when i think back on the last month and a half, i can’t seem to remember one particular thing. it’s been a consistent rush of feelings: anger about not being able to see my daughter as consistently as she’s used to, being scared for my girlfriend’s well-being who was still in new york when things started getting really bad, sadness over the strained relationships with all of my grandparents and their safety during this, anxiety over the security of my job that i’ve been at for not even three months, and even feeling like a selfish jerk for having anxiety over that when so many of my friends (and even family) have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs. usually, it’s easy for me to look back over my last few rolls of film and remember all of the memories that accompany the images. the good and bad ones, but right now even though it’s hard to feel how those memories felt, i see the happiness in my daughters face, the genuine smile on my face when i’m next to the girl i love, and the hope that my newly married friends have for their future together. these were all taken over the last two months from a variety of cameras: bessa r3m, olympus mju, fuji gas645 on a bunch of different film stocks.
if anyone wants or needs to talk, i’m here. just shoot me an e-mail: ryan at thelendingside (dot) com. stay well (and stay home).
i want to be better about this blog, so here’s my attempt at starting to get back at it. i found an olympus mju for $0.89 cents and i thought it would be fun to use in new york city while i was visiting my girlfriend. i crossed my fingers that it was in working order as it was the only camera i packed, and 5 rolls later i was nervous that i had made a really bad judgement call by exclusively using this completely untested camera that i found at the bottom of a bin full of cheap sunglasses and old phone cases. well, it works perfectly. my two cents: what a great camera to use for capturing memories. it feels so effortless to use and enjoy, there are no bells and whistles but who cares, it’s a tool meant to be used. here are some of the images i made with it, captured on fuji superia 400 pro.
thanks for looking and reading, or just looking. and please, listen to alicks – mu1 .
locations the images were captured at in no specific order: domino park, mr. taku ramen, toy tokyo, coney island, chinatown, shane’s apartment, marcy ave station, west village
people always say
“it feels like
a lot of time has passed”
but when i look
into a mirror
i never see yesterday
time just seems to go, go, go.
sometimes it feels easier to run with it,
but i want to stay here for now, with all of you.
it’s me again. i promise i won’t ever tell your friends about this as you get older, which you will (inevitably) continue to do. time seems to go by so fast, but the time that we spend together seems to carve out it’s own corridor in my memory. i’ll never take that for granted, because i can’t even remember what i had for lunch by 6pm most days. lately, things have been quite difficult and i see how it impacts you. just know that we will work through it together, i will always do everything in my power to make it better, and also know that there is always iced-cream. some of those things will stay in my letters to you, and off of the internet. we’re making progress, through grace and time – i think things will get better. for you, i’ll always do my best to be the bigger person and please believe me when i say there have times when that has been hard. but for you, i’ve had to bite my tongue until my mouth feels like it’s filled with real blood.
time solves most things, and what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.
i look at the photos that i take of you, and i can remember those days spent together. i think all of these are at least six months old, and i remember them like yesterday. we have a routine, and i know that you hate to break that but you’re starting to come out of your shell a little bit and that’s really cool to see. as much as i love bodega, if i’m being honest, that tempeh sandwich lost its appeal a year ago. with this new job bringing me closer to you, there is moving pieces that are coming together to allow us to build more routines. because, how could i ever tire of them?
and i always tell myself that i should go to sleep (but i never do). it feels like this is the only time i have to sit here, listen to music, and start typing out some words about how i’m feeling. last week i was sitting in a camper van in fucking iceland, and while gabe drove us down the north coast he put this record on. i kept singing this line back to myself in my head, “do you feel ashamed when you hear my name?”
i’m back home now, and i won’t lie. it is just now starting to feel like my home. there was shit packed into drawers and closets that i couldn’t find the courage to deal with until now. it reminded me not of a failed relationship, but of something that felt more like resentment. the carelessness and disregard for all of the lives that had came and went before. going through everything with my mom (thank you for your help, i love you), i couldn’t bring myself to throw away the memories of a family i’m no longer even a part of. the memories that sat in a musty laundry room and outside in a shed, for the last four years. maybe left for me to find and then feel bad for throwing away. but me being me, a me that i’m happy to be. i’ll pack it neatly, and return it. maybe it’ll mean more this time around.
photographs were taken on a fuji klasse w on a mix of kodak portra 160 and fuji superia 400.
