Family Vacation on Black and White Film


When most people hear vacation, they think "break from work," but for me, I always think "photography adventure." The annual Etheridge Family Beach Trip is one of my favorite times to explore new ways of documenting daily life since my family is now probably numb to me sticking a camera in their face.

Last year's plan was to work in digital, but I managed to drop my camera in the sand on the first day rendering it unusable. However, every good photographer comes prepared, and my backup plan is always my trusty Vivitar 35mm - my first favorite camera. To make things interesting, I had only the one roll of 24 exposure film, so I had to make sure every shot really counted. To make things even more interesting, it was 800 ISO film (great for shooting indoors, a little too high for my taste for outdoors) and I forgot to turn my ISO dial from 400 to 800 so when I developed it I got even more grain than usual from having to bump up the exposure and contrast. Art is full of happy accidents and I quite like the extra grain as it literally gives the series a grittiness that a family beach vacation might not otherwise have (except for sand in between your toes, of course.)

One morning I woke up early to catch up on some work, and got hit with the inspiration to make the project a "day in the life" of our family trip, following them around all day to tell the story of our vacation through portraits, action shots and a few landscapes. The idea was to create individual images that looked interesting on their own, but could tell a story together. 

My favorite part about this shoot is that I was able to turn family memories into works of art, all while enjoying a fabulous beach vacation. As a photojournalist and avid traveler, my goal is to add vacation photography to my business services so that I can artfully capture other family's travel memories all while seeing the world.