BONFIRE

Conversation: Miranda Barnes and Jessi Frederick

Cultural — 11.10.2017

This conversation took place over iMessage, while Miranda was in school. It was then copied, pasted, and formatted to fit this screen.

PHOTOGRAPHER
Miranda Barnes

WRITER
Jessi Frederick

Jessi Frederick

I feel like this conversation can’t happen unless we give a backstory on how we met— I'm not sure if you remember exactly..

Miranda Barnes

I think it started with me reaching out to you - at the time I was focused on my blog that highlighted young women in NYC who I found to be down to earth and cool. I must have been following you on Instagram and reached out that way, with you gladly accepting! I don't remember too much about that day other than meeting around Greenwich Village and just getting to know each other for the next hour 

Jessi Frederick

That’s how I remember it. I was curious if it was pre-instagram days or not, during the Tumblr-era. I remember leaving school to go shoot with you, on the coldest day, we met at an Urban Outfitters, and I was surprised to see you shot everything on film. Do you still shoot everything on film?

Miranda Barnes

Yes haha, it was really cold that day, I couldn't believe you were down to be out in the cold like that with me. And I do! When I first met you, I had just started using film with a legitimate film camera. 

A few months before I was still using a disposable camera. It's crazy to look back at how much my work has grown with film at the center of it all still to this day

Jessi Frederick

Ah I remember you mentioning that. I think it was the first time I modeled for someone who only shot film, instead of digital. So the amount of time it took to set up the shoot was very unusual for me, since I am so used to speeding through a photoshoot and constantly moving. I have been watching you share your work over the last 4 years, and I have to say- it’s been incredible to follow and see you evolve, and at the same time maintain your authenticity. Do you feel it’s gotten easier or harder for you to create work in a medium that is so specialized (film, as opposed to digital), over the years? I’m not sure if that question makes sense at all...

Miranda Barnes

I understand your question! I think it's gotten harder, but in a good way. I'm being challenged and having to think more about what I'm shooting and how I'm shooting before I even pick up a camera, if that makes sense. 

But I think that's what all photographers that use film have to go through. On the latter, I know what I want to produce which is the easy part. I also think that film photographers are working with two different dilemmas: being able to be a working photographer while using film. It's possible, for sure and in a way I think film is coming back, but there's still a major market out there that only wants digital content 

Jessi Frederick

I think creatively, we are going through a wave of embracing old technologies, crafts, and the idea of specialization again. The jack/jill of all trades seems to be less appealing. Other than having to potentially prove yourself as a film photographer, do you ever struggle with defining your photography style?

Miranda Barnes

All the time - I feel like I still haven't found it yet and that's one of the more important aspects I value for my work.  This past year I've found what I want to achieve with my work so I feel like I'm on the right track. I don't think me finding my style is something I can put a due date on either. I think when it happens I'll know and realize I've been working towards this moment for a long time.