Negatives

Updated: Aug 12, 2019


There is something strangely forgiving about slightly blurry work when it's on film, almost ideally romantic. When I was learning photography, I felt my work sucked because I couldn't get sharp focus most the time, which I later realized was just cut rate equipment, id est plastic, cheap lenses, and primarily shooting in available and often low light. I learned to over compensate by using really fast, grainy film, and to treat everything really contrasty or abstract, keeping the depth of field shallow, instead of bowing to the "everything in focus" philosophy.


Most go with the safe work, and I didn't want to do that for the same reason I don't want to take "boring" photographs now: anyone can do it, and it doesn't take much skill to do it well enough to be praised by people who don't know better. Obviously those photographs and photographers and consumers serve a greater financial purpose than the path I've chosen to take, but I would rather love my work and do what I love, than work for the approval of people who are really looking for what they think other people might love, based on what they've been fed by societal ideals.


I don't mean to go on one of those rants again, but maybe if I point it out enough, one day you'll wake up and realize that all the things you've been conditioned to think are important are really just silly and temporal things that eat away at the precious moments of a life that is rapidly passing. Or, maybe you'll just keep following the herd of consumption zombies, and I will forever be sitting in the corner with my arms crossed, shaking my head gently with disappointment.


Those are my post-apocalyptic options at this point, but I've learned to not lose any sleep over it. lol. I tense the term "post", but I genuinely feel like we are knee deep in it now, societally, and am really waiting for things to start exploding, but maybe that's just my own idealistic romanticism? Maybe that's my version of everything being forgivingly blurry? /rant (sorry, but the whole point of this website was supposed to be a philosophical statement) -- When I did finally go digital, I swiftly became obsessed with everything being in sharp focus, to the point where I zoom way in and not use anything unless it is in sharp focus, so I most likely have an entire collection of "good enough" photos that never made it past my self-inflicted strict guidelines.


These weren't taken that long ago, on the only 35mm camera I use now, a Pentax MX that my father purchased from a guy in a Mexican parking lot for $20, and couldn't get it to work (it didn't have a lens, but only a 2x converter). Luckily, I had liberated a (Pentax mount)50mm manual, macro lens (with a minimum focus distance of one inch!) from my old job selling cameras, so I threw it on there and it worked fine. I figured the light meter was broken, but a new battery even fixed that. Only problem is 35mm is like a thumbnail. I am shocked how well this scanner does with such small negatives. That is certainly a wonderful game changer. More news on the 120 front coming soon, and my first shoot of the year is happening in Joshua Tree tomorrow. I am excited and terrified. ...and don't even get me started on the format anomalies on the Wix blog.

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