Notes on a little about my photographic process. I’ve been asked about this and it’s mostly the use of fine art films and my analog camera, but it’s also my digital camera and my iPhone too, that I shoot images with.
vintage sky blue vespa in napoli, italy, portra 800, october 2013
Yesterday I picked up my 35mm film photographs of Capri, Ana Capri, Sorrento and Napoli – shot in portra 160, 400 and 800, kodak pro h, and a few spare vintage-style rolls of color film, the names of which escape me at the moment. I shot some velvia slide film, which was developed into individual slides and I poured through each slide on a light table with a magnifying glass and chose the best ones (and the lab will scan them onto cd so I can post them here and in some articles and guides on Italy for other publications – AND which cost me $5 per slide)!!!
A roll of art film can be $15-$75 just for 35 mm film… 120 film (medium format/ large format) can be even more. Some times one can luck out with a five pack for $55, depending on the film. The film slide film is usally $25+ per roll and there is some incredibly beautiful discontinued slide film is now $75-$125 per roll with an expiration date! My fridge doors are not packed with cheese or juice or butter but with endless rolls of film, the cheap stuff, the mid range and the criminally expensive. It’s vitally important to buy your film from credible sources. That’s why I tend to buy the film in person, from a few credible photography shops in the Boston area, who properly store their unexpired film in a film fridge.
So for this trip, the 11th to Italy (ahh, makes me think of Doctor Who!) – I spent a couple hundred dollars on the film, a couple hundred to develop the rolls and a few hundred more once they scan the velvia film slides onto CD.
I shot about a hundred pictures on digital but focused mainly on analog because I prefer the dreamlike, tonal quality and the color and beauty of these special films. It’s sad how incredibly costly it is to shoot with fine art film; it’s truly a dying art form. But there is still the drugstore deals on fujifilm and kodak (buy one 5 pack, get one free, etc) I collect in bulk because that film is great for every day shots and practice. But for Italy and for shoots where I’m looking to tell a story, I still rely on those rare gems: portra, velvia, etc.
neapolitans in spaccanapoli, portra 800, october 2013
As I return to writing and shooting and editing I’m thinking of arranging this into a book or extended project of my version of Off The Beaten Path Italy so I’m thinking of the tremendous cost as an investment. We’ll see.
I have a busy weekend but I’m going to get some pieces together soon and post some of the photographs here. I do post some of the stand alone shots on tumblr here.
On a little boat floating around the island of Capri we gazed up at the rocks and watched as the sun slipped slowly down behind the cliffs.
Old barricades, canon heavy forts by the English and later the French, ancient walk ways of Romans and shepards, medieval paths with goats grazing on them, modern swimming clubs and fashion designer villas now sprinkle the soaring cliffs of Capri.
The sea is calm for a moment, the south wind changes, the sun slinks further down and there is an upheaval in the waves.
The boat rounds the entrance to another hidden grotto.
The famed Faraglioni rocks, with a boat passing under it’s arch. We are about to enter it ourselves.
Another boat races us to get there first. And yet we are all at a leisurely pace here. We are on “Capri time” as the locals say.
The shadows and light meet and turn the shimmering sea dark and the rock impenetrable.
It still amazes me how green things can grow out of prehistoric rock.
The shining sea, the endless sky, the stone as familiar as an old friend’s face you still remember instantly after a long absence.
In the rocks are countless animals and plant life, fishermen and birds of every color and song. In the water sea life and shells as exotic as halfway around the world.
The views some people have. The lives they lead. The quiet stories never known to outsiders.
Another Madonna of the Rocks, another Madonna of the Fishermen, of the sea. The Blue Grotto.
To think this island was settled thousands of years ago and that people thought they could climb these hills and mountains to make new lives.
The sunset kept receding and then bursting forth again as we sailed around the bends. The sun played a game with us.
On Capri, the clouds touch the rocks and one can lose them selves in the mist. The challenge is not falling off a cliff like an unlucky Roman.
Saying good-bye to Capri is never an option. It always calls you back, if, like me, you fall in love with it.
all photographs shot on fuji velvia 100 film slides by rebecca price butler – alovelettertorome.com
Another half hidden gem in a Neapolitan alleyway.
I wonder what this one means, what it is for and how old it is? Also I love graffiti that states the obvious.
Commentary on the papal conclave me thinks.
This is certainly one of my favorites.
Gorilla boy is back.
Naples, where the vespas and motor bikes look even cooler when parked against peeling grafittied walls.
Just your normal everyday missing chunks of a rather old building. This sign means nothing, paint it.
Hiding behind corners gets surprise shots and weird angles.
Off the beaten path Napoli.
The inside of a building half torn down.
A church at the end of another road. More graffiti and more arches to walk under.
Naple’s newer creatures.
The side entrance, dramatic to me, no big deal to the locals.
I’m trying to decide if this is rude or not.
Can a city qualify as cool on one incredible nonchalant chatting spot? It should.
I just follow the crowds to avoid them.
I followed the sound of New Orleans jazz music and found this delightful bunch.
The layers, the layers, the layers… I go on and on about it but Napoli is a city of layers!
It’s the forbidden peeks into private gardens and courtyards I love best.
The spooky Purgatory Lane.
Vico del fico al purgatorio. An abandoned dusty baby’s pram that wasn’t there in October at the entrance of the dark and musty Purgatory Lane. Nope, not at all like a horror movie.
All photographs are 35mm film, Pro H and Kodak, copyright Rebecca Price Butler, of alovelettertorome.com