The Town of My Father | Kyle Everett Smith

Crestline, California_Mamiya Super 23, 3.5f=100m_Kyle Everett Smith.jpg

This is Crestline, California. It is a small town in the San Bernardino Mountains. This town is responsible for shaping my father into the man he has become. Crestline is responsible for developing his love for nature, his strong work ethic, and his humble perspective.

My father has been a carpenter for forty years. When work isn’t taking up his time you can be assured he’s somewhere on an adventure. He finds peace when he is outdoors. Whether it be fishing, hiking, camping, or riding his bicycle. It was only a matter of time before I would inherit these same ideals. It was for these reasons that I decided to find out where these principles came from; this mountain town embodies and runs on these standards.

By using a medium format camera, I am able to emphasize detail. It enables me to showcase the beauty and sublimity of his hometown. It also makes me more patient in my practice. It is a slower process that consciously makes me think about my technique and its portrayal of my father’s values; a slower camera for a slower town.

Crestline at sunrise is one of the most peaceful places I have experienced. Being in the mountains at that time of day is surreal. After my first trip from Los Angeles I realized this would be the time of day I needed to shoot. Once a week, for four months, I would wake up two hours before sunrise and commute from Los Angeles to Crestline. I would shoot one to two rolls every trip and then fall in love with the town as I scouted for future locations to photograph. Making the drive there every Friday became therapeutic. Lugging my big camera around while the sun met me in the brisk morning air made me truly feel at peace. I wasn’t just learning about my father, I was also learning about myself. The Mamiya Super 23 was the perfect tool to help me obtain this knowledge. The simplicity of the camera paralleled perfectly with Crestline.

Thinking back to shooting this work gives me an overwhelming feeling of comfort. The limitations I faced with scheduling, time of day, and ten frames per roll made me think critically about what I would photograph each day. It was a test of temperate and patience that I am forever grateful for; a testament that film photography is so much more than just clicking the shutter. Moments like these are why I shoot film. 


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Film photorapher Kyle Everett Smith is based in Los Angeles.  See more of his work on his Instagram