It’s high summer, good haying weather — and the mornings are foggy here in Northern New England. Though some of the nights this summer have been hotter than usual, this week we’ve got cool nights — so good fog.
This photo is from a past summer morning; could be now but it’s not.
I don’t think I’ve posted an infrared photo here for a while, and I haven’t been exposing quite so many recently. Funny. Well, here’s one.
Photography has always been a very strange combination of focus and distraction in my life. Quite often using my camera is most compelling when I’m supposed to be doing something else. I see the most beautiful things when I’m driving in my car if I’m late for something. The discipline of using a camera (especially in the old days with a view camera, sheet film, and a spot-light meter) needs to dovetail with the open mind that sees and can feel the resonance of the world. The task of setting out to create or find a particular image seems to almost always end up with an altogether different result. This seems to be just like the rest of life: as John Lennon says, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Just as last week’s image was found in my catalog while looking for something else, this new image struck me for a second week in a row, while scrolling to get to another image, with an altogether different feeling and intention. But this was too good to pass by.
In fact I am working with some apples and pears and such in an ambitious little project that doesn’t have much to do with the way this photo turned out. Grateful for the bit of focus on that, in that it gave me this.
OK, I had to give up on the Only Scan Film resolve I had going. Anyone watching would have seen that it was going slowly. Scanning and spotting a piece of big film was just daunting enough an undertaking that I would procrastinate it if I was busy. And I’ve been quite busy, for me.
So here’s something more straight-from-the-camera, from this June, when the roses were in full bloom in this garden. There were thousands and thousands of roses blooming near here, but this photo instead is of light and space. I like the Escher-like paradox of some of the planes and spaces, as well as the other-wordly light.
If this were a print, I guess it would be a proof. I don’t know for sure I’ve “got it” as far as the tone. It’s been too long since I posted anything here, so this is going live now.
A new post coming soon!
It’s been a long time between new images here, and that’s because I’ve been sticking to my resolution to keep doing scans of old sheet film. Since I completely spot and go through each scan pixel by pixel to have a good, printable file ready, it takes a dauntingly long time. Maybe I’ll get back in the groove now. I guess I may be spending more time in my office.
In spite of the time it took, it was really an amazing experience going through the scan of this 30 year old film. 30 years! How have I even been alive for that long, yet alone doing photography? There is something quite magical about film grain, something really only an old-time photographer would ever spend much time with these days. This image, scanned at high resolution, is full of compositions within compositions when the full scan is viewed at a full zoom level. So in spite of all the time, I enjoyed revisiting this image I used to print in the darkroom back in the silver days.
This is from the same spot as the last post, also in Cavendish, Vermont.
As the last post featured a sunflower facing west, this sunflower actually was facing west as well.
In 1981 I was young and skinny and wondering what to do and nursing a recent heartbreak, a year out of four years of college, wanting to be a photographer. I was working hard at that, trying to hold onto something. Funny to try to hold onto Photography as the one solid thing in my life — like grasping moonbeams and falling snowflakes. Funny now, but So Serious then. I lived in a shoddy apartment, but with good hearted people. My life was quite full of open hearted friends, and we had an amazing garden. I worked enough to buy food, sheet film and paper and spent the rest of the time with the camera or in the darkroom. I washed a lot of silver down the drain, and crystalized a lot of it onto film and paper too.
I scanned this film today, and also found silver prints of this image in archival boxes. I will print it a bit better now than I was able to in the old days.
While it’s usually easy to make exposures — especially in some of the times of year when beauty is everywhere I turn — sometimes it’s hard to pick a photo of the week. Sometimes it’s like pulling my own teeth. Sometimes when digging through the catalog, everything looks good. And how to pick? Or sometimes nothing looks worthy. Why am I even doing this?
On Friday when I went pearl diving, I came up with this. I like it a lot. Seeing it in black and white helped pull some of the things I like about photographs: subtlety of tone and texture, dynamic energy in the composition, a poignant pointing-out of the passing of time, the bubble-like nature of experience and existence. This is why I’m doing this work.
update 8.3.2010: this print is now available for sale here