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Friday, December 4, 2015

You ever have that moment when suddenly you realize why you have gone against the grain?  

I've put up with photo purist for years.  The snobs who hate photoshop and "get it right in he camera" is the only true photographic objective.  Those who have every technical detail down and can produce the best exposed photo of any situation give what's available.  I've argued with then for decades and still do as a matter of principle. 

Before that I bought into their tripe and held them in high esteem.  I thought, "Yes sharpness rules, personal control of Depth of Field was a master's tool, high ASA was the devil's tool that grab your soul and destroyed your high standards.  Tri-X 400 poured from Satan's horns.  My darkroom work was all about getting the timing right for that "perfect" exposure.  Measure the chemicals perfectly at the right temperature for both film development as well as paper development.  The clock on the wall, the thermometer, and the measuring cups were essential.  Rolling, dipping, tong control all had to be perfect.

So what happened?  When did it happen?  Why did it happen?

I was looking at photographs of old cameras a while back.  I was taking in the way they were presented, the style, the nuance, the settings.  For no apparent reason, I remembered a Nikkormat EL 35mm SLR I got to use years ago.  It was one of the first 'automatic' 35mm cameras on the market.  No more matching needles to get a proper exposure. I was free of some of the mechanics of camera use.  So what?  That's the lazy way.  I was no longer in control, right?  Yea, but no.   I was now more than before able to concentrate on subject, composition, and purpose!  I was free to develop my photographic eye!  It was a baby step toward Art!  I didn't really see it that way at the time but now it is clear.  By not worrying so much on getting the picture right in the camera, I could get it right in my head.  I could see the potential of composition that wasn't meant to be picture perfect but concept perfect.  This subliminal mental process would develop into my love of post production.

I'm not saying technique is unimportant.  I'm saying, "Master the Tools; don't be hampered by the tools."