27 Frames – Read McKendree

Welcome to our 27 Frames series. We sent 27 single use cameras out to some of our favorite photographers, they shot stuff with it, then mailed it back to us. We developed the film and are sharing the results with you (and the photographers) now. In this instant, digital age, we want to pay homage to a snapshot photo process we grew up with ourselves — waiting for the film to develop and being surprised by the results. These 27 Frames belong to Read McKendree.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Read. I studied film and photo at Ithaca College. I did my time in NYC, shooting for a range of clients and working some other odd jobs, but decided I’d rather be in a smaller town with a tighter sense of community. My wife and I now live in Rhode Island,  5 minutes from some really good beach breaks and a quick bike ride to our local coffee shop. Southern RI in general has a really nice mix of friendly people, good food, empty beaches – it’s a good place.

How did you first get into photography?

My high school had a small photography lab and offered a few courses. I bought a camera after an especially stereotypical high school break up moment and enrolled in my first of many photo courses. It was the first time in my school career that I felt so inspired by learning, thanks to both medium and teacher.

Film or digital?

Almost entirely digital at this point. I have a dusty old Pentax 67 that I’ll mess around with, if it decides to work that day. I deeply respect those who still shoot film, especially for commercial work.

When was the last time you used a single use (disposable) camera?

Freshman year of college I think – 2002/2003. Probably pictures of a beer pong table. I didn’t even know they made them anymore.

What did you decide to shoot with your camera for this project?

The camera stayed in my truck for the most part, so a lot of the photos are from driving around Rhode Island and New England. I didn’t start shooting until October so it’s sort of a post-tourist-season diary.

Did you have any interesting experiences along the way?

The blurry photo of a taco plate is taken at a place in northern RI called Paco’s Tacos. It’s across the street from a correctional facility. People always say that the east coast doesn’t have any good Mexican food, but Paco’s proves that theory wrong. I wish I had better stories to go along with this camera. I cruise around a lot since everything is so close in New England. Just a few hours drive can get you into some really unique landscapes.

What was the biggest challenge (if any) you had with the project?

I couldn’t get it out of my head that this roll would be seen as a whole. There was this constant pull inside of me to make it one cohesive body of images. It was difficult to escape that tendency. It’s also tough to not have any control over exposure. One of the underexposed frames is of my favorite ice cream/burger spot by the beach. It’s so perfectly nostalgic inside!

What was your favorite image from the roll?

The little guy surfing at sunset. This is a fun jetty near our house. My wife calls it the “play pen.” Anytime there is any hint of swell, the place gets packed with beginners, groms, logs, SUPs, you name it. But you can’t help but have fun surfing it – it gets all wedgey and weird on the right swell. It’s like you anticipate a shit show, so no matter what happens, it ends up being a playful session. I’ve heard Malibu is like that. Is that true? Maybe it’s our Malibu.

Check out more of Read’s work here:

Read McKendree

Special thanks to Dexter’s Camera in Ventura for developing all of the film for the 27 Frames project. If you are a photographer who loves film and have never visited their shop, go there now, they’re the best. Also, please join us for the 27 Frames group art show featuring the best photos from the series, Thursday 1/12/2017 at Think Tank Gallery in DTLA. The show is sponsored by Zico Coconut Water and all sales will go to the Surfrider Foundation. RSVP here.