On Monday, I had the awesome privilege of attending an intimate workshop with the most amazing family film photographer of them all: Yan Palmer. First, I feel like I need to recognize how incredible it is that my husband, as always, supported me in this endeavor. We don't have TONS of extra money, so the cost of the workshop was definitely a real investment for us and Chas was enthusiastically behind my attendance from the start. I love him so much. May marks my one-year mark since starting into photography. It's hard to put into words what this new-found love of photography and the past year has meant to me and my family. Creating art has and always will be completely central to who I am and my overall sense of happiness and purpose. And while I've found great satisfaction and joy in various artistic/creative endeavors in the past such as painting and art therapy counseling, nothing has come close to the amount of passion, drive, and excitement that comes with photography for me. And the latest endeavor of venturing into the world of film has given me so much more to learn and try to conquer. I adore the challenge.

It's funny how once you take one small, brave step forward into the unknown, things can just start falling into place perfectly. A few months ago, just when I was really feeling the desire and need to switch over to shooting film, Yan announced her SLC workshop. Chas and I decided it was the perfect celebration gift to myself for finishing and publishing my book. So I purchased a seat and, by so doing, had the extra little motivation and kick in the pants to get my hands on a film camera and start practicing in the months ahead before the workshop. I shot my first roll on my canon eos3 and immediately fell in love with everything about film. I kept practicing and quickly decided that switching over completely to film from digital had to happen and that an upgrade in cameras to medium format needed to happen as well if I wanted to play in the big leagues. I got my Mamiya645 about two weeks before the workshop. Perfect timing.

And then came the workshop- the shiny cherry on top of a wonderful beginning into the world of shooting film. Yan is an incredibly gifted teacher and listener. As a professional therapist, I was actually super impressed with her ability to so effortlessly and naturally create a safe space where others felt comfortable opening up and really sharing in a genuine, vulnerable way. There was an environment of learning and honesty in that room from the start and I reveled in every moment of it all. More than anything, it just felt so amazing to be out of the house by myself and spending a whole day learning and thinking and growing in the subject matter that brings me so much joy and all things wonderful to my life. Being able to sit back and simply soak up all the goodness felt like a day at the photographer's inspiration spa.

The biggest take-away I had from the workshop was a desire to really ponder about my photography work as a whole, how I can stretch myself more creatively with it, and the ways I can become noticeable, different, and extra special in a sea of photographers all around me- especially in Utah! I've been thinking and thinking constantly about all this for the past week and writing small notes, ideas, and words down in a notebook as they come to mind. I think I'm slowly getting closer to discovering the kind of photographer I want to be and the images I want to create. It's definitely a struggle but also thrilling adventure.


(Because I'm cheap I only shot two rolls of film at the workshop.) Here are a few of my favorite images that I snagged while shooting over Yan's shoulder.


Samantha Kelly Photography-9005Samantha Kelly Photography-9000-2Samantha Kelly Photography-9002Samantha Kelly Photography-9001-2Samantha Kelly Photography-9004Samantha Kelly Photography-9003-2Samantha Kelly Photography-9000Samantha Kelly Photography-9002-2Samantha Kelly Photography-9001

Samantha Kelly Photography-9006

Samantha Kelly Photography-9003

Mamiya645 // portra 800 // alpine film lab