|Tiny limbs wrapped up tight in a swaddling blanket, cradled close to her mother’s body. A head of the softest, darkest hair. The joyful embrace of a new big sister, eagerly entering her role as sibling and friend. All of these things are bound up in the beauty of film as captured by Portland, Oregon photographer Marla Cyree.
Marla was not sure what to expect in terms of light when she arrived at her new client’s home for their newborn session. She had tucked away a few rolls of Ilford Delta 3200 black and white film with her gear just in case there was less light in the home than anticipated. Fortunately for Marla, her careful planning paid off and with the movement of a few pieces of furniture and some creative thinking, she came away with a gorgeous mix of color and black and white images. Marla tells us:
“I walked inside and though their home was incredibly peaceful and lovely, it was very dark. I was concerned it was even too dark for film. However, after searching all the rooms and deciding to move a few pieces of furniture from a large window, we found sufficient light. Even though a lot of photographers might walk into a similar situation and feel disheartened or stressed, I embraced the moment and the resulting images really surprised me. It’s a different kind of beauty than what I’ve come to expect. With the deeper, emotive shadows, the images feel as though they speak with a quiet and eloquent sentimentality. The lack of light became an asset instead of a disadvantage. I love how everything–the decoration, the distractions, the life fluff…fall away. The only thing that remains is this beautiful mother with her family, the love and adoration tenderly peering through each frame.”
There is something so lovely and ethereal about newborn images on film. The days that fly by in a haze are so concretely captured with film photography. Marla was kind enough to share her gear set up and film stocks used in this session. She used both her Contax 645 and Canon Elan 7 cameras with Fuji 400H color film, rated at 400 and pushed +1 by the FIND lab, and Ilford Delta 3200 as well as Fuji Neopan 400 for the black and white images, with development and scans by Photovision lab.
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