Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Working on the basics....

Yesterday i posted on Facebook that i was going to work on challenging myself and further my growth as a photographer. Oddly enough what i have chosen to do in order to challenge myself is to start shooting film again. The digital age has brought along some incredible things to the world of photography and has given us an incredible amount of latitude and control over our images. One thing that i do believe has been lost along the way though is the discipline of making images, it has long been said that good photographers know when not to take images. this knowledge comes with years of practice, studying light and composition and enormous sacrifice. I say sacrifice because photography really does take a great deal of sacrifice in time, energy and and of course money. The saying above really does hold great truth though, i think that it takes great discipline and patience to keep yourself from taking pictures of everything you see. Film really does bring about this discipline. Why? Well if you think about it there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when shooting film, you have to think what kind of film youre going to be shooting as different brands and ISO's react differently. Cost, professional films are expensive not just at the front end but to develop and print as well. Then theres the fact that you only have 36 exposures to work with, when you take these things into account you begin to think about every picture differently. The questions must be asked: Why did this scene catch my eye? How do i compose this? Is it really worth taking a photo? These things serve to slow you down and think through what you are doing and most of the time you find that what youre looking at really isnt worth photographing. Dont get me wrong, i am not opposed to digital cameras at all, i have used them for many many years and love all of the great innovations that they bring. The discipline of photography though has been lost in many ways, we have the ability to manipulate our images like never before and so fall prey to the mindset of "ill fix it later". Not only that but memory cards can hold hundreds of pictures at the highest resolution now, its easy to fill up card after card and become what one of my good friends calls the "spray and pray photographer". I know that this may all sound like a rant, or that i am judging other photographer but i assure you it is not. These are just my own opinions, i have my own journey as a photographer and everyone else has theirs. As a photographer though i have an obligation to continually study my craft, look at what i am doing, reevaluate and search for ways to improve. Right now i feel that i am undisciplined in my craft, i find my images lacking, and know that i can do better. So i choose to challenge myself and get myself back to a place where every image counts and find that discipline that shooting film brought. So the challenge for myself is this:

Go out a minimum of 3 days a week
Limit myself to 36 digital images
Shoot at least 10 frames on film and write everything down

i went out yesterday for the sunset at Cardiff and had an incredible time, the methodical process of taking out the light meter taking reading, composing, shooting and writing down settings was very therapeutic......not to mention the sound of the motor advancing film really took me back. In hindsight i probably would have chosen a different film though as i like to shoot long exposures and Velvia 50 has horrible reciprocity issues at exposures longer than 4 seconds, of course i didnt figure this out until after i loaded the film and decided to look at the chart in the box. Oh well, next time ill put more thought into it. So there you have it, thats were im at. If youve made this far then i thank you, i know its not easy reading through my posts and i talk A LOT. So to reward you here some images from yesterday, these are all digital images as soon as i finish this roll ill scan them in and post them. Enjoy!

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