Sometimes I feel like a darkroom midwife.
I help students care for their film during the developing stage while its in the tank then after its out and dry I help them cope with postpartum because it sucks.


DIY: Recycle Your Film Canisters into Holiday Lights

Turn all those film canisters you’ve saved up (or pick some up from a local lab) into a string of Holiday lights!

Because it’s just not the Holidays until you’ve added a dose of photo-geek.

Project inspired by Sarah MacFarlane

I hate when people ask you, “What camera did you use?” as if by buying the same camera they’ll magically gain the ability to take pictures that are just as good as yours.

I am officially published! See the issue in full here:

I am officially published! See the issue in full here:

"Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution…. The most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarme, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph."
Susan Sontag, On Photography

A year ago my boyfriend and I were total strangers sending each other pen pal letters in the mail. I made this short as a video letter for him when I was at school in New Hampshire depicting the day that we met. This was my first attempt at making a video and I’m happy with how it came out. I plan on making a lot more videos this summer including a cheesy horror movie about my current life as a belligerent barista.

"What Remains" is a documentary about the photographer Sally Mann and the creation of her series on death. This documentary is one of the most influential and inspirational films I’ve seen about a photographer. Sally Mann is one profound individual and she has a lot of meaningful things to say about the process of photography and the processes of living and dying on this earth. The entire documentary is on youtube starting here ( The video I posted is the last installment where Mann gives me the shivers from some of the things she says as the cameraman captures her intense stare into her 8x10 camera as she takes a self portrait.

Tutorial Time: The Digital Darkroom

All photographic artists use a darkroom, even digital artists. Rather than enlargers, negatives and chemicals the digital artist uses a computer, files and a photo editing program.

As photography enthusiasts we hear the word “pixel” a lot, and we know more is better but how does having more pixels affect an image?

Computers use binary to record information, combinations of 1 and 0. A bit is the smallest and is either a 1 or a 0. A byte is an 8-bit sequence of 1s and 0s.

A bit is the smallest unit of digital information, example: 1

A byte is 8 bits, example: 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0

A kilobite (KB) is 1,000 bytes.

A megabite (MB) is 1,000,000 bytes.

A gigabite (GB) is 1,000,000,000 bytes.

A terabyte (TB) is 1,000,000,000,000 bytes.

The size of an image is the number of bites it contains.

The quality of the image is determined by how many pixels the image has. Each pixel has a bit depth (remember a bit is the smallest unit of digi info). The more bits per pixel the more color detail can be displayed in each pixel.

bit per pixel: 2 values, black and white only.

bits per pixel: 256 tones for black and white pictures.

24 bits per pixel: 16,777,216 colors for color pictures.

Okay all this nerdy computer information leads to what I want to stress the most: The relationship between SIZE and RESOLUTION.

SIZE: The dimensions of the final print.

RESOULTION: The number of pixels per inch.

To check the size of your image open up your image file in Adobe Photoshop. Click on image and then image size. The pixel dimensions represent the resolution of the image and the document size (in inches) is the MAXIMUM size you should print the picture without compromising the quality of the image.

Photoshop tutorial

In this example the size of this image is 8.3 inches by 12.5 inches and would look best at this size or smaller.

I know we’ve all seen photographs hanging in coffee shops that have been blown up larger than they should have been and frankly, they look unprofessional. The document size of your image should be the most important guideline to having your picture printed for public viewing. *

TIP: *Always use a professional service to print images you plan on framing or mounting to display or sell.* If you have purchased a personal “photo” printer it should be primarily used for the printing of PROOFS for a portfolio or for reference. Do not purchase a “professional” photo printer, it will only cause you to want to throw it against a wall. The color is never accurate and the printer uses up a lot of ink if the nozzle gets clogged. When you have your prints professionally done remember: The glow from your computer screen enhances the color and vibrancy of your image and therefore the print may look darker and less vibrant than expected.

*Useful file type guide:

JPEG: Compresses photos to up to 1/20th of original size.

**TIFF: Universal format for high-quality photos.  (BEST QUALITY)

PSD: Photoshop document.

RAW (NEF for Nikon): Most representative of the exposure on the camera sensor.

PNG: Good for web-based photos.

More tutorials to come, ask if there’s anything you’d like me to write about.*


I HYPE: Photographer Heather Noelle
By: Stephanie Leke

If you saw Heather Noelle on the street, a few words would probably come to mind.  Young, stylish, and confident with an artistic air about her that provokes the question, what does she do?

Although a recent grad, she already has years behind her as an aspiring photographer.  Combining her passion for psychology with her knack for creating captivating images from both behind and in front of the lens, Heather Noelle is surpassing many of her peers with a style unlike many her age.  Her series of self-portraits are like no other, displaying bold, striking images that are both provocative and meaningful.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Heather (who also happens to be one of my best friends) about her photography.


Stephanie:  First off, what led to your interest in photography and your decision to pursue it as a career? 

Heather:  The moment I knew I had a love affair with the camera was while watching the documentary “The Impassioned Eye” concerning the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Ever since watching that documentary, the phrase “A velvet hand, a hawk’s eye; These we should all have” has never left my mind while using a camera. Watching Bresson’s kind and hawk-like eyes glance over his collection of photographs and recalling the memories he has collected with each snap of the shutter I realized how important and meaningful photography can be to someone’s life. After realizing this, I took every photography class available to me in order to educate myself enough to eventually pursue a career in educating others about photography. Hopefully someday I can be successful in this.

