Archive for the ‘film’ Category

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Ohmigod, is that a Saturn?  And look, remember when you had to pedal your bike!

The year is 2066.

We’re teleporting to different parts of the earth, holding meetings on virtual beaches while sitting at home, and having robots do all the chores.

And we’re using the latest camera technology, which means no camera at all–just look at something and it’s captured.

We’re lamenting not having any photos from the first quarter of the century, since we didn’t bother to print any of our pictures, and they all got lost in dead computers and outdated phones and hard drives that last booted up decades ago.  And some old program, Facehead, or something, that was supposed to save them all.  Yeah right!

Plus, we don’t have any computers that use USB anymore!   How ancient that technology!

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My Leica M2, still going strong in 2066.

As we sit looking out the window, our Leica M2s and M3s and Rolleiflexes still just as functional as they ever were, we load a roll of film and take a walk to go capture some street photos of the day.

The sky is full of PTDs–personal travel devices.  Everywhere, our brains connect with each other through telepathic waves.  Cars have long ago ceased to exist.

And we find ourselves thinking about the good old days.  Like 50 years ago, when things were simpler.  Sure there was that terrible fiasco with President Trump, but thankfully he was quickly arrested and tried for his crimes.  And then President Sanders’ brought all nations together.  War ended and America prospered, which is why we have such a great economy, plentiful jobs and USA-made robots and devices today.

But still, taking photos of present day just doesn’t seem as cool as the old days.  Back then, there were those cool Nissan Rogues, BMW sedans and those crazy Mini Coopers.  God, haven’t seen one of those in years!

What I wouldn’t do to be able to go back in time to 2016 and photograph them.  What a treat that would be.  But that’s crazy talk.

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Look at that old BMW, when they still had wheels!  And drivers!

That’s just what we did in 2016, fifty years ago, when we were enamored by photos of old cars from the 1960s and 1970s.  So busy looking at the old cars, we missed the shots of those cool 2016 cars then.

All I know is I’m glad my Leicas lasted.  And my Rolleiflex.  Because when film made its resurgence in 2022, we were the only ones who knew how to make real photographs.  The rest make memory records, but we make photographs.

Which is why we’re the wealthiest photographers because of our forethought.  Way to go!

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“Ah, look, the good old days.”  (Overheard circa 2016)

Time traveling.  That’s what people will be doing 50 years from today in 2116–looking back on life in 2066 (“Ah, the good old days,” they’ll say.).

That photo of the PTD fuel station that looks like nothing now, just a bunch of hovering vehicles powering up?  Add 50 years.  It needs time to become valuable.  Once time passes, familiar elements fade away.  Buildings change.  The cars, the shops, the cities.  Then the photos take on meaning.

I’m no math whiz, but here’s the equation: [P+T-GP!]   (Photograph + Time = Great Photograph!)  The photo needs to be good, too.  Let’s not forget that.

Ask Stephen Shore.  Or William Eggleston. They both knew the equation.

If I were back in 2016, I’d go out and shoot ordinary things, with an eye to the future.  Because maybe I’m not shooting them for me.  Maybe they’re historical photos for the Shorpy galleries of tomorrow.  (So glad that company is still going strong, with galleries around the world.)

But alas, I can’t time travel.  They say that technology will be ready in another twenty years but they’ve been saying that forever.

I better get shooting!

We don’t shoot photographs.  We preserve history.

I am keenly aware of this as I visit my family and photograph brothers and sisters, parents and children over the holidays.  We really are the family documentary photographers.

georgeAs a photojournalist, capturing the story of a family in the everyday moments, whether shooting a formal dinner, playing in the yard or just watching football on TV, it’s all part of the story of who we are as a family right now.
In 2015.  And as it was in 1999.  And how it will be in 2027.

We are documenting much more than family snapshots, which is why I like to shoot more than just posed photos of people looking at the camera.  I like to capture each of my family members engaged in something they like to do.

kw5-8As important as it is to shoot photographs for publications, there really is no more important work than when we are capturing our family.

We are historians with cameras.  Our work will live on for generations to come.

In fact, some of the viewers of our work haven’t even been born yet.  We are creating future galleries.  And the people we are photographing, that holiday photo we’re taking this year, will be the only way they know their ancestor.   They’re grandpa or uncle.

We are doing amazing work.  Let’s make sure we print our photos, too, so that they will last 100+ years despite technology’s evolution

It is seriously important work!

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Made with a Rolleiflex T twin-lens reflex camera on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado, it’s a moment captured on film that has a feeling all its own.  And very few of the digital photos being taken today will last 50 years, like this will.  Because this negative is physical–I can hold it in my hand.

She was working across the outdoor mall at a store, and saw my Rolleiflex, and came over, explaining that she’s a Rolleiflex shooter as well.

I am a proponent of legacy portraits on film, and this right here, is why.  Printed in a real darkroom on photographic paper, 12×12 framed, this is a stunning portrait for any room of the house.

Sunset on the last day of the annual film festival in Boulder.

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I have this project I’ve been working on the last six months called The Wise Photo Project.  I photograph older folks who often don’t have anyone taking their photo.  Most of the attention is on the kids, and as one older man once told me, “The older you get the more invisible you become.”  So my goal is to photograph them and print and frame their images big so that they can be shared on their family’s walls.

Here’s a series I shot today.  It was so much fun, and he was such a character.  If you want to find out more and get a portrait done, contact me.

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npgI walked though the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit, AMERICAN COOL, last year.  I shoot for a client in Washington D.C. every spring, and usually there’s a little down time when I can walk over to the museums and catch a few.

In the American Cool exhibit, no one was smiling.  Well, not no one, but hardly anyone.  Many portraits–and they were of musicians, actors, authors, scientists, singers, among others–probably over 200 I saw, and many were not looking at the camera, and virtually no one was smiling.

ken-head-camera1It was like smiling made it a snapshot.  And looking off or not smiling, we got to see what they really looked like.  A glimpse of their person, not their smiling self.  A magazine portrait.  A feature portrait.

So, I’ve made a point recently to shoot more portraits without smiles.  And I like the results a lot.

Even my self-portrait, I chose to refrain from smiling.

I’ve heard in the 1800’s, people rarely smiled for photos because of the long shutter speeds needed to make a photograph–it was just too hard to hold still that long with a fake grin.  Also, people thought you looked foolish holding a put-on grin.

wise38But seriously, there’s something to the serious face.  Maybe like black and white, it’s one step removed from the standard smile we’re so used to seeing, and doing when the camera is facing us, so it takes us away from the realm of “snapshot”.

Dizzie Gillespie and Jimi Hendrix were the only two I can think of who were smiling, by the way.  But the others were much cooler.

Try it and see what you think.