innovative ways to have sacrificial plants for the deer and bunnies to dine on.

We recently had some trees cleared from our property to allow more sun and light, and we are designing and building a coop that will be functional and charming to the design eye. I am very excited and cannot wait for it to be complete. Everything should be close to done just in time for Spring.

Now that our chicks are growing, we bought a coop to set them up temporarily while the grander one is being built. I love my little birds, though they are still young, we don't know if we have a rooster in the flock. I observed them every day, and they bring so much joy. Chickens are just a kick in the pants
with great personalities.


I will be documenting my homesteading journey, so here is what I would call the beginning stages.

Before the Corona Virus pandemic unleashed havoc, I was to attend a fun event to paint a VW vintage bus with a good friend; I wanted to paint something fun for the RV when my family and I go camping during the summer. Needless to stay, the world stopped in its tracks. Instead of opting for a refund, I picked up my pre-prepped frame and some acrylic paints. 

Let's see; I picked up the frame sometime in late April, I started to paint in late May. Before I started painting, I thought about how I was going to approach my project. There was going to be a "to-do" video, but I felt I had enough creativity to let my imagination and the "it's all in the wrist" approach do the work, but this has taken me a long time to get to that project. I was feeling and still am feeling so much emotion with the troubled state we're all experiencing, I've been so incredibly sad and have had massive panic attacks that leave me in such a state. It's hard clawing my way out of this dark rabbit hole. How could I do something joyous when there is chaos? I had to force myself because I don't want to feel like I am. I need to find that little joy and plant that small seed and let it grow.

It's a Monday and drinking my coffee, a light breakfast of eggs, asparagus, and strawberries, I look out my window in my dining room solarium, admiring nature and the birds going about their business. I told myself, "it's okay to find a little happiness."

I prep my little workspace and look around to ensure I have all my supplies within arms reach. I felt acrylics would be bland and not enough paint in my kit too.

So I decided to buy a basic oil kit and some brushes. I used to paint when I was younger, but the last time I painted something was when I was pregnant with my firstborn. That was 20 years ago. It's been a while.

It took me a few days to approach this project, but I was, to say the least, intimidated by it all. I persevere past my doubts and just kept at it, mixing colors and getting my pallet colors together before proceeding. It took me a few days to get it the way I wanted it. 

Et Voila! I finally got it the way I wanted. Ever proud of myself because I didn't overthink the process. So when I varnished the finished piece, it dried nicely. 

It's hanging nicely in the RV. 

Sacré bleu! I think I have the painting bug! Pun intended!

I know my main creation is photography, shooting in analogue, and digital, but I can't help to see if I can do more with this painting medium. 
So I think I might add more paintings to our RV and stay on the "vintage/retro" theme paintings.



Happy to say, painting has helped calm my anxiety living in this troubled world and finding joy where I can find joy. 

Keep good vibes and peace all.


My quarantine low and high as far as creating. It depends on how you look at it. Within this 20-hour pinhole exposure, was a 2-hour nap on the couch with my Frenchie.

Some days, I feel like a ghost!



How are you holding up? I try not to watch too much news as it tends to bring me down in my mood. I do try and make the best of the days inside. I have been going on walks to keep mobile while maintaining social distancing. This introvert is socially awkward anyway; I suppose that is okay. Lately, I've been finding solace walking the Tolt Pipeline Trail. I see more beauty in my surroundings, such as horses grazing, birds chirping, tree limbs swaying in the wind, and the crunching of the gravel as the gait of my walk scrapes along the trail, these are the only sounds I hear, and it feels good. I also have not been creative as I hoped with this long pause, especially in my photography, I miss taking photographs of people and creating rad stylized portraiture with my hair and make-up artist friends.

Now that my photography business has pretty much halted, I'm keeping myself busy as much as I can, and noticed that I have been buying more flowers these days more than usual to cheer myself up. I love how happy they make me feel on the inside like a child discovering something new that they have never seen before with the expression of nothing but awe. It's the clarity I'm tuning into.

Knowing that flowers don't stay fresh for too long, and I have purposely been letting them dry out faster to see how they will dry out. This is the clarity I spoke of earlier. Dried flowers are just as beautiful when they are done blooming, this is a series in photography I'd like to explore more of. Wow! Who knew they could be so fragile and sharp looking at the same time. The texture seems to be unique as a snowflake or one's fingerprints if you look close enough.

I love seeing most fine-art photography imagery in black and white and the shades of gray. I'm a sucker for black and white fine-art photography, to me, I see more depth, and I appreciate the ominous look and feel to specific images.

Here's to my new series since I cannot come up with a better name.


"The Fabric of the Wilted Petal"




It's been a while since I've written anything down and shared with you my thoughts. I hope you have been healthy and making do with what has been handed to us during this crisis.   If you've been ill or a loved one has been ill, I hope you or they feel better soon. I send you nothing but positive healing vibes.


For me, let's just say, I've been making a lot of lemonade, lemon cookies, lemon pound cake lately. I hope you have been making some too. I've been eating a lot, but I'll save that post for another time.
The forced shut down of our everyday lives has been challenging for me, as I am sure it has been for you. I'm feeling it emotionally and financially, but I am grateful for this time with my family, though it has been hard with the teenagers. They want to go back to school and work. Back to normal and with their friends.


I've lately had a big creative block with all that is going on in this big blue marble. Home quarantine, raising teens, working long hours, paying the bills, trying to find toilet paper during this time and aging not so gracefully. On the plus, zero commute which has been awesome! On the minus, it's hard to separate the time for work and home.


Each time when I ventured out, for food and other essentials for my family, I found myself in the floral department at the grocery store. This to which dawned on me as a possible creative breakthrough. I bought a lot of stems and been keeping myself busy with flowers. I just needed to lessen my anxiety and depression through all this. My home is filled with lovely floral fragrances.






Now was a good time to bring out my cameras and start watching the clock. I've always wanted to do a nature time-lapse. This was my second attempt. I'm going to do another one, I only wish battery life was a lot
longer as in consecutive days longer. I will figure it out! 

In the meantime…

Here's to finding a little happiness in the little things.



Hello everyone!
It has been a while since my last post. I need to stay on top of things, but I am slowly catching up with my "to-dos".

I had the profound privilege to be asked to photograph the 6th Annual In Concert For Cancer benefit with Judith Hill! I honestly don't know how I lucked out on this assignment. I was so nervous before the show, as I wanted to capture good images with thoughtfulness and soul. As you know, I love my film shots. Not knowing the results, I hoped for the best. Thank you to the ICFC Team! I had a blast working with you all!

I think CineStill is my favorite low light film!

Here are a few BTS and concert shots photographed on film.

I'm still reveling in the moment.

Sound check before concert

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The work I'm putting into my art is slowly starting to get noticed. It is not easy putting one's self out there and I bow down to anyone who puts themselves out in the public eye, as it can be daunting and expensive. Ever since my renewed passion back to film, I've entered so many competitions and contests to reputable photographic sites, being judged by esteemed jurors to which it is all subjective and of course amazing photographic artists submitting from over 156 countries (I may or may not be exaggerating) but seems about right. 

On a personal note and sharing with you my struggles, I recently lost my mom to an horrific battle to pancreatic cancer, so I've been trying to process my grief. But I don't want this blogue to be a sad post, however, more like real life and me working hard to achieve my goals and my mom Annie guiding me from up above.

Add, making a career change has been arduous. It is clearly not for the faint of heart, but I like to consider myself a very late-bloomer unicorn in waiting.

That said, I entered in one of my analogue film portraits to the Darkroom Gallery in Vermont (It's difficult breaking in here in Seattle) but nonetheless, it's one for the resume and I'm happy that my piece was selected by Catherine Just, an artist I've admired who happened to be a juror! what are the odds!?! Out of 500+ images submitted, I was one of 55 selected. When I got the news, I cried happy tears. I don't feel as invisible as I thought I felt and that little bit of validation went a long way.

