Evolution of style: Self-centered 2

2021 was the year that I started dressing better thanks to working a construction job: I would wear the same clothes every day without washing for a week, and they would get so grimy with concrete dust, that I just felt disgusting all the time, plus it was all kind of samey.  In my initial search for a good pair of steel toe work boots I started watching a lot of videos online, and mostly they were oriented toward fashion boots rather than work boots, but that gave me plenty of ideas for nice clothes that I could enjoy when I wasn’t wearing my construction gear.  That carried over into going back to the job I actually enjoy.  I have to thank Carl Murawski, Stridewise, Rose Anvil, and maybe one or two other channels on the youtube, plus facebook groups like the Alden Shoes Enthusiasts and Selvedge & Quality Supply.  A lot of the pictures that follow were ones that I took to post on one of those two groups; a few were mimicking the standard shots that get posted there but I do try to give them my own personal flair, and I’m sure I’m the only one shooting on film.

Most of all I was concerned with buying new items that were not made in China, but also staying away from companies that don’t offshore their production, and prioritized American-made wherever possible.  By October I could put together an outfit that was 100% Made in USA and I wear that most days.  Brands featured in these photos include: Stetson hats, Brave Star Selvage, Alden Boots, Schaefer Outfitters, Ruddock Shirts/Flying R Ranchwear, Sugar Cane jeans, Nama Denim, Legacy 92.  And this year there is another new pair of jeans from Brave Star plus a pair of White’s cowboy boots.

And since I was adding a lot of color to my look (thanks to the shirts) I started shooting more color film, also handy considering it was Fall.  It seemed to be at the start of the film shortage and I was going around to Wal-Marts and Walgreens in the area and buying up whatever stock they had of Fuji Superia and Kodak Ultramax.  I’m glad I did because it might be the last time I get to use Superia 400 since Fuji shut down their factory in 2020 and we still don’t know right now if they are reopening it or having other companies manufacture film for them from now on.

2021 off-season cowboys

Not only did I probably shoot more color film last year than I ever had before, I shot more C-41 in general, in fact nearly exclusively.  These are all Ilford XP2.  I think that for the photo project itself black & white works better and I’ve experimented with turning my color film grayscale as well.

Most of these guys are coworkers of mine, one or two might be passengers and even more of an authentic cowboy than any of us.

Self-centered

One of the aspects my peers criticized in my photo project was that there were hardly any pictures with me in them.  I’ve kept that in mind ever more frequently this year and either taken more selfies or had someone else hold the camera for me.  Hopefully I was successful in my attempt to add a bit of my own personal je ne sais quoi to these.

Film, in order: Fuji Superia 400, Kodak Ultramax 400, Ilford XP2 Super, Kodak BW400CN (exp.2008).

Mother/Tri-X

Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day that my brother and I didn’t have our mother.  Looking back on it, even though we butted heads a lot, I was able to spend a lot of time with her in the last few years and I’m grateful for that now.  This would be the companion piece to my other tribute which was posted back in December.  Honestly I completely forgot about Mother’s Day but I’ve never been a big fan of holidays that promote obligatory consumerism and people punish you for forgetting; I suppose I’ll never have to feel bad for not remembering from now on.

While developing all the rolls I shot in 2020 I came across a few that I’d taken of my mom, usually holding her first grandson.  Thanks to my old photo instructor Stacy for letting me get all that done in the school darkroom, or I don’t know when I would have gotten around to seeing these.  The entire Summer I was shooting nothing but Kodak Tri-X.

2021 off-season jeep tours

It’s incredible to me that what started off as current up-to-date posts has kept going and I’m already behind again, with the 2022 season about to take of.  That’s a good problem I suppose, it means I’m not about to run out of material soon!

But shooting around 40 rolls of film for this project every year, I suppose it’s to be expected.

Trolley ride

Every once in a while I get to ride along instead of driving, it gets me shots I wouldn’t otherwise.

I remember the saying that “if you have a camera, you’re a photographer.”  Well nearly everyone’s a photographer here.  A lot can be said about people who spend their life experiencing it through a screen.

Behind the scenes of social media

In all my tours I’ve never had so many pictures taken by passengers.  Every single one of them wanted so many taken at the same spot and all were very particular about how they looked.  Now evidently these days men have a reputation of being poor photographers, probably because they get too exhausted by demanding subjects.  Then again with my coworker Cougar and myself they found a couple guys willing to fawn over them like schoolboys and jump through whatever hoop they wanted.

Talking to passengers more recently, I guess that places like Garden of the Gods are getting notoriety thanks to lots of posts on Instagram, TikTok, and who knows whatever else, I really don’t want to get caught up in it all.  I don’t know how all these phone pics they/we took turned out but honestly the whole experience was eye-opening; they were much more concerned with how they looked in pictures than what the pictures were of, I think.  Is this the modern woman?  After the fact, I find the whole thing shallow and depressing.