In My Lens …

Edit November 18: Outside Studio Musings (with Kiki the Cat):

 

Edit October 26: Opening up Linda McCartney’s new Book, Polaroid Diaries:

 

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And take a listen to Episode 2 of my Podcast, Just Yawping:

Click to Listen!

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Also, follow me on Instagram ( Click Here)  for Daily updates in my Instagram Stories!

… August was World Photography Day and I wondered if I should Participate:

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32 Years of Self Portraits …Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 3.03.18 PM

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Image + Words from the Linda McCartney Website.

(as always Click the Pink for the Link and best viewed on a Desktop or Laptop)

Every Day is World Photography Day.

It is my life long Tonic.

On My Photography Site , I posted some early words about my Life through the Lens:

 

From L to R: With my First Camera, a Kodak Ektralite 110 in London + With my First 35mm Film Camera, a Minolta Maxxum 7000 +  a Polaroid of Me (taken by my Friend Joanne) with my First (Impulse) Polaroid Camera.

Click here to read about My Passion and then here for my Love of  Film.

Looking back at my Life, Photography has been my World. The Camera is the Narration to my Life,  how I make sense of the Minutiae, how I define who I am.

It’s my Bridge from the Divine, My Prayer to the World.

As many Creatives know, however, we can have a Complicated Relationship with this Muse. I am unabashedly, no exception.

Sometimes, it’s easy.

From that Moment of perception, to framing that shot in the viewfinder, to that feeling of pressing the Shutter down and hearing,  t  h  a  t   s  o u n d.

Bliss.

Sometimes it’s complicated.

From feeling inadequate because of that perfect shot thrown up on Social Media, to someone pulling out their new Gear, to hours spent on Editing Pics, and no one making a comment on them, ever.

Pain.

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Photo + Quote from Eve Arnold via shootdotedit.com

These days, there are a Plethora of ways to take Pictures. Mobile Devices, ‘ D’ Series Cameras,  Mirrorless Cameras, and now, back to Film Cameras. There are even more Photography Apps, Editing Programs, Social Media Platforms, that make it easy for you to Snap, Create, and put your Work out there.

By that Definition, everyone can be a Photographer.

So, I Posit this.

I went to School for Photography.  I have Instagram on my iPhone. I ingest an (un) healthy amount of Books and Magazines on Photography.  I use Three Editing Programs when I edit Pictures.

Does this make me a Photographer?

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Via shootdotedit.com

We just lost Peter . Thank You Dear Man, for your Gift, your Legacy. His Work, defined the 90’s for me  and  h  o  w   Black + White Photography should be.

Well done Peter, for bringing it back to Center.

Photography has nurtured my Altruistic view of the World around, and the World within. It single handedly, makes me a better Human.

This feeling seems to run deep in my Family.

My Beloved Grandma Balantac :

 

Taken with this Camera:

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Other than the Family Nostalgia (that’s my Dad, Uncle Moreno, and Auntie Josie in the Photos) they capture an important era in Filipino American History.  Whilst raising three Children and making a living as a Migrant Farm Worker, she became an instinctive Documentarian. And since October is Filipino American History Month, her Photos are more relevant than ever.

My Beloved Dad:

 

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His Shots from the Early 1950’s when he was Stationed in Europe, hands down, have inspired my need for Wanderlust and taking Pictures of it.  He has the ability to capture the Heart of the Moment as well as the Offbeat. He bought me First Camera, and to this day, still encourages me to look for the Different in things.

I have been taking Pictures since I was 11, and have shot with 5 (4 of which I still have) Film Cameras into my late 20’s (can you guess which ones they are?):

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In My recent move back home on the River, I’ve Rediscovered some Gems.

In my Teens, 20’s + Mid 30’s, I lived through Black + White Film:

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Me … Queens, New York, 1985

 On our way out for the day, I asked my Auntie where these steps led. She said that’s where we keep our Bins. I loved the light, and I asked her to take my Picture. It wasn’t until I got the Film back, did I realize, how cool the Juxtaposition was of me, all clean and put together, sitting next to the Trash. Thus, my life long habit of hunting for Randomness, began.3885050805_d80ef67ee8_o

Waiter … NYC, 1985

I was walking around Little Italy with my Minolta around my neck, when I heard a voice bellow ‘ Take My Picture !’ I can’t recall his name, but I do remember the energy on that street. I love that ‘John’ was walking out of  Frame and the other Waiter in the background.

