Saint Louis: Tiffany

Photographs taken July 17, 2017

After my adventure in the Smoky Mountains I decided to stay close to home for the next outing. I visited Tiffany, one of Saint Louis' many neighborhoods, with my friend Jason Gray.

Tiffany is a small neighborhood in south city with a circuitous history. Once part of the common fields of a French settlement, the land came under the ownership of the McRee family, and was subsequently sold off only to be bought back years later by Mary McRee. The area has undergone numerous changes since then, and is currently home to a portion of Saint Louis University’s medical complex. 

There is a great write up about the areas history on Photoflood STL's website. As a part of their mission to visit and document a different neighborhood in Saint Louis every month, they visited Tiffany earlier this year.

While the neighborhood is largely residential, Jason and I walked around the areas under development. This gave me a chance to use up the film I had left over from the Smokies.

I had borrowed a Holga camera for the trip, which was an interesting experience. Holga’s are often referred to as toy cameras because they are made almost completely from plastic, and have very limited settings. I am accustomed to having complete control of my camera, so it took some adjustment to only have a sunny/cloudy switch and a focus scale that went from person to mountain. In a strange way these limitations where kind of freeing.

Despite its drawbacks, and the constant doubt that anything would turn out, it was a fun camera to use. Giving up almost all control forced me to focus on what I was photographing, and not worry so much about finding the right settings. 

There was no need to second guess your choices, because there were none! The experience distilled photography down to its most basic form: compose the frame, release the shutter, then get back into the action. 

A few months ago I started using an old Canon EOS 100 film camera that has had a similar effect for me. Using film has encouraged me to take the extra time to ensure every frame is as good as possible; if I’m not completely happy with how it looks in the viewfinder, I’ll move on. I've tried to apply this to the use of my digital camera as well. 

Previously, I have frequently retaken the exact same photograph with few, if any, differences. Because a digital camera has no real limit on how many shots you can take, it is easy to just snap away and filter out the bad ones later. All this really accomplished though, was fill up my hard drive faster. Giving the extra effort to get it right in camera saves time while editing and, in my opinion, puts the art back into photography.

I know I will still retake photographs in the future: it is an easy way to make sure I captured the best image. Even so, I will continue to strive towards trusting my instincts, and taking those extra few seconds to make sure I get it right on the first try.

Thank you for reading! I know this post is a bit different from the last four, but I thought it would be nice to share my experience with the different cameras I have been using.

Check out my Instagram for more photos from Tiffany, and keep an eye on Facebook to find out when my next post will be available. 

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