Tag Archives: Contax 645

I wasn’t sure what to think of Amsterdam when I first arrived- I mean, it was beautiful for sure. But I didn’t know much about the city other than the fact that it’s famous for its canals and red light district. After an evening spent there with these two, though, I’m in love. And maybe it wasn’t the city itself; maybe it was Josh & Lauren. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was Josh & Lauren- the way he still shamelessly flirts with her, and how she gets that embarrassed little smile when he pulls her close and tells her she’s beautiful. The fact that they are just so in love, in a way that colors everything around them a bit more rosy as a result. It’s the concept of la vie en rose– life through rose-colored glasses, everything made more beautiful when you’re in love.

Josh, Lauren, I don’t know how to thank you for such an incredible afternoon and evening. Photographing your love was one of the purest reminders of why I fell so hard for anniversaries. Watching you cherish each other was inspirational, and I’m so grateful for the chance to capture you all during such an exciting time in your lives!! So much love to you both and Baby S!

Amsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam_film_anniversary_photographer_0010Amsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby GraceAmsterdam, Netherlands fine art film anniversary photographer | Abby Grace

Anyone who’s ever met the Kampa family knows that they’re about the nicest group of people you’ll ever meet. I was over at the Kampa house a few months ago for a glass of wine and catching up with Courtney, and in swept Mrs. Kampa, greeting me with the warmth and familiarity as though it hadn’t been more than 10 years since I’d last seen her. That’s just the kind of people they are- tender and sweet, wonderful to the core.

I’ve known Courtney since the third grade- we danced together at Reston Conservatory Ballet. She had this effortless sort of grace about her, and watching her move across the studio floor, long limbs and an face turned skyward, it was always inspiring! These days, she resides in Manhattan as she’s chasing her dream of poetry. She’s still dancing, just these days it’s with words across a page, rather than pointe shoes. And she is AMAZING at it- her words have been winning awards and accolades for the last few years now!

Courtney, I can’t thank you enough for making time for photos with me! It was such an inexpressible joy to spend the afternoon with you, hearing your words, listening to the stories that have shaped you into who you are. You’re one of the coolest people I think I’ve ever met, and you don’t even have to try; those Raybans and red lipstick just suit you perfectly :).

New York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace Photography

New York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace Photography

New York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace Photography

See what I mean? LOOK HOW COOL SHE IS.

New York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City Upper West Side lifestyle portraits | Abby Grace Photography

Contax 645, Portra 400, developed & scanned by Richard Photo Lab

They’ve been together for ages; since the beginning of the UK’s equivalent to high school, so going on 15 years now. After 10 years together they tied the knot, and just a few years into marriage, they made the decision to up and relocate from London, England to the West Village in Manhattan. Why? I asked. “Why not?” If ever they could do it, that was the time, and they wanted to shake things up- Paul & Suzanna felt they were getting too settled into the every day ins and outs, and they wanted an adventure. So they moved to the busiest city in the US. I’d say that qualifies as an adventure, wouldn’t you?

It’s been five years since their wedding day, and after a couple of years in New York City, Paul decided it was time to celebrate this particular stage of their lives. Exactly where and how they are now, so that one day they can look back and reminisce about the gorgeous slice of Manhattan that they called home for a while.

Paul, Suzanna, I cannot conceive a better way to have spent an evening in New York than by exploring with you all, documenting your sweet relationship, and gabbing over prosecco. It was such a joy to see that after all these years together, your spark is still so present! Thank you, endless thank you’s, for allowing me into your world for the day. It was a privilege!

West Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace Photography

West Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace Photography

West Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace PhotographyWest Village NYC Anniversary Session | Abby Grace Photography

 

Matt prepared a travel journal for me for my most recent trip overseas; along with a love letter for every day I was gone, he also gave me a thoughtfully-planned writing prompt for each day. He knew I love capturing my travels in photographs, but he also knows how much I love to write. And one of my favorite writing prompts from the trip was “Describe Rome in one word.” Without hesitation, I chose the word “layered.” Rome is layer upon layer of history- thousands and thousands of years of culture, politics, people, stories, everything, all crammed into what ended up feeling like a small town. It was unimaginably cooler than I was expecting!

