Nate and Alex

Nate and Alex

I recently shot my first roll of 35mm film in nearly 10 years. What a crazy time warp - dusting off the old Pentax MX, opening the camera back, threading the film through the spool, cocking the film advance, setting the ISO, adjusting the aperture, setting the shutter speed, adjusting the focus, and then waiting for a photo-worthy image to flit across the viewfinder. You didn't want to take just any old photo, because any old photo would cost money in film and processing, and it was such a labor-intensive art that unless you were a pro with an endless supply of film, you simply exhibited some economically-imposed self restraint.

So you went slow and hoped to get one good shot out of 36. You were psyched if you got more than that. Times, as they are wont to do, have changed and I think that I'm both better and worse for it. Better in the sense that I think that I am a better photographer than I was 10 years ago. Credit much of that to chimping - looking at a photo on the display screen on the back of the camera. That, and viewing on the computer, have accelerated the feedback loop and thus the learning process.

But I also think that I'm a worse photographer than I was 10 years ago. I think less about a single shot, instead sucking photons from my immediate surroundings into whatever camera I am holding at the time. And doing this rapidly and repeatedly, with little regard for the souls I may be stealing or the sheer digital excess I am creating. I've probably taken over 20,000 photographs this year to date. How many of them are truly memorable?

So now I think it's time to slow down - even temporarily - and get back to the basics. To think about what I am capturing, and like a marksman, to fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment