Article by Maralee Nielson
"There's a phrase popular in Western New York right now from Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott: "Trust the process." As much as I try to not fall into the hype of Billsmafia, McDermott couldn’t have said it any better. To me, you have to trust the process in getting better. Much like athletes, artists have to spend time practicing their trade to get better. Consumers of entertainment and art don’t always understand the process that goes into improving a skill, and how difficult it may be. The process I have chosen in improving my skill as a photographer is by shooting film and making prints in a darkroom - something that makes me not like the other kids.
These days, it is pretty easy to become a photographer. Hell, if you have a good eye you could become a photographer literally overnight. You could even skip buying a camera and just use your phone - the camera on phones these days are incredible. As long as you have a good eye, people will pay attention - you’ll just have to find the right hashtags.
But here’s the thing with me - I don’t give a shit about digital photographs. I mean, it’s super fun and my small career as a photographer wouldn’t be what it is today without digital, but it’s not what I love most. I always imagine how cool it would be to make a living off prints made in the darkroom - which is pretty unrealistic but I guess further proves why I’m not like the other kids.
I want to be involved and in control of my art - and certainly don’t want anyone doing any part of the process for me. I fell in love with photography when I took a film photography course my Sophomore year of college. I had taken digital classes in high school and owned my own DSLR, but it never pulled me in deep. That all changed when I learned the process. How to load the the film into a camera, load the film into a reel in complete darkness, shake a tank in a sink with a bunch of weird chemicals, burn an image from the film into a piece of paper, and then dip the paper into more chemicals in a room so dark that you can hardly see anything - that process. It sounds complicated and boring to some, but to me it’s motivation to get out of bed everyday."
How do you dream?
I know I’m about to go down a rabbit hole with this, but I want I start answering this question with a quote from the newest season of Twin Peaks: “We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?”
Let me just say Twin Peaks is my favorite show of all time and the director, David Lynch, has greatly influenced my art and general perspective of the world.
But anyway, how do I dream? Well, I guess that would be hard to explain since you don’t see everything from my perspective - which is actually a beautiful thought in my opinion. I feel as though the people that have vivid dreams or strong aspirations of what they want to become, usually end up achieving their dreams - living inside the dream. All it takes is a little thing called trust - trust that the process will get you to that dream state. For some it’s going back in time and saving Laura Palmer from her own father, and for some it’s taking photographs everyday in hopes that it you won’t have to make sandwiches for the rest of your life.
I have a hard time remembering my dreams. If I can recall anything at all it's just a vibe. Which ironically enough how I actually dream about my aspirations in life. There's nothing specifically I want to achieve, I just want to feel a good vibe. And trust that I will recognize it when it comes. No final destination, no guidelines or restrictions, just pure devotion to moving forward and being happy - that's how I dream."
Brett Ballachino @brettballachino