My sweet host, Heather, was incredible- she planned the perfect mix of relaxed experience and active wandering, and I couldn’t have enjoyed my time more! For example, after arriving home from being picked up at the airport, we went straight into making limoncello. By hand. With lemons from trees in Heather’s front yard. Words cannot describe my glee!

Without further ado, I present Rome, Italy for your viewing pleasure.

Rome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby GraceRome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby GraceRome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby GraceRome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby GraceRome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby Grace

My gorgeous host, Heather!

Rome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby Grace

Rome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby Grace

Rome, Italy | fine art film photographer | Abby Grace

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For all those of you who’ve asked about a print shop, stay tuned! More information on fine art print sales SOON!

DC + Virginia fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

I’d taken the plunge in June of 2012 and bought the mother of all medium format film cameras, the Contax 645. I knew I loved film and 35mm just wasn’t enough for me anymore, so I took a chance and purchased the Contax- I’d promised Matt if things didn’t pan out and I never used it professionally, I’d just resell it on eBay (that’s another story for another day, though).

So I started shooting with this new film camera. At first, everything was going alright- I was getting more and more comfortable with my settings, my results were becoming more consistent, and I was gradually becoming less afraid of, in general, mucking up my film. But then some sort of switch got flipped- I think  I’d spent too much time reading Jose Villa‘s book Fine Art Wedding Photography, or maybe it was too many hours poring over Elizabeth Messina‘s The Luminous Portrait. Whatever it was, I stopped looking through my viewfinder with the question “how should frame/compose/photograph this?” and started filtering everything through “how would Jose or Elizabeth photograph this?”

DC + Virginia fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

To someone who’s not a photographer, I know that may seem like a silly thing to get worked up about. But it was causing serious stress in my film work, esPECIALLY when I was trying to shoot with film & digital in one session- it was like having a split personality, trying to switch back and forth between Abby Grace mode and Jose/Elizabeth mode. It was really, really hard, and to be honest, I was pretty bad at it.

Why? Because I will only ever be ME. No matter how hard I try, I will never be as good of a Jose or an Elizabeth as those two are, and that’s what makes their work beautiful- they are the only ones who can produce that particular kind of art. The way Jose sees the world through his viewfinder is uniquely HIM, and with my 2012 film mindset, the best I could ever hope to do is spend a lot of time copying that artistry without ever actually creating something uniquely ME.

DC + Virginia fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

It wasn’t until I quasi-stopped shooting with film, and then had a conversation with my friend Christina (about ceasing film work) that things finally shifted. I told her about my split personality issue when it came to my Contax, and that I’d pretty much stopped shooting because things were too hard, and she told me this:

“STOP COMPARING. Your work is YOUR work and it is beautiful. Frankly, I’m tired of seeing so many Villa/Messina imitations. I thought I wanted my film to be like theirs, then I shot it and found I prefer something else. So I am doing my own thing and hoping people love it. If you believe in your work, others will too. [There were] YEARS of self-doubt that I had to change into self-APPRECIATION.”

DC + Virginia fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

So I stopped comparing. I stopped looking at what other people were doing, and I started shooting film the way I, Abby Grace, would naturally shoot. And you know what? It’s only made me better. My film and my work in general has only grown since I stopped trying to be a cheap imitation of someone else, and embraced what MY art looks like as a standalone product rather than in comparison to someone else’s. I’m proud of the work I produce, and though I know there’s still so much growth that will continue to happen over the course of my life, it feels really good to be able to say “This is who I am, this is my art. And if you love it? Amazing! But if you don’t? That’s 100% fine with me, too.”

Here’s to YOU looking through your viewfinder with only your artistic voice in the background- you have something unique to offer, don’t water it down by trying to imitate someone else. I’m proof that doing so will only hold you back, and that breaking that bad habit only leads to GOOD things.

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