Tag Archives: Polaroid 55

Jess’s Fine Art Bridal Portrait Session

08 | 03 | 2011

The great thing about bridal portrait sessions, as opposed to weddings, is that you have the real luxury of having time to make portraits, slowly.  I mean: I love the challenge and the rush of making portraits happen in the swirl of the events and obligations of a wedding day (what wedding photographer doesn’t?!).  And Jess’s session was slower than most because we intentionally sought to make images on our slowest, most deliberate cameras.

Bridal sessions are about the bride and certainly also about her exquisite refinery.  Jess’s dress was designed and lovingly crafted by Suzanne Hanley of Atelier des Modistes.  Sue is a genius designer and I feel lucky to count her among my friends.   I particularly love the lace chevrons (though, seriously, I can’t fathom how much time it took her and her team to make those) and the bustle, which reminds me so much of the wild, wild west.  Jess’s bridal session is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake today, with an interview from Jess about the custom dressmaking process.

Neither one of us could have known that Jess’s wedding day would bring rain (or rainbows) and mud or that the slow moments in the day could be counted on the fingers of two hands, so I am extra grateful we made time early in the summer before her wedding to make these portraits.

Jess found other value in making these images.  This is what she wrote:

“I thought it was really helpful to do the portrait session before, because it was an excellent introduction to you and Matt, and how you like to work. It was also great for me to hear some tips from you on posture, how to stand, how to act, etc., before the “main event,” so to speak. It was certainly a little more challenging to take photos alone, as opposed to how much more natural and easy it felt when I was with TJ.  But I think for people who haven’t been photographed much before [their weddings], it’s a great introduction. Plus seeing these initial proofs, I could then say to myself—well, I like it when I smile like this or that, and I love how my hair and makeup looks in these photos, and so onso it was a great dry run overall.”

photographs: Gia Canali

gown: Sue Hanley, Atelier des Modistes, whose little shop in San Francisco I featured awhile back; hair and makeup: Sharon Tabb.


Happy New Year 2011!!

01 | 01 | 2011

Okay, it’s time for some changes (nay, resolutions) around here, like: it’s time to pay more attention to the blog (seriously!) and I’m going to start blogging about other kinds of photographs in this space, too.  I think it’ll be more fun for all of us that way.  Lots of you have moved on from your weddings, but you may want to commission other sorts of photographs (and I like taking and talking about getting great other sorts of photographs).  We’re still calling the blog {Pursuing the Picture Perfect Wedding}, but we’re going to broaden our scope.

In good faith, I’m starting with a Polaroid 55 I took over the summer as part of a family portrait session done all in Polaroid 55 film.  The best portrait sessions are the ones with the simplest concepts.  In any case, I like how quietly festive this image seems. That’s how I like to celebrate New Year’s Eve every year.

photo: Gia Canali


Notes Toward Slow (Wedding) Photography

08 | 02 | 2010

This year, perhaps even more than in years past, and despite practically daily notices of film-discontinuations, I am being commissioned to do my slowest work: photo sessions driven largely or entirely by my dear and clunky 4×5 cameras.  Behind the scenes, I am working on printing techniques that make the platinum printing I do feel like instant gratification.  And I have been thinking: the slower the wedding, the slower the photography I am able to do.  Slow photography requires breathing, reloading, time to think behind the lens, time to tinker, and, usually, a mess of polaroids—in other words, the freedom to be deliberate.  (I also love that first reaction to a moment, and also seek that out in my work, just as anxiously, but I am getting at something different here).

I was rummaging through photo books this morning (my second favorite method of procrastination*), and pulled out a copy of Paul Outerbridge’s Command Performance.  The prints reproduced in this book are platinum prints and carbro prints. Carbro prints, if you are unfamiliar, are made by a painstaking, triple-glass-negative technique.  Printing is ridiculously labor intensive and unequivocally rewarding.  Dazzling.  Unfortunately these prints are a see-it-to-believe-it kind of experience.

But I’ve seen them, and the book was a gift to my husband after we went to the exhibition.  The inscription I wrote, in part, says, “Cheers to doing things the hard way when it’s also the best way, an innovative or extraordinary way, and especially if it’s (at all) exquisite.”  This apparently has been on my mind for quite awhile and I’d like to extend the toast to all of us photographers and commissioners-of-photography.  So: as we all, myself included, race forward into photography’s future, clicking away at all manner of cameras, high-fi and low-tech, antique and newly-minted, let us not forget to breathe between shots.  Let us hold dearly as a value thinking behind the lens.  I think, my friends, that we are.  But let’s make a point of it.

photo: Gia Canali

*my first favorite method of procrastination, at the moment, is browsing etsy.

Catching Up On The News

04 | 15 | 2010

encaustic1308 c weddings giacanali-polaroid55 encaustic photograph

Wedding season and spring have both started a little bit earlier than usual, it seems.  Or perhaps I just feel like that because I’ve only gotten around to blogging about three of my weddings from last year and am well and happily into photographing this year’s weddings.  But I have managed to make a few more encaustic photographs along the way (and I’ve been cooking up some other goodies that we’ll share with you soon!) and other folks seem to be getting around to the blogging and publishing of my work much quicker than I have.  Above, from top left: encaustic photograph of Nada.  Her and Paul’s backyard wedding was recently featured on Style Me Pretty {here} and {here}; cover of C Magazine’s “C Weddings” which features Negar & Peter’s downtown LA wedding; and one of my Polaroid 55’s from Tom and Kimberly’s wedding which is featured on Snippet & Ink {here} today; detail of the encaustic photograph of Nada.  Below: another new encaustic photograph, this one of my cousin Bre and her husband on their wedding day (whose anniversary, come to think of it, is in three days!)  Happy Anniversary, Bre & Jeff!!


photos, except magazine cover: Gia Canali