Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Wild America

Hi. My name is Christian Farner. I'm a photographer, and I choose to shoot film. I love the feel of loading film into film holders, fumbling around in the dark, and the smell of the darkroom. The thing I love most about film is that I am able to create an image, then a photograph, with my hands. Nothing is computer generated, the image relies purely on my creative process.

This September my wife and I are going on a road trip across the United States. We're visiting several National Parks as well as discovering what the American highway has to offer. I want to get back to my roots and shoot this whole trip on film.

Right now our trip starts at Yosemite National Park, then we drive down through Nevada visiting the Hoover Dam on our way to Arizona where we'll be visiting the Navajo reservation and taking a look into the canyons surrounding Antelope Canyon. Following Antelope Canyon we will be driving through Colorado and across the great plains to Kansas City, MO. We'll be heading down through Oklahoma through Tennessee into Memphis, Nashville, and then finally ending up in Asheville, North Carolina. All in all, we will be travelling though 11 states in 19 days and covering over 3,900 miles. Come along with us and let's explore America together! Click on the link below to take a look at our route.

Wild America | My new trip on!

Growing up in Florida gave me a broad landscape to explore and learn to love photography. When I began to have a serious interest in learning photography, I decided to buy my first real camera. I saved my money, bought a Mamiya 645, and I was able to create some amazing images with this camera.

Mamiya 645 with Fuji Pro 400 film

I learned the basics of photography: aperture, shutter speed, composition, etc. My passion for photography only grew with each class that I took and each book that I read. The most incredible part of each photography class that I experienced was working in the darkroom. There's something magical about seeing an image that you've created come to life and appear on paper. There's nothing like it.

During this time I started to learn Photoshop. With all of the advancements that digital image enhancement has to offer, I never got the fulfillment that I had when I was working in the darkroom. I will say that photo restoration and colorization is the closest it comes to the thrill of the darkroom. It's about seeing something coming back to life, envisioning what it should be and creating an image.

Gelatin Silver Print Colored With Berg Blue Toner

I love shooting film and I love working in the darkroom even more! The feeling you get when you're developing your own film while listening to your favorite music is indescribable. I can still remember the songs I listened to while I developed a few of my favorite images.

For the past four years my photography has been based in the digital world. I've been shooting with a DSLR, editing my images and other people's images in Photoshop and Lightroom, and printing my images. For many photography jobs a digital camera has become an essential tool. Photojournalists, wedding photographers, portrait photographers, commercial and fashion photographers (and many more) have all benefited from the quick turn around that digital photography has to offer. Now what I want out of photography is to get back to my roots, I want to get back into the darkroom, and I want to be one of the few photographers out there who are choosing to continue to shoot in a truly archival photographic process. I want to start by shooting this journey in film.


I've created a Kickstarter to help me along my journey. Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform. It gives me a place to share my idea and find like minded that are willing to pre-order future images from my journey, however if I don't reach my funding goal I don't receive any of the money from my contributors. Following the successful funding of this Kickstarter, I will be able to procure the large amount of film and other supplies necessary that will make this trip successful. I also intend on using funds from this project to rent gallery space and a work space for my darkroom.

Some people have asked me, 'Why shoot this on film?' It's important that I shoot this project on film because I want to have greater resolution in my images. I also want the work that I produce to be archival in a way that my children, and their children, will be able to appreciate what our landscape was like at the time. The American landscape has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Who's to say that it won't change just as dramatically in the next 100 years? I want people to be able to see how the human process has affected the land for better and worse.

If you have any suggestions for places you think I should visit along the way let me know! I'd love to hear your input about this trip, and I would hate to miss out on a photo opportunity if I was close to something really cool. Check out our route at Roadtrippers.

All contributors will have unrestricted access to the blog that I have created for this project: You will get special updates while we're on the road, with images from the road, and you'll get to see how I see the grandness of the 'Land of the Free.' When we arrive in Asheville, I will set up my darkroom and begin developing the images from my trip. Once I narrow down the best images, I will begin the printing process and finally have a gallery opening in December of 2014. I encourage anybody that contributes to my project to attend the gallery opening in Asheville.

I'm making this trip whether this Kickstarter becomes successful or not, but I'd love to have you come along and be part of this journey. Please visit my Kickstarter page and join me on this journey across America. Thank you!

Christian Farner

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