My Beginning: How Film Photography Saved my University Art Career - Rachel Holden Photography

Film Down Town Decatur, IL

Film Photography - 1

"You're a super senior, Rach. You're drawings are frustrating. Whats your medium??? Come on, make something click before you graduate. OMG. How are you going to pull this off."

It is year 2010 as I walking through the Kirkland halls at Millikin University in Decatur IL, all I wanted was to be good at something, to understand a medium like the upperclassmen. I was in awe of their work. 

Photography seemed attractive but I was very much avoiding it. My parents were photographers and I was in the stage of life where they are trying to hold on tight, and you are independent. I was trying to skip the inevitable LONG winded lectures about any rhelm within photography, when all I have is a tiny question. I feared them trying to taking over.

It seemed like the only option in the fall of my senior year. I took 2 film black and white courses which were prerequisites to digital photography. I graduated before digital. 

I did it. I had a senior show combining drawing and photography. 

Here I am earning over 6 years later and have earned a living for 3.5 years doing pictures. Looking back now, I have fond memories of the dark rooms, their smell, the music played, heightened sense of touch and coordination. the subtle excitement and anticipation while watching an image appear before my eyes in chemicals. I hear running water. I see a red light and a broken analog clock. I am clinking with metal film canisters. I feel and use scissors in the pitch black. I roll and re roll spools of film which contain crappy images. 

This is where I found my sense of belonging on campus. This is what brought me to the studio to work. Painting, drawing and sculpture couldn't bring me there. So I developed a number of stories such as the time I got written up for showing up to the studio to shoot late one Thursday night after a wild night of closing down Lock Stock and Barrel. Or the time I called security on myself bc I started an electrical fire by adjusting the enlarger and the brittle chord was incapable of flexability. (completely sober and minding my own business)

Follow me weekly to find how my perspective has developed over the years. 

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