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Wee Lad … NYC, 1985

It was only a Split Second, but when he walked by me I knew I had to take his picture. I have always been careful of taking pictures of Children and asking for Permission. But, this Photo I took on the sly and I feel it made it more Quirky.

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Guitarist … NYC, 1985

Walking fast amongst the Crowd, I caught sight of this Musician strumming in the doorway. I stepped back, snapped, and kept on walking.

On the Move … Coney Island, 1985

In traffic, I looked up and saw this intense Conversation. I love how the Window framed them.

On a Bike … Merida, Mexico, 1987

After the Pyramids in Chichen Itza, we walked around Merida. His bike caught my eye.

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Michael Hutchence … Madison Square Garden, 1988

My Late 1980’s + Early 90’s are defined by INXS. I saw them 3 times in 1988. This Gig was the most memorable, as we were able to sneak close to the Stage. RIP Michael, you were big, bright Shooting Star.

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Mom + Dad … Muir Woods, 1988

Simply put, the light. Still my Favorite photo of my Parents.

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Mama … Miami, 1995

My First Trip to Miami was with my Dominican Professor/Friend to visit her Familia. I absolutely fell in love with them, her Culture, and Her Mama.

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Playing … Bohol, Philippines, 1998

My First Trip to the Philippines was on a Medical Mission. We did get some time to explore, and whilst we were driving around, I looked out the Window, and saw these kids crossing a path. One of my Favorite shots from the whole Trip.

Some Random Black + White  Favorites:

 

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I did Shoot Color Film as well:

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At my Grandparents Farm, I distinctively remember seeing Dad in between the edge of the window and the top of the trunk lid. Daddy saw me taking his picture and smiled!

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At the Tower of London, we were walking around and I remember how Proud he seemed. After I took this, he waved at Me!

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I had just been gifted my new Minolta Maxuum for my High School Graduation, when we visited my Friend Ruth’s Family Farm. This is her Sister Kathleen and still is my Favorite Portrait I’ve taken with this Camera.

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When we arrived at this Small Village in Cebu, there was a long line of people winding around the whole of the building. As the building began to fill up, people started to peek in through the Windows. I gave these Kids School Supplies after I took this Picture.

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A Beach in Cebu. I remember just gasping when I saw the above view.  It doesn’t get any more picturesque than that.

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In Manila, children come up to cars waiting in traffic, selling things or asking for Help. I looked up and saw this young girl carrying her Sister and she seemed so, troubled.

I Shot Color and Black + White Film with my Fuji Film 312 Zoom on My Trips to London + Paris (2013 + 2015):

 

I remember being SO excited about going to Walgreens and picking up my Prints! How times have changed.

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Crockett, CA

This was taken with my Rocket Spartus Camera, that shoots 127 Film. I love the shape and how the Images overlapped. I had the Film and Prints done at The Darkroom.

Then I also took stock of my Photography Books.

These have Inspired me for 33 Years, have been in 4 Different Homes, and I suspect will come with me when I Live Abroad:

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From Bottom L to R: Robert Freeman + Herb Ritts + George Forss + Top: Linda McCartney

These Books inspired Me through the 90’s to Mid 2000’s …

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Dan Eldon, Sabrina Ward Harrison , and Viggo Mortensen particularly inspired me during this Period.  Because of them, I started Visual Journaling, making Mixed Media Pieces with my Photography, and created my First Website, Just Genie:

 

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In my Mid 30’s , I Started Shooting Digital with a Canon A630. It’s the Camera I used to get signed to a German Photo Agency ( click for my Gallery). I am Humbled and Chuffed they see something in my Work:

 

… then I Graduated to a Canon XSi (because the Agency wanted me to Shoot Raw):

 

… onto a Canon 6D (because Photography School wanted me to Shoot Full Frame) and also when I started Watermarking my Work:

 

… to my latest Edition of a Leica Delux for my Solo Trip to Europe last December:

 

Pics from Barcelona (more to come in my next Blog Post).

