Well, before I get into the details behind these conceptual photos, I’d like to remind you all that my fundraiser has only four days remaining! If you’d like to learn more or purchase my art and help me travel home to be with loved ones in a time of loss, please visit my fundraiser page here. Thank you very kindly~!!! Also, there are more photos posted here beneath the writing : )
When the Spring season arrives on the Korean peninsula, folks flock out to enjoy and photograph cherry blossom trees. I’m no different. I love taking pictures of these pristine budding beauties. Yet, why do we do it? Do we give the same amount of attention and admiration to the roses, azaleas, and the like? I think not. One of the biggest reasons we give so much attention to cherry blossoms is because we know they’re temporary. They come, burst with life and energy, then they wilt and are gone within a week or two. We know that the cherry blossoms are soon to be gone, so we put extra energy into viewing and capturing them.
Younger men and women, models, are much the same. While they’re young and physically fit, we photograph them, put them in magazines, advertisements, on television, and so forth. Yet, once they get older are they no longer beautiful?
Those who age, whose bodies are no longer firm and supple, are still beautiful. Their allure lies in their wit, wisdom, experience, and elsewhere.
Beauty doesn’t fade; it’s only transmigratory. It lives and dwells beyond physical frames.
With this in mind, I devised my cherry blossom concept. I wanted the photos to be feminine, so I shot on expired Fuji Astia slide film and cross processed it to give the photos a pinkish purplish hue. Wanting to show transient beauty, two things things that are elegant and considered by many to be ‘short lived,’ I first captured cherry blossoms and then double exposed the roll with my friend Hwa’s silhouette. I used a Mamiya RZ67, which does have a multiple exposure switch. However, I couldn’t use it because the cherry blossoms and Hwa were captured at two different times – roughly a month apart. So, I first exposed my film to the cherry blossoms – some by day, others by night, some close up, some far away. When I got to the last frame of the roll, I put the camera in a changing bag ( to prevent any light from leaking in and spoiling the photos ) and rolled the film back by hand. I taped up the film spool so it wouldn’t unravel, and waited till I could meet Hwa, load up the previously exposed roll, and capture her silhouette so it would merge and meld with the cherry blossoms. Since the film roll lost some of its elasticity, the images didn’t always line up perfectly. You’ll note this where there are darker bars on the edges of some shots.
I wanted all of the photos to be taken outside, with natural lighting – not in the studio. My first attempt at this concept didn’t work so well. I chose a place where I could get a silhouette, but had a busy background. I’ve included some of those photos here. Since I wasn’t satisfied, I tried again. The second time, I decided the best place to get a silhouette without a distracting background would be atop a mountain, the mountain I live on to be exact. There, at the top, nothing would be in the background to distract the eye from the main subject – cherry blossoms and the silhouette of a beautiful young woman. So, Hwa and I met bright and early, while the sun was still rising, and set out to climb the mountain. We shot away and made our way home. I’m pretty happy with the results, although there are a few things I’ll do differently the next time around. I’ve decided to share nearly all the photos I took at that time – the ones I’m fond of and the others where I think I missed the mark. The more, the merrier, right?
Before I go, I’d like to upload a few photos that I took around the same time and in the same manner. I’m putting them separately here because they don’t involve cherry blossoms and won’t necessarily fit in with the concept, but I feel are still worthy of sharing.
Anyhow, enjoy for now! These double exposures were captured with a Mamiya RZ67 on expired Fuji Astia film, cross processed in c41 chemistry. © Patrick Bresnahan