i felt more purpose in spending my mental capacity on the thoughts of being a better father, a better friend, even a better reader. rather than focusing on social media and partaking in the endless scrolling. i would be lying if i said i didn’t get derailed by the attention my photography received, by the people i met all around the world through our similar interests. i started to learn how to be relevant on the internet. it made me feel good, temporarily. making sure i posted every other day to stay in the algorithm, using the right hash tags, posting at the peak hours, all that shit. for what? to have my photographs be seen for a fraction of a second by people that i would never meet or even have any real interaction with? all the gratification i received at the end of the day, through instagram, meant nothing to me. it was sort of a false inspiration to keep doing what i was doing but not without also making me feel distracted and starting to take photographs of what i knew other people would want to see. i realized that sharing my photos in person, even though i left no trace of how to contact me, or who i was, felt better. knowing that the people who took the time to look, knew the street names, the architecture, the laundromats and their neon lights, the feel of our city. a place that we all dwell together. thats the gratification i want. that is what i want to take photographs of. i want to make connections and have conversations with the people that connect with me on a deeper level. it’s so easy and cheap to create things for the sake of attracting a “following”. i cannot imagine being one of those people who saw that as a viable source of income, or could feel comfortable selling out for ad revenue or click through revenue. now there’s ads for these fucking people to teach you how to make money off making dumbass youtube videos. i cannot believe this is even real.
we are not here for long, if the whatever medium you use, whatever you’re trying to create is for anything other than representing of the ups and downs of your life to the people in your real life, you’re selling yourself short.
photographs were taken with a bessa r3m + zeiss 35/2 on fuji superia 400/cinestill 50d
first off, looking back at some of these photographs really makes me realize that we go to bodega maybe a little too much. hopefully soon your rice & beans only diet will evolve a little bit. oh well, i’ll still love you either way. i always found it a bit sad that i never had any letters from my dad, to go back and read after he was gone. it took me til you were four years old to feel like this was something i wanted to do. unfortunately, he didn’t get that long with me so i won’t hold it against him. i want nothing more than to live as long as possible so i can continue to be your dad, and watch you continue to grow into the human i know you will. but in the event my time runs out, i want you to have these pictures and these words so you never forget how much i love you.
i hope by the time you read this, that things are much different. right now it seems like no one lives their lives for themselves, but rather to make themselves look like their life is just super-fucking-awesome, like all the time. i hope that by now you know, life isn’t always super-fucking-awesome. it gets tough, tiring, overwhelming. without a doubt, at times you will feel defeated, and that’s okay. surround yourself with people that love you, and they will build you back up. it is the people like this, that make your life awesome. the long term friends who know a side of you that i won’t ever be able to know (that’s also okay). so please take a lot of pictures to remember these people, and to catalog your lives together. don’t take pictures to make other people feel left out, or to try and prove how great your life is. i’ve found that our own happiness is better kept a secret. i hope that you’ll look through the photographs of my life and feel how great of a journey it has been. what an honor it’s been to just exist. from being your dad, to visiting amazing places with my friends, and just simply capturing my every day. this is what photography is for.
after work, i ride my bike downtown. i walk around and get my mind off of work/life/shitty people. i shoot a roll of film and listen to music. observing the city to my own track list. even though at this point it’s all familiar to me, i take it in. hoping to be changed by something or someone. lately, i’ve been inspired on how i don’t want to live my life: glued to my phone, too busy peering into someones perfect life to live my own. so here i am, further motivated to live my own life. to catalog it in writing and photographs. ones that will help me remember my good and bad days. i’m still learning the concept of a home. having my own, and being at peace when i’m here. it’s important for not only me, but for avery to have a place that can’t get taken away from us. i see so many people (even friends) fighting a constant battle with always having to be somewhere new. to prove how exciting their life, and masking running away from their real life under the trigger word, wanderlust. we’re meant to root.
the photographs below were taken with a bessa r3m, a mix of glass (zeiss 35/2 + nokton 40/1,4), with portra 400, developed and scanned at home.
some of my favorites from the last three months. a mix of my bessa r3m, contax g1, and olympus xa2. developed + scanned at home. i haven’t even went public with this project yet, besides sending it to a few close friends. i’m not not sure what direction i want to take it in, other than having an outlet to share the photographs i make. it’s not the kind of stuff that people on instagram want to see, but it’s my life and thats why it is so important to me. i ditched that shit because people don’t want to make photos for themselves to remember anymore, it’s more about ‘curating’ a life that seems better than everyone else’s. it’s weird seeing people you fuck with start to act like someone that they aren’t on the internet. what good does it do? to be so unauthentic at trying to convince people that you’re authentic? my life is pretty standard: i’m a single parent, my house is usually a mess (a 4 out of 10, so not too bad), and i work a lot. my free time is spent doing shit that makes me happy. reading, spending time with daughter, maintaining relationships with my friends/family, riding my bike, documenting my life with a camera, and two weeks out of the year i try and travel and see new places. i wanted some place i could share my thoughts + photos and this seems like the best place for that, for now. so if you’re reading, thank you.