In late 2022, I was searching through local and state arts agencies for call for entries for photography that I might be able to participate in. In doing so, I came across the Washington State Arts Commission website and subsequently a program for veterans. The Self-Directed Art Practice, or SAP seemed like a great opportunity at the right time. I thought about what aspect of photography I could pursue that would both expand my skillset and motivate me to get out and photograph more. After years of surgeries and chronic pain, I had been inactive on the social front, and participated in few activities except for a digital camera I purchased that rekindled a passion for photography. I had been thinking about getting back into film photography, so I researched cameras, film, chemistry and formulated a plan and budget according to the program guidelines and submitted my entry with examples of my work - and was awarded a grant. Seeing Square is the  product of  the first few rolls of film I took on the Mamiya 6 I purchased with the grant funds for the project. I call this series Seeing Square as I acclimated from the familiar 35mm to 6 x 6 format. Composing in the square format was refreshing through the large clear viewfinder with guide lines marking each lens size. I found the camera itself analog joy as the process of loading the film, composing the frame, while keenly aware of the size of the negatives and finite number of exposures on the roll versus the camera card holding thousands of exposures  in my digital  mirrorless camera.  The whole feel was retro and harkened back to my roots of film photography many years ago.  My first rolls developed had some trial and error involved, mostly loading film on the reels, as you can see some pressure fogging in some of the pics. But for the most part, exposures were accurate, and with close attention paid to developing instructions, the results were definitely passable right out of the gate. I spent weeks photographing and developing rolls for my self-directed practice, starting in black and white and moving on to color.I even made a road trip across the state, searching for new subject matter.  I am eternally grateful to the Washington State Arts Commission, for bringing this program to vets, and in my case providing the best therapy I could hope for in photography. I continue to shoot square format with the Mamiya frequently, it is easily my favorite film camera.

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