My mother cranked out family photos that would feel as at home in a gallery as they do in their cardboard box in the attic. If she never took a certain portrait of me in a diaper, cowboy boots, a ten-gallon hat, and a badge, the world might have forgotten how good of a sheriff I was.
Film photography has always enamored me, whether it was clicking away disposable cameras at summer camp, or watching my brother casually fire through perfect rolls of Portra 160 in Nicaragua a decade later.
I thought of that as I tucked my Canon AE-1 Program, a 50mm f/1.8, and just three rolls of Kodak Portra 400 into a bag for a quick week in Lima this past February. My plans were minimal: surf, explore the city, and shoot 108 deliberate photos while enjoying a week of warm southern summer during my northern winter. I travel frequently and shoot film as often as I can, but this was my first trip that film was a top priority.
As soon as I stepped off the plane I felt lucky just to hold my camera; we were definitely traveling together. I spent my time in Miraflores and the surrounding neighborhoods and everything wanted to be photographed. It’s easy to lose track of time wandering the city or staring at the endless coastal cliffs above the beaches.
It’s a photographer’s dreamscape and I was even able to pick up a mint Olympus XA2 at a flea market for about a dollar, my only souvenir of the trip, and a good one at that. I wasn’t ready to leave after a week, I had just arrived, but before I knew it I was headed north again.
When I landed in New York I dropped the film at the Color House and anxiously awaited a dropbox notification which, thanks to a quick turnaround, I happily let interrupt dinner with a friend the next evening. I looked through the photos and felt fortunate to enjoy the privilege of film photography, as I always do. The three rolls were shot at box speed and performed just as I hoped, effortlessly delivering the vibrant colors of life in Lima.
This year I planned to start traveling full-time in September and that plan has been temporarily tabled. While I deal with that reality, I find myself looking at these photos often as a reminder to not let that goal die in the meantime..
Thanks for reading,
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