The negativity of photography …

I have been experimenting with scanning old negatives on my flatbed scanner. I don’t have a proper negative scanner just an old garden variety Canon printer/scanner. I scanned the negatives on the flat bed, using an iPad as a light source. Imported the badly scanned image into Photoshop (finally found a reason to use it again) and inverted the file. From this point onwards I followed my usual editing habits. The results? Scratchy, fuzzy and grainy images. I think I’ll keep experimenting with this method. What do you think?

The Time Machine

Photography, for me, doesn’t preserve memories, it creates them.  There are of course events that I have photographed and in so doing, I have preserved that memory.  But it is the act of making an image that has formed a lifelong memory of that exact moment.  I am currently sorting through a large shoebox of old photographs and I am having flashbacks!

Looking at images I took, some going back more than 40 years, I can recall the exact moment I took a particular photo. A visual memory of a split second of my life.  It is this powerful.

Remembering the mood of an actual event become more distorted as time passes, the truth of it becomes hazier.  What remains unchanged for me as a photographer however is the exact moment of when I pressed the shutter.  I remember where I was and why I took the photo.  I know of no other medium that does this for me.  Sounds and smells can also transport me to a particular time, however the experience is more fleeting.

I have always viewed art as a form of philosophy, a way to find meaning in life.  Photography allows me to travel, meet people and experience new situations.  Most of all, the camera gives me the  ability to record time and space and create powerful memories.

Photo: Elwood, Melbourne, Australia 1981


Analog Magic

I love cameras, both as a creative tool and as an object. Spending Sunday afternoon with some of my favourite analog ‘super-models’!

The best of both worlds

I have ben reading a lot about digital versus analog or film photography lately.   A lot of the arguments centre around the economical advantage of digital photography; it costs less to make many images, versus the (perceived) more considered approach of film photography.  I use a mixture of both, but I mainly make my photos with a digital camera.  Having said that, I really like the manual approach of analog photography, but then I am a bit of a romantic when it comes to old cameras. I love holding them and admire the design of some of the classic cameras.  However, for my daily work flow, I don’t want to spend time in a dark room and play with chemicals.  I would rather spend time sitting in my thinking chair, holding an old camera and ponder my concept for my next shoot, which I will then execute most likely with one of my digital cameras.  

There are a number of photographers, especially younger ones, who are returning to film cameras for the sake of the “art” of photography.  
Some of the arguments are; ‘it lets me better focus on my photos’ … ‘analog cameras slow me down and allow me to concentrate more on the composition’ … etc.  I agree that slowing down and taking fewer photos is a better way to work, rather than making a few hundred photos in a session.  It all seems to be part of the retro trend that is happening in the developed world.  Think Instagram, Hipstamatic and any number of retro analog apps for your digital smartphone. Lets go back to the future. 

But I don’t think it has anything to do with your camera. There is a kind of digital greed that can happen with your digital equipment. I see people pointing the camera at anything that remotely interests them and clicking away.  “I can always edit or delete that photo later”, is the motto.  Just because you can does not mean you have too!  I know, I have fallen for that trap many times.

Recently I have discovered a digital compromise method that is guaranteed to not only slow me down, but also satisfies my lust for analog technology and digital convenience. I have started work in full manual mode and I have equipped my digital camera with old analog lenses.  This way I have to slow down and I will spend more time creating my composition. 

Ultimately any camera can be used to make images, but what really matters is not how you make them but why you make them.