Portrait: Self Portrait 1995

Self Portrait 1995

The year was 1995. Things were bright. I was freshly enrolled at Brooks Institute of Photography and my marriage was 4 months old. Sam and I had just moved to Santa Barbara. We had been to Santa Barbara earlier that summer looking for an apartment and did not find one. In desperation I had agreed to an apartment that we had not seen. These were pre-internet days so we couldn’t even check it out online. A different world. 

Sam was gripping my hand as we looked for the apartment building. She had such anxiety. When we found it and loved it Sam hopped with excitement. Memories… 

All through my years at Brooks I was way more interested in doing my own photography than my coursework. I did many self portraits which I will eventually post but this one came up first. 

Looking at the photograph it seems like yesterday. The refreshing cool floor on my bare feet. I can feel the moisture on the walls and countertops from the humidity. I can smell the drying paint. They painted everything in the appartment before we moved in. They even painted the tub. Being poor and living simply has its charms.

The light in Santa Barbara is so warm. It is intoxicating to live there. Through the three years I was there I met tens of Brooks graduates who could never leave Santa Barbara. They were working at the grocery store, the banks and loading docks. 

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Photo tips, technical information and philosophical drivel: 

The print that I scanned this from was Kodak Ektalure black and white paper. It was the most beautiful paper ever made. It had a gorgeous stippled texture, matte finish and a “glow” in the highlights that I have not seen since. That paper was discontinued in the late 90’s. It’s a shame but things always change right? 

The camera used was a Canon A-1. For the three years of photography classes at Capital High School I lusted after the A-1. It did both aperture and shutter priority. It was all black and back then black was the sign of a professional camera. “Photo Black” they called it. Film used:Kodak TMax 100. 

I had just purchased my first Minolta IV F meter to ascertain the exposure of this image. The whites on the walls were sure to be underexposed a couple of stops if not for my trusty meter. 

 -Jon Ball is a raving lunatic because he photographs children and families for a living. Studio Jon Ball. www.studiojonball.com

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