In putting together this site I had to sift through loads and loads of old images. Time consuming but worthwhile. It got me thinking about the evolution of my relationship with photography. I’m glad I had the experience of developing film in the darkroom and making prints. I remember what a purist I was when digital first arrived on the scene, and people were making the switch. I eventually made the switch, then scoffed at the purists.
I thought at one time I wanted to make my career as a photographer until I noticed people who weren’t making their careers as photographers were having more fun with it. It happened around the same time I was working for a commercial photographer who had just returned from vacation. I asked him if he had photos. He said: No, I don’t take pictures on vacation. It’s like work. I felt heartbroken and decided right then that was not how I wanted my relationship with my camera to be.
Flash forward 5 years. I was sitting at a bar in Park Slope with my friend. A guy to my right said he was a photographer and immediately wanted to know what kind of camera I use to shoot. I had just gotten an iPhone and was only using it to shoot. He scoffed and suggested I’m not a real photographer. My DSLR is heavy and hurts my back. Quite frankly it doesn’t give me the immediate satisfaction. I don’t miss sitting at my computer waiting for photos to download. It doesn’t mean I’ll never shoot with it again, but…we’re on a break. I’d rather use a film camera at this point if I am going to lug something around.
To me it’s never been about the equipment. It’s about the story, composition, texture, it’s never been about the f-stop or film speed for me. Sure it’s fun to geek out for some, but that’s not what I geek out about. Something with crude technology can create something magical and amazing. Anyone can buy the most expensive camera, set up a business, then just send their terrible quality photos to a photographer who can fix them. I worked for that guy a few times, fixing an amateur photographer’s photos. Not just levels, curves and color…moving heads. It was ridiculous.
At another bar with another friend just last summer, a young Australian gentleman was sitting at the end while I waited for the bartender. He had a film camera, a Rolleiflex medium format, one that I have coveted for years. I don’t know why I don’t have one, but he let me check it out. He got his on eBay and inspired me to finally fulfill that dream.
A camera after all is just a fun toy in the toy chest, photographic images a layer on canvas. I’m sure our relationship will continue to evolve.