I have to admit that my attempt so far to submit a roll of film a week has not been very successful. Working offshore and taking on a second job to further my career on the water, my photography has been lost in the shuffle. here is a few.
Of all the things in this world, photography is the thing that inspires me the most. I’m nearly compulsive in my picture taking and desire to share what I’m experiencing. this of course lead me to a career as photographer . I thought that being that would validate my skill. I’d be doing what I love right? To a degree having people willing to pay me for my photographs did that for a long time. With time however you find out that your work begins to reflect what pays. I began to discover that I was opting to not take pictures of what drove my desire to learn and create, but rather what kept the lights on and gas in my truck. There was this thing over here I would die to be able to photograph and there was this thing over here that I knew, could pay the bills . Well, thats what always seemed to win and get my time. Many people ask me even today why I hung it up. well thats the reason right there.
As I wrote before I wanted to change things up so I quit shooting digital except for my iphone. So I traded for a humongous Nikon F4. The F4 is a lovely camera but it was huge. I wanted something that was less obvious and easier to carry. I would love to be that purest Leica dude and maybe someday I will be. but I always had a soft spot for the G2 from Contax since I first saw it in the camera store in downtown Denver. Get this its a bargain now too! Mile Hi camera was the place I bought my first pro body camera. I had no investment in lenses yet so I picked the Contax N1 with a Zeiss 70-300 and a Metz 60-ct4 flash. Zeiss from there out has been the gold standard for me ever since. I was Canon with the white lenses for most my career but I never quit loving my first camera.
As I delve back into film and followed the blogs of Eric Kim and JB Hildebrand and others. Spent hours reading and watching documentaries about Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa and the other greats, I began to desire to be that kind of photographer. So I began looking for that rig that could be there for that decisive moment for me. Contax seemed to be that fast handling quality camera that would avail itself to my needs and survive my salty air and water lifestyle. It has its quirks and gets ridiculed by some, but I love shooting it. I’m pretty much pared down to one lense which I really want to be proficient and “see” with.
My choice to go with film has evolved over time too. What started out as a lark while we attempted to develop film with swimming pool chemicals and instant coffee became something of a passion. the pictures we created with my grandma’s old Pentax really just reconnected me with what made me desire with all my heart to be a photographer in the first place. But, I live on a boat. while I can develop my film and still do so. I always seem to have dozens upon dozens of rolls that need done. so my goto has become Ektar for my everyday shooting and tri-x if I dont do anything funky with it. my hometown has great little lab www.dexterscamera.com that I use to develop and scan my Negs. this keeps it simple for me. Really , I’m just trying to get everything out of my way so I’m allowed to shoot and be creative and enjoy the pursuit.
I know you your thinkin Brent just shoot digital man! Well, Here is the philosphy part. Ken Rockwell is right. Film is the original raw. I was one of those guys who shot digital before lots of people did. Lots of my professional pictures I took can’t be used to today because they dont meet the size and pixel standards for submission that stock agencies and magazines require. Sometimes I feel I might as well have never took them. Had I shot them and archived the film, those pictures that I paid good money to travel and sweated for could be scanned for an even better image now. that negative in my hand doesn’t need a computer to read. lift it to the light its right there. its tangible. Try telling me that’s your image when I’m holding the film in my hand. One Question.. Do you think that Vivian Meir would have been discovered had her images been on dusty old hard drives and storage devices? I don’t think so.
But lets get to distilling it down to photography. with my camera I can’t look to see if I got it….. besides what is “IT” anyway? how many times have you as a digital photographer shot a zillion pictures of some concept you thought would be cool to find out later every one of those was a waste of time and screen-chimping? It was lame-O. I’m raising my hand. guilty. With film you have a finite amount of shots its like paying with cash for something, you consider the purchase. the camera comes to your eye. you consider the light. you consider the speed of your film you ask yourself is there a picture here? No? You move. You look again. You bring it to your eye again and you say yes, consider the settings and Snick…A minute to think it thru. not fifteen minutes trying to arm wrestle a picture out of something that is not there. with my camera I dont disconnect from my subject. I shoot. I keep looking . with my digital I shoot, look, shoot, look… you guessed it at a screen living in the past not living in the now. Leave the looking for home. or sitting in the car when you get your envelope back. be in the moment. remember this is about the shooting and making. there is only so much time where you will be there for that special moment. use it to shoot it and live in it.
Six hundred pictures of the same thing makes for tough editing. take two or three or four. you’ll like those just as much. your clients? Well they have just those choices. So what? if they want to buy one or two. thats all they will buy anyway. they just wont wrestle for an hour over a stray strand of hair. the best pictures are not perfect pictures anyway. Let’s concentrate on the art of seeing and making in the camera not making an abstract on a computer. its photography right not computer graphics. simple is always better. finally lets leave some room for Seredipity and that picture you took and forgot that is better than any you worked to get.
Ps who’s going to pay for your cloud when you’re gone?