My "Portrait of Hanna" will be on display at "The Face" exhibition held at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Exhibition opens July 20th and will run until August 13th.

Thank you all so much for your support and cheers, it means the world.

Photographed on my Sinar F, Ilford HP5 4x5 film, developed with R5 Monobath.

The concept behind this portrait, while it is photograph taken today, I wanted to achieve the nostalgia of the 19th century. I had the subject relax her face and gaze into the lens. To me, it's a beautiful portrait that has hints of thoughts of the past.

Thank you Catherine for selecting me and recognizing the soul I put into my works. I am so humbled, honored and forever grateful.

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Fashion on Film. The rare sunny day in Seattle in Springtime! clothing by BEUtiful Designs. I just loved working with this talented fashion and jewelry designer, her clothing line is simple and elegant and her couture jewelry line is impeccable. Yes please!!!

Designer: Barbara Elenor Ursula

HMU: Jessica Smith

Models: Sara and Courtney

Photographed using Provia 120 film.

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It was such a privilege photographing this Senior in both digital and film, what was more amazing is when the family was searching out for photographers I felt honored that they really liked how I incorporate digital and film in my workflow. I do try to steer away from the atypical poses because I want to make the experience comfortable and real as possible while flattering the individual's unique qualities. BUT we had to break up the session due to the rain on the first go-around but persevered as long as we could until we had to halt the shoot. I was now on weather-watch so we could finish the session. Finally we got a break in the weather and was able to finish what we started. For the second part of this I brought my Rollei and a roll of CineStill film. I love the magical results of this Indie music vibe session. I would call this a trifecta win of digital imagery, large format film and medium format film.

Digital Session

Digital Session

Digital Session

New55 P/N (large format film)

New55 P/N (large format film)

CineStill 800

CineStill 800

CineStill 800

Hello one-Hello all!

I wanted to share my most recent photo experience. I had the opportunity to photograph celebrity photographer John Keatley using New55 film. I was a bit nervous due to the success rate being somewhat iffy, but I made a conscious decision to not bring my digital camera as a backup. What was I thinking!?!  But my focus was the idea of "capturing your legacy on film".  Taking that chance, I wanted to make this a predominately film session. I am absolutely thrilled with the results!

Thank you John for inviting me to your beautiful home and a huge shout out to Tammy Lloyd for assisting and documenting the behind the scenes images of what the process is all about!

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I'm bringing sexy back with the nostalgia of the 19th century film photographer by making large format film portraits and still life fine art. I am very excited about this project and would love for you to be a part of the journey.
 
 I wanted to also share with you that I made a huge leap of faith and left my "day job" in the engineering field and finally following what I was meant to do, which is create narrative/environmental portraits and arts in the creative industry. I am a visual storyteller of you incorporating both digital and analogue.

I am toying with the idea and putting into the works a film only session to create a series of fine art portraits of you. I am calling this series "Legacy Captured on Film". What this means is spending one on one together capturing your range of expression that is a real and authentic you. We will be out of our comfort zone, but the results will be pure joy and an experience you will cherish forever. 

As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of New55 Film! What this kick start company has done for me has given me the drive and passion to immerse myself in the analogue world! I feel a renewed sense of my entrepreneurial self along with artistry. This medium grounds me and I appreciate the slow and methodical process while the digital runs the gamut.

Here are a few recent New55 P/N portraits with a better success rate, this is truly one of a kind!

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Thank you for taking the time to read this and don't forget to book your session with me.

xoxo,
Chelle

What crazy weather weve been having lately! Here in the Pacific Northwest weve seen rain, sun, wind, snow, rain, ice, and more snow. Patiently waiting for Spring is so hard! It was early Monday during the morning commute dropping my kids off to school the snow just dumped upon us, as if Mother Nature was sifting a serious dose of confectioners sugar on something sweet. This made for tardiness and tough driving conditions definitely not fun. However, on the bright side this made for a potential photo-op, not necessarily digital. Ive been finding myself carrying my Rollei everywhere I go, even if I run mundane errands (one never knows!) After dropping my kids off, I found myself at our local park to which has a small recreational lake. I wanted to see if I could capture the intensity of the snow on film. I pulled into the park and no one else around me. I felt so bad making impressing tire marks onto freshly fallen snow, but it was beautiful! I got out of my car awkwardly and looked around, everything looks different with snow.