I was impressed with it’s Detail, the Full Frame + Raw Capabilities, and how unbelievably light it was!

But, I don’t always Document with a Traditional Camera.

In my Early 40’s (I know),  I got my first Mobile Phone, a Nokia, and I remember being so excited that I always had a ‘Camera’ ready:

 

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On to iPhones:

 

5s …

 

6 Plus …

 

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7 Plus …

Even with this wealth of Images, however, I could have never imagined how my relationship with Photography would evolve, and literally, save my Soul.

It started with the ending of my Marriage in 2011 …

 

In the Depths, Photography was my Divine Light:

 

It healed me, opened me up, made me humble:

 

 

 

 

In the Last Couple of Years, it has become my Benediction …

 

 

Sometimes, I do make Portraits.

I love that Buzz when I can Connect with someone and we Create something different, together:

 

My True Passion, however, is Traveling. In the last Two Years, I’ve been Blessed to have been able to do just that.

London, Oxford, and Edinburgh:

 

A bit of London again (My Spirit Animal) + Liverpool + Barcelona + Amsterdam ( More Coming):

 

Click here for more of my Travel Photography …

During this current Renaissance, I’ve devoured Books and Magazines …

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From Top, L t R: Sally Mann, Walker Evans, Harry Benson, and Steve McCurry 

… And lately, I have been Inspired by:

One. Shaun Evans

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 His Film Photo for the Liverpool Art Book …

As well as being a Photographer, he is a Brilliant Actor and a Poetic Director:

 

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Stills (taken from my iMac) from the Apollo Episode of Endeavour that he Directed (and Acted in).

What I love about his Storytelling is how every shot f e e l s like a still photo, his meticulous attention to Detail, and his subtle use of Color. The last few shots of the episode where he pans from Endeavour in the Car, then slowly up to the Moon,  I gasped.  It was Beautiful. Dear Mr. Evans, Well Done! I can’t wait to see more of your Vision, you Inspire Me.

Read this for his words on Story Telling  (I Love that he shoots with a Leica) and watch Endeavour if you love Lyrical Story Telling.

Two: Iddo Goldberg

Please go to his Website for the full effect of his Stunning Work:

 

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I was first Introduced to Iddo with his Acting in ‘ Secret Diary of a Call Girl ‘. Then onto the brilliantly addictive show Salem, with his lovely Wife, Ashley. It was around that time, that I stumbled upon his Instagram, Iddo Photo. I was/am moved by his innate way of tapping into the Humanity of his Subjects, by his singular Aesthetic, and his incomparable Skills (I believe he shoots mostly Film).  Mr. Goldberg, I am in Awe.

Three: Patti Smith

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I first came across her Music in my first Year at University, and then her Verse and Photography, in my Late Twenties. I have since revisited her work, and have been blown away by her shots taken with her vintage Land Polaroid Cameras. Her photos coupled with her prose, verse, and narrative, is just plain Intoxicating.

Now along with Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono, she is my Creative Hero. As I embark on my own Journey of writing a book (with Photos shot with Film),  Ms. Smith, you will be my Guide. You are a true Renaissance Woman.

And with that, my ode to Photography ends. What started out as a small nod, has grown into a heartfelt conversation on one of the biggest Loves of my life. I hope in my sharing, I may have rekindled someone’s passion for Photography , inspired someone to go out and shoot, or go to the Library and check out that Photography book.

 I am always on the hunt for new projects and/or collaborations with my fellow Photographers! A joint show somewhere? Sending a Visual Journal back and forth in the Snail Mail to each other? Chatting about new Photography Books, editing Techniques, Shooting Film with Vintage Cameras, on my Podcast?

Are you interested? Let’s chat!

E-mail Me:  geniebalantac@gmail.com

… Where will you take me, Dear Photography?

I have no idea, but I can’t wait to get there.

BIG Love, G XXX

PS: Wanna see my New Magic Studio?

 

 

… Filmed Last Month, I have since added more + rearranged!

Expect more Vlogs soon!

2 thoughts on “In My Lens …

  1. I love the photographs all of them are so so pretty and so diverse from each other since the light catches in a different way and creates a mood and a side that no one had cared to think about.( I am sorry if it seems like I am spouting nonsense)

    Like

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