S:  What or whom are some of the biggest influencers in you work?

H:  Besides Bresson, some of my biggest influences currently are Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sally Mann and Richard Avedon. I find a lot of inspiration from the mystical psychedelia of the 1960s as seen in Jodorowsky and Avedon’s work and the strange and grotesque figure as seen in Mann’s series on death.

S:  Where does a lot of your inspiration come from when developing your concepts?

H:  Conceptually it varies depending on the project I’m working on. Sometimes I draw from past experiences where as other times I try to portray different psychological concepts that I’ve learned about. Sometimes the ideas seem to come out of nowhere and have to do with transforming someone’s body image for the sake of art. I like the idea of transformations in photography. When I take portraits of an individual I am not trying to capture the essence of that person but rather trying to create a work of art and express myself by painting them, dressing them, posing them, coaching them etc; keeping my hand in the process.

S:  You have a vast collection of self-portraits.  Where do your ideas for them stem from?

H:  Most of my self-portraits stem from personal feelings, reflections and commentary that I wish to convey to others when it is impossible to explain them otherwise. I feel as though self-portraits are important for every photographer to take since it is a permanent reflection on someone’s temporariness. Everyone only gets one body and I like the idea of capturing it and preserving it in the form of a photograph that will last longer than the subject. Everyone wants to be remembered.

S:  There is a certain level of convenience in taking self-portraits, one major one being the ease in creating the desired end result without worrying about having to mold a model to do so.  That being said, would you say that you prefer the ease of shooting yourself or do you enjoy working with models more?

H:  I enjoy taking self-portraits more so than using a model. Maybe this is because the models I’ve worked with haven’t had much experience in modeling and were difficult to work with. However, I feel as though when using myself I can easily convey the emotion that I want the viewer to see. In taking self-portraits it is not a vain act, rather it’s using your personal body and face as a way to express yourself. I think a lot speaks through an image about the photographer whether the picture is of them or of somebody else. I think there’s more a sense of vulnerability when the photographer turns the camera around on themselves and this captured vulnerability can be quite captivating.

S:  You currently shoot predominantly digitally but also use film a lot as well.  There are a number of photographers out there who have made successful careers sticking to traditional photographic methods.  For example, Paolo Roversi is known for using Polaroid film to create the dreamlike or ghostly quality to his work.  What is your take on the debate over digital versus film?

H:  This is a debate that I feel very conflicted about. Actually, the majority of what I consider my work is done in a dark room using medium and large format film. Yes, I shoot mostly digital for fun and for the majority of my portraiture lately but this is due to lack of funds. If I had all of the money in the world I would predominantly use film. The convenience of digital is taking over, especially with the state of the economy, it’s easier to take 100 pictures for free and upload them to a computer than to spend $200 on 100 pieces of sheet film and hundreds of dollars on fiber paper, photo chemicals, lab fees etc. I love analog cameras much more than digital and there’s a certain ethereal quality to dark room black and white fiber based prints that you just can’t get with digital black and white. This is why I’m conflicted, there’s the convenience and cost effective digital photography versus the classic but time consuming and expensive film photography. From an artistic standpoint I vote film all the way, from a poor college student standpoint I vote digital.

S:  If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

H:  I would collaborate with Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky’s films are brilliantly absurd where almost every frame could be a photograph. His work with The Holy Mountain and El Topo has given me inspiration for some projects over the years. I would love to work on a film with him or pick his brain for artistic purposes. As far as models go I would love to work with Sasha Pivovarova, her facial structure would be perfect for some of the ideas I currently have brewing. 

S:  What can we expect from you in the future as your work evolves?

H:  In the future you can expect a lot of work with emulsion lifts, cyanotype and van dyke printing and more dark room printing, bleaching and collage work (hopefully).

S:  As young and hyp individuals, we have the ability to influence so many people in many different capacities.  That being said, what type of legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

H:  In a time of recession and a movement towards the convenience of digital photography I hope to leave behind my love and appreciation for darkroom printing and film photography. I hope to influence others to pick up analog cameras, buy film and experiment with different methods in the darkroom to create their own unique style. It seems ambitious, but personally I would like to be remembered for my bleaching/collaging black and white fiber based prints technique that can be seen in a lot of my work. 

To see more of her work, be sure to visit her HERE

Dear Tumblr,

            Hi there! I’m Heather Noelle and I’m an aspiring photographic artist residing in the farmlands of central Massachusetts. After the deletion of my previous posts, this post signifies a fresh start of an insightful and informatory blog that doubles as a means for me to promote my artwork and the artwork of those I admire. I hope to encompass all types of art mediums such as photography, drawing, music, literature etc. My dream for the future is to start an independent magazine featuring and promoting local artists, musicians and designers alike. If you are interested in submitting stories, pictures, drawings, paintings etc. please contact me at or visit my website at (I will be getting my own domain soon so I will keep you posted). I feel as though Tumblr has a lot of potential and I’m determined to make something meaningful out of mine. I hope you enjoy my posts and feel free to leave me comments or ask me questions!

-Heather Noelle