“What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare”
With apologies for opening a post with a repeated quote, but I think it’s entirely appropriate.
The last year or so, in an attempt to escape the various lockdowns, we’ve taken to walking. Not just walking, you understand, I mean, we’ve been walking ever since we moved on from the toddling stage, but proper boots-on, follow-a-map type walking.
Without a doubt, when contemplating my favourite camera (of those I currently own), my immediate response is usually: F4… the Nikon F4… without hesitation, but with plenty of repetition… definitely the F4.
I’ve decided it’s time to call an end to the business of picture framing.
I’ve been considering for a couple of years now, as profits have been sliding from black to red. Hard to pinpoint a single reason, and I’m certainly not laying it all at Covid’s door, although that’s undoubtedly had an adverse impact this year. It’s become the classic “rock and a hard place” situation. Not enough work to make it profitable, but having a full-time job too, drumming up more custom would leave me working long, long hours, and I’m afraid I’m no longer young enough for that to be an appealing option.
“What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”
It seems that for many, time to stand and stare is now plentiful, but maybe there’s precious little to stare at. Social distancing and isolation may be entirely necessary at this time, but it can feel, well, isolating… even for those of us lucky enough to have a garden, standing and staring at the same familiar surroundings as the days draw into weeks can be frustrating to the creative mind.
The internet is awash with articles listing “things to do” during the lock-down to keep busy, creative and prevent the dreaded cabin-fever, so I don’t think I have much to add… I’m sure you’re all intelligent people and have your own ideas on how to pass the time.
I’ve always been pretty firm in my resistance to the
seemingly unstoppable charge of digital photography. The “digital revolution”
has been an inarguable success, but the takeover has not been total. The brave
new digital world has been benevolent enough to leave room for those of us with
gelatine hearts and analogue souls.
A brief search of YouTube finds a huge number of analogue
shooters extolling the virtues of film in all formats.
Personally, I love my old film cameras. They’re tactile.
They look great, and they feel great, and I can choose between multiple formats
dependant on what I want to shoot or how I want to shoot it. It’s great to have
a choice, and that choice extends to film or digital.
Life is busy, and I don’t have as much time as I’d like to devote to personal photography, so when I do, I’ve always thought that I should do what I like to do… not work to someone else’s agenda… shoot for myself alone. But now, I’m beginning to think that rather than providing artistic freedom, that may be an attitude that may begin to stymie creativity. Maybe the “everything in moderation” approach that seems to serve me well in other areas should be applied, and the occasional assignment to a specific brief will help to keep the photography fresh and interesting. So, thanks to those lovely people at the sunny 16 podcast I recently embarked on an assignment on the theme of “day into night”.
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ― Robert Hughes
I imagine many of us occasionally have those feelings that we’re out of our depth, that we don’t know what we’re doing, or we’re out of control and being carried along against our will or judgement. Most of the time these feelings are momentary. We attempt to regain control and move on, but what happens to our creativity during these periods of doubt? And what if those periods are not fleeting, but consistent, long term and debilitating? Following on from the previous post which described the darkness that Don McCullin feels from his years of bearing witness to the worst of humanity, and how those dark feelings are alleviated, just a little, by photographing the land, or creating classical still life compositions, I wanted to explore a little more the idea of how our mental state might affect, and be affected by, our photography.
I always feel a little irked when a museum or gallery levies a charge to enter certain areas of an otherwise free to enter establishment. It irritates, probably more than it should, especially when the entry fee feels excessive, and for the same reasons that I won’t pay inflated “event” parking charges at the O2, or use the public lavatories at London Victoria train station, I’ve occasionally dropped plans to take in an exhibition due to what, to me at least, appears to border on profiteering by the venue.
Now, I have no problem with a venue covering its costs with a nominal entry fee. A well known “name” showing in a well known setting may well see me parting with a tenner to get through the door, but I work long and hard for a moderate salary, so I want value, and that includes the cost of getting to and from the venue.