Does Size Matter
A little fun for the weekend
Does Size Matter
A little fun for the weekend
Of late I have been thinking about the cost of my making Photographs. It is true, film is expensive. But from a certain perspective you realise this is not a bad thing, nor is it a good thing, it is simply a characteristic of film and it is up to each photographer to define that characteristic.
So each time I press my shutter button it adds to the cost. But that cost means something to me. It means that I have to give each image more value to balance that cost, to make that cost worth it. You could easily replace the word cost with personal investment. But because my photos have cost, they have value to me. Because they have value I labour over them more, I am more careful, I am more thoughtful, I love them more. But monetary cost is not the only cost, pinhole taught me this. There is cost in time as well. If I am working with my pinholes each image might cost me several minutes of my life, maybe even hours. I could have roamed a lot in that time, found many other snap shots, but instead I invested all that time in each and every image. And as I only photograph what I think is going to be personal to me, rather than what others will think is a good photo I take greater care in selection. Imagine you lived in a world where social media didn’t exist, and you only made photos that you would see. You would start thinking about the value of each image, and you start applying a greater value to each image. What I have found tends to happen is the results improve, or your enjoyment of the process improves, or both. To visit digital for a moment (and this is not a dig at digital) if each shot is theoretically free and you can make hundreds of images in one go, how much value do you tend to attach to each of those images? Not much, right? 9 out of 10 of them will get deleted or filed away to obscurity on your hard drive, maybe more than that. We shoot freely and hence the tendency is perhaps to shoot without value. Yes, film costs. It costs money. It costs time. It costs sweat and sometimes blood. I welcome those costs, I don’t see them as a negative, I see them as a reason to value what I am creating, to strive harder for a more meaningful process or result, to inspire greater patience and vision and practice on my part. I don’t want my film photos to be free because I would be afraid I would not value them as much then.
One of the first rules I learned when starting photography is that you should never have your own reflection or shadow in a photograph. Well since I did not make that rule I see no need to adhere to it.
This is my little Lee Friedlander moment. And if you know his self-portraits, particularly his fondness of photographing his shadow, you’ll see his influence in these images.
So don’t be afraid to be influenced, inspired even. It is too big a world and life is too short to be able to see it all on your own
And if you are not familiar with the self-portraiture of Lee Friedlander, why not start there. He’ll definitely change how you think of the self-portrait.
I am not out to impress the world,
I try to live my life in a way
that will make me happy.
Laying in my bed ceiling gazing
Can’t make my mind stop from racing
It’s not good or bad, it’s just how God made me
To lay awake at night ceiling gazing
I have found it helpful at any given moment to know who I am, not to speak of where I am.
Trees to me are the past, present and future all woven together in one place.
What is past is past.
We can look over our shoulders and catch glimpses of it.
We can carry memories ahead with us.
We take certain forks and branches based on decisions from back there… but it is still all behind us.
The future is up ahead, around that bend, out of sight… which ironically is what makes it both so exciting and at times terrifying.
Not knowing what is out there, waiting, what chance occurrences or tragedies awaits, occupies my mind and imagination way more than it should.
And then there is the present, where I find myself standing, the only time that really matters, in a sense, because it is the only time I really have.
The Language of Photography is very much about celebrating the present.
1000 year old Olive Tree
You cannot photograph the past (can you) or the future (not yet anyway). And my favourite images come from being in that present moment. The future will wait for me, it is right up there, the past I keep preserved in memory and photo, but I would gladly trade either to stand here a while longer in the company of trees.
They Danced Alone
My Gift Of Silence
Photography is a language, it is a form of communication, you – the photographer – have a message to impart to an audience (and the surest way to fail at this is to disagree with this idea). And as with any form of communication, the best ways to learn it are to use it and to experience it. I am a big believer in learning photography by seeing photography. I look at Photography books on a daily basis, I even spend a bit of time looking at photos on the internet though I do this very selectively and it is far from my favourite method of enjoyment.
Nothing comes from nothing.
Inspiration is gleaned in bits and pieces every day from the things we read and hear and experience and see. And it stands to good reason that the more you read and hear and experience and see, the more you can create, the more you can think of to say and communicate.
I have driven past the turn off for Anglesey many times, but never set foot onto Ynys Môn until now. When I visit a new place I tend to travel with my pinhole camera and one or two film cameras. Several rolls of films with different speeds and a 10 stop ND filter, to cover every eventuality.
I tend to arrive very early and on my first stop I usually remove my shoes and just stand and listen to the location and feel the earth beneath my feet. If I am lucky my inner guide presents images to me, and I the photographer will do my utmost to recreate these vague snippets of beauty onto film. I call this inspiration. It is then that I decide which camera and film combination I will shot with.
In the past I used to travel really heavy. Had everything arranged and planned the day before. Rucksack, camera bag and several lenses. These days I tend to travel light, it makes it a lot easier to concentrate on the art of photography then spending time on hardware selection.
I will stop wherever it feels right to do so. These moments are very precious as they can not be repeated on subsequent visits. I do re-visit locations, but by then I know what I will find. But that is a different topic and one I wrote earlier about.
Abandoned Beach Hut
Anglesey was everything I hoped for and more. It was a very spiritual place and I felt very much at ease there. As for me it is less about where a specific place is than what a place is about. I am so glad I made the trip……
For this adventure I used my Reality So Subtle 6×6 pinhole and my Hasselblad with 100mm lens and a 10 stop ND filter. Some expired Kodak T-max 100 and Fuji Across 100 all stand developed in Rodinal.