I debate whether or not I should take my film to the lab to have developed but Ive been wanting to develop color negative film for a while now. My first attempt last year, the results abysmal. So this time, I made sure I got the chemicals mixed correctly and to temperature and the timing correct. It was a tedious process but I am determined to really learn from my mistakes without reinventing the wheel.

Photographed using Portra400 and C-41 development.

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Living in the Pacific Northwest the majority of the typical weather is rain. A lot of it too. However, once in a great while we get the occasional winter snow. When it snows here it doesn't last for very long and just as fast as it comes in, it melts rapidly and the beautiful "Narnia" scenery is back to the moss and mud. For the moment we enjoy the time. But most importantly the number one best thing about a snow day is No School! It's a day for sledding, hot cocoa and a warm fire going inside. For part of this day there was a power outage around the area, so spending some quality time with loved ones and making fun memories was priority. Making the most of the day, I grabbed my Rollei TLR and put on my mud boots and captured a few fun and peaceful moments before heading inside to develop the roll of film and playing board games with my family and maybe there was a nap on the couch involved. Thank you Mother Nature! We had a great day! I sure would like more days like this.

Photographed using Ilford HP4 125. Developed using New55 R5 Monobath.

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We are now nineteen days into January and already the time seems to be moving fast! I'm still grappling with conquering film especially the large format film. Working my Sinar camera along with using New55 Film, I am girl on a mission. There is a lot of little details and steps to go through as I've probably mentioned in other blogues, but again it's the slowed down and methodical practice I need to work on.

On a recent photo-shoot for a local gym, I brought along my Sinar hoping to do a couple of film portraits after the main shoot. We had so much fun and was hoping for the best for the results. I would categorize as both a win and fine art. Although not perfect, I love the results as I hope you do too!

Thank you to my wonderful clients, Brooke, Steve and Zach

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I love when I meet wonderful people and how they allow me into their lives to document special moments. On this particular event for an awesome couple that recently wed had a fun wedding reception with friends and family. While on my assignment, I met a very inquisitive 7 year old that was fascinated with my 1954 Rolleicord, He wanted to know how this unusual camera worked without viewing instant images on the back. He loved the film when I loaded into the camera, "cool! what is this film?". When I asked him is name so I can address him properly, he replied, "my name is Isaac with two a's". I asked him if I showed him how to work the camera if he wanted to help take some photos. He was all over that, and kept saying "I love this toy!" I told him it was one of my favorite toys too. He was not shy with the camera and his parents were a little nervous him handling it, I gave them piece of mind, that Isaac was doing great.

The film I loaded was 120 Kodak Portra 400 and I thought I would share Isaac's images. I absolutely love the results! Way to go Isaac!!!

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On a recent shoot at the LeMay Family Home Collection in Tacoma, WA. Harold and Nancy LeMay and their collection of cars as far as the eye can see is jaw-dropping, I was memorized by this beautiful place! Thankful to Doug LeMay and family who carry on the tradition and sharing of this magnificent collection with us all. This truly is an amazing treasure to get lost in, appreciate and of course snap a few photos. There are actually too many cars to count, but if I were to guesstimate, there was probably more than 1000 +/- vehicles dating back as far as 1886.

Photographing this wonderful 50th wedding vow renewal of Walt and Elaine Renggli by far was a very fun event!. Of course, I had to bring my film camera along with my digital! It was fun wandering the building viewing the cars and the bridal room. Hauntingly beautiful! 

Congratulations to a long and happy marriage!

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I photographed using Ilford FP4 Plus and Kodak Tmax400.


