Being One With Nature: An Interview With Jaime Beechum (NSFW)

2017-01-31

Washington-based photographer Jamie Beechum has a strong connection to nature and you can feel that just by looking at her beautiful outdoor shots. She began her photographic journey in high school where she would spent hours in the dark room. Jamie soon fell in love with the process and started shooting with her favourite camera of all times - Mamiya 7II. In this interview, she reveals what motivates her to keep shooting on film, as well as why nature represents her religion.

© Jaime Beechum

Hey Jaime, happy to have you here! Could you share some of your New Year’s resolutions with us? What projects are you planning on doing this year?

I can’t say they are resolutions per se, perhaps aspirations. I want to be peaceful in my practice, to the people around me and to the sources that allow me to thrive. I have done a good shift into land stewardship, care taking lands and spaces so my projects amount to allowing myself to observe and act accordingly of what is needed at this time. My photography will probably coincide.

© Jaime Beechum

I understand you shoot with Mamiya 7. Why did you choose specifically medium format for your photographs? What do you love the most about this camera?

I miss my Mamiya 7II. It is still the only camera that I really love and that captures what my inner eye sees. I lost my camera in a ship wreck in Paradise Cove at the beginning of the year and have been doing okay with a Sony A7s but it is no Mamiya. The camera feels better in my hand and around my body. The 6x7 format is by far my favorite, I really appreciate the space it allows me to work in, It is what gives me relief within a frame. It also doesn’t run out of battery often and I am pretty happy with the glass. The only draw back is that I can’t get close so I think I might migrate to a Pentax so I can get macro now that I am in moss country and getting into the landscape a little more closely.

© Jaime Beechum

Could you describe your photographic style in three words?

Dang. You would probably do better but I’ll try. Honest, Explorative, Evocative.

How did it all start for you? When did you take your very first photograph and realized that this is what you want to do?

I took a photo class in high school and found myself in the dark room for hours after school. It was such an amazing process. I think the lure of exploring the world through photography is what really provoked me into pursuing it. I never was much with words and images offered a much deeper way to connect with a wider audience. I found that to be incredibly intriguing.

© Jaime Beechum

When do you feel most inspired to take photos? How do you fuel your creativity?

A new place, or something that resonated with me deeply is when I tend to take images. It is like an alarm goes off that says this is what you have been looking for, you might as well snap it while you got it here. Color too, it always gets me. I’m such a sucker for the iridescent light that is effortlessly captured by film. It is in the tones where I get lost in love. I have that disease where you misinterpret your senses. I always think of taste when I look into color. It’s real but it it isn’t at the same time.

© Jaime Beechum

You also travel a lot and take beautiful photos of nature and people along the way. What’s your connection to nature?

This is probably the biggest question for me. Nature is my religion. I have put a great deal into molding my actions so that I get to spend more and more time with it.
getting to know it in different ways. Sometime it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I will forever be a student when it comes to this subject. Some of the First Nations central principles state that “Nature is a model to emulate rather then a force to overcome” and through my practice of photography I have been able to know that even deeper.

Observing, participating, loving, wandering, living and moving with nature is what this life is. We are a part it and it a part of us. I find it greatly satisfying that Nature connects all peoples and beings across this globe. The mere fact that it can and will always balance itself is alone enough for me to be in awe from. I specifically find the uniqueness of different regions adaptations the great wealth of this Earth. I think the more people can see that the better off we are and will be. My actions are just one attempt to help that along it’s way.

© Jaime Beechum

What is it that still motivates you to shoot on film? What attracted you to analogue photography in the first place?

It has been a year now since I have shot film. I don’t know if I am capable of explaining my deep love for the medium. Even-though I have many years behind a digital camera and all the colors at hand I still love the reaction of light to mineral laced surface blends so seamlessly. I adore how forgiving it is. It is so romantic in it’s translation. There is a place for the honesty of digital images but I am a dreamer and using film keeps that characteristic in it’s very make up. When I first started film was what we had so that is what I knew and then it just worked it’s way from there.

© Jaime Beechum

What does your day look like when you are not busy shooting another projects? What do you enjoy doing beside photography?

Digging a trench for a greenhouse, selling a sailboat, laying pavers for a deck is what they look like right at this moment. Overall it is gardening, kayaking, cooking, foraging, baking, preserving, building, reading, figuring out how to save a hillside from eroding and working on enriching the soil in the orchard. I enjoy all of it.


All photographs shown in this article were used by the permission of Jaime Beechum. If you want to see more of her work, follow Jaime on Instagram and check out her Website.

written by Ivana Džamić on 2017-01-31 #people #nature #analogue #mediumformat #film-photography #jaimebeechum

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