The Dynamic

There is something distinctly different about photographs of cities versus rural areas. The variations of negative space, the intensity of nature versus people, and the rhythm of light that exists in these places; all contribute to the dynamic of a photograph.

Macy Lee

Personal Goal

Last March, I made a trip to Colorado and the Grand Canyon to visit two of my best friends. I went on this trip carrying more black and white film. My favourite ILFORD film is HP5+. It’s my personal goal to photograph more in black and white, and to print often and familiarize myself more in the darkroom.

Mabry and I

I started the trip in Fort Collins, Colorado. I visited my best friend Mabry and her mom’s horse ranch just outside their house. Her mom is an equine (horse) scientist. We spent our mornings making breakfast and going out to her backyard, which was an expansive field, all the way to the barn. I used a Hasselblad to photograph them in strong, direct sunlight. I’ve accustomed myself to the 6x6 frame, and find myself enjoying photographing more with this composition. With animals, it’s important to photograph a little bit quicker than usual because they move a lot. Thankfully, I was able to capture them in their element. I also enjoy detailed shots with this camera, and tried going up close to them in different ways. Mabry and I spent the rest of the trip hiking, taking care of her dogs, and driving to various nature spots.

Macy Lee

Macy Lee

South Kaibab trail

After Fort Collins, I flew to San Diego to meet up with another one of my best friends Izzy, and borrowed her mom’s trailer and drove to the Grand Canyon. It was a big plan, one we’ve had brewing for a while. I kept all of my film in the trailer’s cooler as we embarked on a nine hour long drive. Everything looked like a photograph in the Canyon. It is as beautiful as people say it is, if not even more. We went on several hikes on the South Kaibab trail. It was an interesting time to hike because the weather was a bit confusing. It was sunny, but there was a lot of wind and a little bit of hail. I was sweating mostly, but also found myself a bit cold. It was a challenging and long hike, as the trail got steeper and steeper and steeper. It was worth it though; it gave me and Izzy a chance to conceptualize a few photos together. The steepness of the South Kaibab trail also challenged me to photograph as much stability as possible. During this hike, we also met a National Park Ranger who took care of all the mules who (still) deliver mail by foot all over the Grand Canyon area.

Macy Lee

My Darkroom Journey

It’s always an exhilarating feeling to be able to get fresh negatives after trips like these. I think that what brings justice to a beautiful black and white photograph is being able to print them in the darkroom. I started out my darkroom journey with terribly poor technique and knowledge, and took a long break from it after initially learning it. After around four months, I tried again on my own and used ILFORD's fiber paper for the first time. I started out with a smaller size, a 5x7 semi matte pack. After a few weeks of getting comfortable with printing, I tried the 11x14 paper. Seeing your images at different scales are so special, and give off a unique message and feeling. Size, in printing, matters. It all depends on what you want to say.

Macy Lee

The journey of a photograph is long and special. From conception to developing to print, it carries the weight of a memory, immortalized.

Images ©Macy Castañeda Lee