Back in 2001, I met Steven Tyler at an In-N-Out. Yeah, that Steven Tyler, Aerosmith and all that.
Honestly, I didn’t really know exactly who he was, but I knew he was sort of a big deal. When you’re an (extremely sheltered) 11-year-old, though, you don’t really understand the magnitude of star power. There were at least three body guards in the restroom — one who I swear I remember Mr. Tyler calling ‘Boopy’ — when the lead singer of Aerosmith and I approached the singular urinal at the same time.
We looked at each other, I gesfcinetured for him to go ahead, and he said: “No really, man, that’s all you.” So I peed, then washed my hands as Mr. Tyler stepped up to the urinal. I distinctly recall the odd atmosphere in the bathroom. Why were all these guys in black suits hanging out with this dude in here, anyway? And why were they all staring at me?
Steven Tyler and I exited the bathroom more or less together, exchanging a few words as the crowds in the restaurant pressed themselves against the walls to make way for the Demon Of Screamin’ and his posse — and me, too, of course. I seriously had no idea what was going on, but Steven Tyler invited me into his limo, and my parents grabbed their camera loaded with some random early 2000s Kodak film.
They snapped a singular photo, the first of the roll. The only problem being that the first of every roll on this particular camera turned out entirely black, less the date stamp. Mr. Tyler urged them to take another, but my parents insisted we’d taken up enough of his time. They did get one other shot of Steven himself getting back into his limo a moment later, one which was slightly out of focus and featured a lot of motion blur thanks to a too-slow shutter.
So, this lackluster second photo is all I really have to corroborate what happened. But I swear it did. Seriously.
This experience — and the subsequent disappointment upon realization of whose limo I was in and the fact that the singular shot we have was actual garbage — has stayed with me since my pre-teen years.
Film is volatile, fragile, inconsistent, and not to be trusted.
So, shooting two events on film last weekend was a bit nerve-wracking for me, as I handed over the lion’s share of digital duties to Sara. If these didn’t turn out, I would really have nothing to show for a weekend-worth of work on my part. That would suck, royally.
Almost as much as having to tell people the only photo I’ll ever have with Steven Tyler turned out pitch black — I swear. Or maybe more, actually. Unlike when I was 11, I do have to pay rent and that sort of thing.
Luckily, all was well, and I was rewarded with a couple rolls’ worth of useable content from the Golden Week Kyusha Festival. These first shots were taken with Kodak Portra 400 during setup, finishing off a half-spent roll I started at Laguna Seca the day prior.
As I said in my preview of the event, the light and atmosphere the Craneway Pavilion brought was absolutely perfect for a morning full of Japanese classics. Props to the organizers for landing such a fantastic and fitting venue.
A few people even showed up in period-correct attire, and like Sara I couldn’t help but sneak a few shots. This happened to be the last of the Portra 400, and I popped in something from Cinestill.Cinestill 800Tungsten
For the first time, I opted for some 35mm Cinestill 800Tungsten. I have to say, it was a choice well made for this event, and a film I’ll need to use far more of in the future.
It’s always a bit tricky to balance being creative and having fun while producing something useful coverage-wise, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. I hope you enjoyed this imperfect and grainy analog look through my camera at the Golden Week Kyusha Festival, and I’ll be back with one more 35mm gallery as soon as I see the scans.
And, seriously, I sat in Steven Tyler’s limo in August of 2001.
It really wasn’t a big deal.