About Rachel

Fine Art Photography Versus The Real

I’m a fine art photographer at heart. I document real situations but I also pose my subjects, drag them into pools of light, direct their behavior, and move their furniture. I create photographs that adhere at least as much to my artistic interpretation of the moment as they do to the reality.

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My husband often suggests I use the camera I have perpetually glued to my face to capture Real Moments. For example, when our daughter was born prematurely, I took careful photographs of her that hid the feeding tubes and monitors. She looked swaddled and sweet. What the photographs didn’t show was the cacophony of interventions that occur to a newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I remember thinking that because I wanted so intensely to get past those difficult days, I wouldn’t want photographs of that time. We return to those NICU memories often and I’m glad I ultimately took photographs that show a fuller scope of our experience.

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The photograph above is from the Camp Fire Hazardous Air Quality Days in Sacramento.

Light Lunch: double exposures on film.

I love looking at double exposures so I decided to create a roll of them on film. For these photographs I pulled the string lights off our tree and shot them against our dark grey bedsheets. The next day, I used the same roll of film to photograph our lunch at Drake Barn. You can see the frames from the two sessions don’t line up, which caused hard lines slicing the light orbs.

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Now I’m planning how I might apply double exposures to an aesthetic end in my portrait sessions.

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I’m very inspired by the work of Wendy Laurel in this area. If you haven’t seen her work, I suggest you do click through to her website, and prepare to be amazed.

Why We Send Family Photos for the Holidays

As fall transforms quietly into winter we begin the work of the holidays. In 2017, this included purchasing 1.6 billion greeting cards, many of which included a photograph, or rather, the annual photograph of a family. Like much of the holidays, the work occurs quietly behind the scenes only to be revealed in a flourish of snail mail between Christmas and New Years. And it begs the question: why do we participate in this tradition of creating, sharing and collecting family photos via holiday cards?

Our family portrait by  Jecki & Co  Photography

Our family portrait by Jecki & Co Photography

According to Yale anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo this “work of kinship” took hold amid postbellum industrialization because the demise of the family farm meant women were tasked with the challenge of nurturing (newly) long distance relationships. I know the cards we’ll mail this year will, almost exclusively, land across the country in the mailboxes of people we wish we lived closer to. I secretly hope the cards will linger around the households of our loved ones, reminding them we exist, a placeholder for our presence, and a small token of our affection across a vast country.

Our family portrait by  Jecki & Co  Photography
Our family portrait by  Jecki & Co  Photography
Our family portrait by  Jecki & Co  Photography
Our family portrait by  Jecki & Co  Photography
Our family portrait was taken by  Jecki & Co  Photography

Our family portrait was taken by Jecki & Co Photography

Mission Dolores Park: then & now

We’re headed to San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with my dad. He moved to San Francisco when I was fifteen, landing in the Mission District, in an apartment overlooking Mission Dolores Park. I would say, ‘the neighborhood has really changed’ but it’d still be too extravagant of an understatement.

Mission Dolores park film family photography by Rachel Sima Photography
Film Family Photography in Mission Dolores Park by Rachel Sima Photography

The park, physically, has since added a huge play structure and an ultra modern public restroom but it’s the demographic changes that are most apparent. When I used to stay with my dad in high school, the park was mostly unoccupied space except a few homeless people sleeping under blankets and one or two Mexican teens selling marijuana by the bridge.

Film Family Photography in Mission Dolores Park by Rachel Sima Photography

Now, on a sunny day, every foot of the park is packed by mostly 20 and 30 somethings, splayed out on picnic blankets, drinking craft beer and scrolling on iPhones. There are still people selling marijuana but it’s legal here now, and the sellers are typically white people hawking Gluten Free and vegan edibles. Huge swaths of the park are off-leash areas although by mid-day on the weekend there’s far too much food on ground level to reasonably let a dog free.

Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography
Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography

Looking back, further into the history of the park, it was inhabited, in turns, by the Ohlone Indians, Spanish Missionaries, and a Jewish Cemetery before its present incarnation as a public park. It’s incredible to consider how supremely diverse this small physical space would be if you could collapse the single dimension of time.

Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography

How I got here.

My husband and daughter

My husband and daughter

Here's an exercise: review the trajectory of your life from the rearview mirror of this moment. See how the architecture of your experiences, the constitution of your characteristics and history, is a product of random happenstance and conscious decision making. Note the different story threads. How does a girl from a midwestern suburb find her way to New York City? How does this now New York City lady end up with a Great Dane (we'll have to go back to beginning again?) We all have a thousand storylines wound up into one. Ever seen the wiring in an electric cord? That's all of us.

I'm here, on this specific blog, as a photographer: your photographer, I hope. So here's that thread.

When I was a girl my mother and I took a photography classes put on by an adult continuing education program in the basement of the local high school (I was the youngest class participant by at least twenty-five years.) We watched slide lectures on legendary photographers or went into the darkroom to process and developed our film. Outside of class, we took pictures. And I never really stopped. But I also didn't really focus on it. I studied Psychology, Digital Cinema and Writing as undergraduate. I matriculated to Teach for America and taught self-contained public school classrooms for years. I received two masters degrees, one in Education and one in Fine Arts. My most recent full time gigs have been non-profit Arts Administration. Meanwhile, photography evolved into the central focus of my artistic life. My friends and colleagues began to ask more and more frequently for me to photograph them. Friends begging "Rachel, I need a new profile picture!" became a running joke at parties. Until I realized, like most recurring jokes, it really wasn't a joke. Photography was a passion for me, but it was also a service that other people were very directly asking me for, based on seeing my work. Around this time, I also became a mother, and became fascinated by families in a way I never imagined before. All I want to do is look at families, and talk about them and, yes, take pictures of them. 

So here we are, back in the now. I'm a photographer. Take a look through my photos, and if you like what you see, I'd love to take your photograph.

Love,

Rachel

 

 

 

My daughter and I

My daughter and I