Thursday, November 4, 2010


Acting on the suggestion of no fewer than two people I've decided to share my adventures in photography with the rest of the internets. Most of it, I'm sure, will be meaningless to the vast majority of the world. But hopefully, to a select few, there might be something of value.

The question I get the asked the most is, "Why the hell would you want to do that?" This is normally in reference to some laborious photo task (the least of which is shooting film) or, less commonly, to growing my own vegetables. To address the first, it's usually the case that whatever I happen to be doing provides the quality and aesthetic that I'm looking for in an image. And these are things that just can't be done with a digital camera. To a lesser extent, it also fulfills some subconscious need to do things the hard way. Concerning the latter, just tastes better. That and my contempt for the world's industrialized food system, etc, etc, etc.

I'm not anti-digital. It has its uses. While working for newspapers I found them indispensable. (And quite honestly the image quality didn't matter all that much since the photos I worked so hard to get were normally run just large enough to be visible and then further mangled by the press...) What you're shooting with and how you're printing is a means to an end. The end result, the final image, is all that really matters. So if you can accomplish what you're after with a digital point and shoot and an inkjet print by all means go for it. If nothing else, it'll be significantly cheaper. But for what I'm after it means lugging around a 4x5 camera and filling my apartment with suspicious looking chemical bottles. There's also the intangibles. It's fun. And to me, there's nothing more exciting than opening my developing tank for the first time to see what (if anything) I got.

On the flip side, there's soccer moms. The ones on the sidelines with $10k worth of gear all set to full Progam mode and who are more than willing to give their work away for free just to see their name in print while undercutting professionals at media outlets that have a corporate policy of free is better than good.

I can't promise that I'll try to avoid ranting on the modern digital world and other such things. But I'll try to try.

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