I’ve been wondering lately, as I test my new 4×5 camera, why I’m
doing this. Working with large format film using a cumbersome,
After all, digital technology these days is pretty okay, free (if you
discount all of the fabulous moolah you must invest in cameras
and computers) and seemingly easy.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the easy part about digital
that bugs me.
And here I must rant a bit about digital being easy While it’s
never really the machine that takes the photo (it’s the machine’s
operator) digital makes it way more likely that just about anyone
can come away with an image that’s, you know, properly exposed.
Then don’t you just slap the file onto your computer screen and
admire it for, like, 20 seconds before you hit NEXT, never really
living with the image? But the way digital technology has made
so much disposable, made the generation of photographs (and
photographers) so easy (and so easy to delete, thereby erasing
history) kind of bugs me.
I could go on (and on and on and on) here but I’ll stop and get
to the point of this post……..
THE HARD WAY
I know from experience that I learn way more about photography
and human nature (especially my own) by doing personal projects
than I do from shooting paying gigs. I usually choose personal projects
that will take me into uncharted waters, photographically, geographically
and emotionally. I choose them because they will be difficult. Perhaps that’s
just me. Perhaps others think that that’s just craaaaaaazy. They’d choose a
project that they could enjoy, that would reaffirm things they know, that
would be relaxing.
Not me. I have a theory that most bourgeois (yes, that’s me), First World
folks are way too comfortable. I don’t mind comfort but, let me tell you, if
you’re always only comfortable you’re missing out on a lot of intense shit.
Another reason why I’m planning on using the 4×5 is that it changes the
ways you work. It slows things down. Each time I push the button it costs
me 6 bucks (film and processing). Not that I’m gonna use that as an excuse
to become (even more) anal. I’m just interested in using a different process,
giving the old brain a workout.
Finally, I shoot personal stuff with prints in mind. (Another theory of mine
is that photos don’t really exist until you print them, until you commit to
the edit, to post production of your selects and to making a physical artifact.
Images that only exist on a computer screen don’t really say COMMITMENT
to me.) And you should see the prints I’m pulling with these big negs. Sweet.
(You can sort of see and feel the difference even here, on a screen at 72ppi.)
Anyway, I’ve got 2 or 3 projects I want to shoot with the big camera this summer.
I’ll keep you posted as they roll out.
Here’s some testing I’ve done for one of these projects, and me holding a
Have you made it this far? Well then, I’ve got a question for you:
Is there too much writing and not enough photos on drool these
days? Or, maybe there’s too much of both. I don’t know. I’d
surely appreciate it if you would take a minute or two to give me
your opinion. I don’t care if it’s pro or con. Or if it reaffirms my
ego-driven prejudices about what drool is or maybe makes me
uncomfortable. After all…..that’s what this post has been about.
Just got an e-mail from Andy Fraser who blogs about night photography.
Thanks Andy for featuring me on yer blog.
USER was the only foray I’ve done into night photography, mostly I like
daylight (and flash) but if you get yer butts over to Andy’s blog you’ll see
a whole bunch of pretty interesting photography.
Here’s a couple of pix from photographers that Andy has featured in the
Photo by Guido Miethe (see more here)
Photo by Amy Stein (see more here)