Beautiful Broken Mess.

Nothing you are about to read or see here is perfect. However, everything has been made beautiful because of perspective. I'm gonna get heavy here folks, but cool stuff happens when we are real and honest. 

7 years ago I experienced something traumatic that has altered the way I live my life every day. It robbed me of my ability to be vulnerable with people and share anything personal about myself with even my closest of allies. I was silenced for years and my voice was lost. It's been an incredibly lonely journey to travel. I wasn't emotionally able to pick up my camera and feel the freedom to create anything with it for a really long time. My gear literally sat up on a shelf in my closet and collected dust while I avoided even looking at it whenever I needed to open the door. It reminded me of too many things. Memories of the person I used to be before my life with PTSD. Fear of failure. Lack of validation. ALL. THE. THINGS. 

In an effort to resurrect myself from my emotional grave, I decided to dedicate this year to revisiting my first and one true love: FILM. I knew I needed to be brave, so I jumped out of my comfort zone in January and purchased my first medium format camera. My experience has always been positive when I've used them in the past, but I never actually bought one to own for myself. I chose the Minolta Autocord after months of research and inspiration from photographers I have looked up to since I was younger. It was an insomnia filled 3am purchase, but I haven't been disappointed in it once since it arrived at my front door. 

Once I started shooting with this classic machine, I discovered that it has a mind of it's own and likes to create multiple exposures without my approval. It was a little stressful the first time around, but I began to view these unexpected occurrences as a metaphor to my life. I can load the film right, have the proper exposure, be gentle with the buttons, but no matter how well I treat the process, there will be jams. Expecting one photo, but being forced to take two, three, even four photos just to move forward. THIS IS ME. In the past 7 years, it seems most days have been spent taking one step forward and three steps back. No matter how kind I am to myself or how much I have put the work in to heal, there are triggers out there just waiting to set me back. It's all in how I learn from those moments and move forward. There will still be hurt. There will still be pain. My camera will still get stuck, just like I do some days, but look at the beauty you can create with a little intentional thinking.  

I would have never made these images without my beautiful broken camera or my beautiful broken spirit. Sometimes taking four steps back isn't such a bad thing after all. 


***Shot with the Minolta Autocord using a variety of films including Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Ektar 100, and Kodak Plus-X Pan 120 films***


Amanda Gallagher