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On a recent shoot to Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, I wanted to experiment with a black and white film that I had not used before Ilford FP4 Plus 125, I was somewhat hesitant because I have read in forums from users that the results can be washed out without much contrast. However my fail was with the developing. I used a reel for 120 and I misaligned the film with the reel therefore when I developed it, parts of the film stuck together. It is a gut-wrenching slow motion of "oh crap", but some of the images that did turn out, I found the result quite intriguing. I shot this 2 stops underexposed. 

My love of shooting film is more and more and hasn't wavered even with my fails. I don't know if I could ever replicate this with my digital camera. I definitely love this series. My take away and lesson learned? I need to make adjustments on my 120 reel and load the film correctly.


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Getting out and about with this awesome family and their twins. Theses little ones had me on my toes for sure. 

Used my 1954 Rolleicord TwinFlex. Shot with Fuji Pro400H 120 color negative film. I simply love the results and the concept of less is more.

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Welcome to Fall! I found myself doing some light organizing of my pantry, wine allocations and make-shift studio and thought to myself, as the seasons change one thing doesn't. Wine. Whether enjoying company with friends or quietly in the comfort of one's home on a stormy night (which is happening more often, at least where I reside) enjoying various Netflix Originals.  Perfect for any time of the year, the offerings of wine always seem to be unwavering.

Therefore, stopping in my tracks and I suddenly became inspired to tackle once and for all the large format focusing beast and my New55 P/N! The chores and organizing can wait. 

I pulled together my favorite wines from Frenchie Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and EFESTE Wines added a few props to make a pleasing presentation. I carefully checked my light meter and systematically loaded the film. Im pretty sure I held my breath the whole time as I really hoped for the best. One never really knows with film how the image will turn out. When I saw the positive result, the pressure was off and I finally could breathe again! Then to the next step of developing the negative and well lets just say I am going to print, frame and hang this one-of-a-kind awesomeness.

This by far has been my most successful result and I am more than pleased!

I feel like I am inching closer and closer to being able to add this service to my repertoire.

Santé!

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I write this blog post with the intention of sincerity.

As a photographer, I continue to work on my craft and try to make pictures with what I have and resources available to me. My recent migration back to film has been an amazing journey, I've experienced a lot of ups and downs, but more downs, with the occasional success. I love medium and large format film photography and that is when I realized I really don't like being labeled as a "photographer", I wish there was a different word, but I am a person that likes to create images and make portraits. Along with that, I had an Epiphany with the advancement in digital cameras out there, I reflected, and thought to myself, I really know nothing! Not that I don't know, but with this process being in a fast paced environment, it's hard for me to appreciate what I do know. So I decided to do my own thing and really stop comparing myself to other photographers and this time go at my own speed. 

I do look up to other photographers/artists and it is easy to compare and self-doubt sneaks up on me and I tell you folks, that is the wrong outlook. I think its good for me (as well as others like me to be inspired from other artists, although I am not published yet (wink) I am staying true to my style and trying to grow and explore.

When I younger, I was fascinated with how film was developed in the darkroom, but I never knew anyone, friends or family alike who could teach me how to do the film developing process, it seemed so complicated with the chemical parts to water, heating to the right temperature and timing. So I stored the idea way back in the depths of my mind, thinking it'll be a "someday, I'll learn".

Fast forward to today, when I made the bold decision to do what I've always wanted to do. I want to learn to shoot large format and develop film. I want to do develop and process the images I create. Enter in the New55 Film Project. I am a huge proponent of this amazing kick-starter project and I am a fan for life. The folks there, have done great things in bringing back the semi instant film back to life! There is a market for this and for those who really appreciate film. Not that, not everyone appreciates film, but digital makes it easy for everyone and hey! it is okay. I do love my digital cameras just as much and I use them for my clients.

I will add the film to my services soon for clients that want a unique keepsake. The process I must note, definitely slows down a workflow process. I love every mechanical components of my camera. I love the collection of film I have that is waiting for that perfect picture.

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©2020 Chelle Caldwell