Posts Tagged ‘35mm film’

As a photographer, there’s nothing else that matters, no one else who gets to decide what is important, other than that which is important to you.  Photography is a creative expression, and when we stop looking to create images that will please others, and actually create images that please ourselves, that reveal a little something about how we see the world, only then is the art realized, and we give the viewer a glimpse into our soul.

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I can tell you, as a filmmaker, how many Tarantino wannabees I see out there.  We don’t need another one of him–we have him.  (And one of him is too much for me–I think he’s ultra-violent and sits on that one note too long.)

But as photographers, what we need is to show a side of ourselves that reveals our truth.  Then, we have created art.  Dare to show something that reveals you.

It’s easy to say what you don’t like.

I hate this, I hate that.  You didn’t tell us anything about you.

I like that. 

You like that–what are you a freak, liking that?  Saying what you like tells us a bit about you.

So does what you photograph.

So, photograph your passion.  Stand by what are your favorite images, because they define you, and after we are all long gone, they will be what survive to tell the story of who we were.

Mine is the story of connections in families.  That’s my passion–to document the small stories that make up great lives.

See http://ElderlyPhotoVisits.com and http://TheWisePhotoProject.com for more.

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It’s a feeling.  I suppose, you either feel it or you don’t.  I certainly do.  There’s a magic in that silver, I tell you.  Now there’s a Tri-X negative in a sleeve that exists with that image.  And there is a print of each photograph in a frame, to savor those moments.

Because photography wasn’t meant to be for an instant to share, to check out on the back of a camera screen, or to post once on Facebook then bury, and be done with.  It was meant to save memories.  At least for me.

Film, printed and framed, does that for me.  Unlike anything else available.  Surrounding me in my house and office.  Changing frames out with different memories.  But all real, no electricity needed.

Because I intend to make photograph for the ages, not just for today.

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If you want more interesting photos, shoot more interesting subjects.  (And shoot on film.)

There’s a special beauty to having a special beauty in your life to have to photograph.  This is mine.

Having willing family members and friends makes all the difference, much more than camera equipment.

The first two were made with a Praktica FX and 50mm lens, the second two with a Leica M6 with a 35mm lens.

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I realize I shoot film a lot, but I have multiple bodies with film loaded, and I tend to shoot conservatively, just a frame or two on a person or a subject.

I want to change that.  I just added motor drives to two of my Nikons, an F3, and an FM2, the cameras I used as a photojournalist throughout the 80’s and 90s.

I want to shoot more content.  And not hold back.  I think I do that–hold back.   I want to fire up the cameras and move film through them more quickly.

The motor drive will let me do that.  It’s license to burn!

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Unless you’re using your phone camera in poor light, so that the image is blurry and grainy, your camera in most situations is good enough.  I’m not a proponent of using a phone camera only.  I carry a Rolleiflex 3.5F, Leica M6, M8 or Fuji X100 all the time.  Sometimes all at once.

But our camera gear is not in the way of our making great photos.  Our sleeping in on vacations (missed that golden sunrise), that shooting ordinary, uninspired scenes (and not editing them out), those are the cause of bad photos.  Because the camera is just a tool to record the moment.  And that moment, that subject, is way more important than how the well the sensor records light and micro-contrast.

I find that kind of chart-photography, pixel-peeping the bane of people who want to be photographers, but are stuck on the tech and not finding the image.  It’s out there.  You have to work to get it.  You have to go on walks.  You have to take it everywhere.  Moments will show up when you least expect them.  Have a camera with you.  Not in your bag.  Not on your shoulder.  Around your neck and turned on.

Because the moment is what the viewer is seeing, not the camera brand or megapixel count of the shot.  The emotional response is what will get the viewer every time.  Not the technical aspects.

Just like no one cared what typewriter Hemingway wrote on.  It’s just the story that counts.  Go find your story.

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I made this photo with a Kodak Retina IIIC, the same camera I first experienced as a child, because my Father had one that he picked up when he was in the army in the mid-1950s.  It’s a brilliant camera with a Schneider 50mm f2 lens.  Shot of a local musician working hard, as he is known to do.

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.