Boy oh boy, summer has arrived and decided to rear its hot head. It’s been absolutely sweltering around here, so I’ve mainly been holed up inside chilling with the air conditioning. If you’re melting too, I sure hope the list I’ve lined up this month is so cool you’ll completely forget about the heat. From dreamy instant self portraits to double exposures making you do double takes, hang tight because I have an excellent batch of talent lined up for you!
If you don’t start following Brandi the minute you look at her photos I may judge you a bit. Okay, I’m kidding. But… not really. The first time I discovered her work it was like one of those record scratch moments where I stopped in my tracks and thought “WHOA, who is this girl?? I need to know her.” Specializing in self portraits on instant film, Brandi’s work has a magical, ethereal glow to it. The unique look that instant film gives makes her appear like a mystical angel in her work. Once you get over how celestial she is, you’ll then be enamored with the locations she picks for her shots. From golden deserts to purple mountains, she captures her portraits in a variety of drool worthy paradises that will leave you with the most intense wanderlust.
Nothing demonstrates her innate ability better than the photo above. Captured in the iconic Joshua Tree, Brandi shot this image with her Polaroid OneStep+ using I-Type film [We reviewed this camera here.]. Often turning to photography and nature to clear her mind and find herself, Brandi was taking in the grandeur and expanse of the world in front of her. I love how her dress appears as if it is radiating light against the mountains in the distance tinted a purplish hue. She had to shoot this scene several times to combat the high winds, an apt example of how things rarely can go our way on the first try. I’m happy she stuck with it, as her determination and vision have completely paid off with this exquisite self portrait.
A stunning mixture of landscapes and portraits, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Victoria’s work. From breathtaking vistas to dazzling waterfalls to models prancing through misty woods, Victoria’s work tells the tale of a woman capturing her life of adventure in the great outdoors through her camera lens. Scrolling through her feed I can feel her passion for nature and the world bleeding off my screen. Whether they’re posed on the edge of a mountain or lying in a meadow of wildflowers, Victoria has a way of capturing her models as if they are completely one with the earth. As you gaze into her photos it’s hard not to feel the wonder of the world in all its glory.
She shot the image above with her trusty Canon AE-1 [which we reviewed here] and Kodak Ultramax 400 [also reviewed] in South Cumberland State Park in Tennessee. Aiming to capture a more sensual image, Victoria was doing double duty having the subject model her own handmade jewelry (talk about multi talented!). While sensual, I also adore how pure and natural this image is. From the natural light to the soft curve of the model’s back leading your eye perfectly to the sprig of wildflowers in her back pocket, I love every detail of how Victoria has posed this scene. Even better that it’s shot on Ultramax, proving you don’t need to shoot everything on Portra to get a killer shot.
When I first discovered Renee’s page I was immediately struck by the tender and intimate moments she captures of her life. Using film from 35mm up to large format, she documents her family life as a mother, daughter, sister, and partner. At first glance it’s immediately clear how much she loves her family and cherishes their moments together. Of all her shots I especially adore the photos she captures of her young daughter, Ariana. Motherhood is one of the most rewarding yet challenging paths women can choose to take in life, and I think Renee absolutely nails the reality of it. From photos of being woken up by an energetic toddler to tender embraces, I can feel the deep love and sacrifice mothers experience radiating through her work.
While serving as an artist in residence at the Stay Home Gallery Renee shot this double exposure Polaroid above of her and her sister. Initially aiming to take separate portraits, this beautiful creation happened purely by accident. While taking the first shot of her and her sister together the self timer button malfunctioned forcing Renee to take a second exposure of herself to get the film to come out. The effect is stunning. I love how it appears as if she and her sister are a part of her soul. Sometimes our best work happens completely unplanned.
Brittany Gonzales [Instagram]
One plain winter morning I was curating photos for The Film Sorority when I happened across Brittney’s work. It was like getting hit by a bolt of lightning, love at first sight. How had her work been hiding from me for so long? Her photos are just so soft and delicate, with creamy pastels as far as the eye can see. Even her night shots are a gorgeous mix of soft yellows, rosy pinks, and dusty blues. How she does it? I have no freaking idea. Capturing historic homes and scenery throughout Texas, her photos are one long, endless summer filled with lush greenery and delicate blue skies.
The photo above is the exact photo that hit me like a lightning bolt that one winter morning. I was immediately enchanted by the soft, dusty light and the twinkling star filter, wondering if I was peering into a bar, antique store, or someone’s long forgotten basement. I wasn’t too far off as Brittany captured this image with her beloved Minolta X-700 [our review] on Portra 400 film [and our review of that] while meandering around the lower level of a vintage shop in Braunfels, TX. She was inspired by the chaos of lost treasures piled up on top of each other, and the dark, mysterious lighting. I absolutely love how she’s framed this image with the shimmering light just barely illuminating the portraits on the wall making you wonder if you’ve strayed into the basement of a haunted Victorian house.
I not only have the special fortune to count Onome as a friend and a peer, but also as a partner in crime as they are one of my fellow curators of The Film Sorority. From the moment I first discovered their work I knew I was in the presence of something extra special. Onome’s photos have that extra dash of magic that makes you know they have a truly unique talent. Oftentimes when I’m in a creative rut, all I need to do is scroll through their feed, immerse myself in their work, and I feel ready to get out shooting. A gallery bursting with cinematic shoots, Onome’s work feels nostalgic and dreamy. Shooting often in the bright midday sun, Onome’s photos are just radiant and dazzling.
Nothing encapsulates their style better than this glorious shot above. Captured on the often overlooked Portra 160 with their Mamiya RB67, this photo looks like it was stolen straight out of a dream. It’s even more impressive when you realize Onome develops and scans all their own work. This image is sheer perfection in my eyes from the pale blue sky to the gleaming highlights to the vibrant color of the car. This makes me want to hop in a plane and go walking around San Francisco snapping shots in the warmth of the California sun.
If there’s a female photographer whose work you’d like to share with me and the rest of the readers, please do so in the comments below. We’d love to see and promote.
You can also follow The Film Sorority, a new Instagram account focused on promoting female perspectives in photography, which I’ve co-created with Analog Talk host Chris Bartolucci, and another lovely and talented shooter named Onome.
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