February 25, 2013
January 25, 2013
I’ve been spending time shooting and darkroom-ing. For 2013 I’m planning on at least three more shows and a small self published book.
There’s a lot more in the works but listen to this: I am not a street photographer.
July 26, 2012
I’ve used several different lenses over the past decade of shooting rangefinders and found that through processing your own film and printing your own negatives one discover the character that each lens can demonstrate. It is important to start out stating that to the viewer of the final photograph the lens choice can’t/doesn’t matter much, if at all. At the same time I don’t have a problem with anyone being picky or overly specific about their lens choices since for the Casual Shooter (i.e. anyone doing it for themselves and no one else) such matters should be left up to the private desires, criteria, and budget of that individual photographer. You want to go spend $11,000 on a Noctilux? Go for it. Totally satisfied with your $20 Holga? Have a blast.
For years I had mostly stuck with a 28mm focal length and after at least four of these wide angle lenses eventually settled on the brilliant Leica 28mm Elmarit lens. The sharpness which it was able to resolve images was surprisingly close the kind of resolution I was getting from my medium format cameras. In the meantime I bought a circa 1997 35mm Summicron version IV which is (for better or worse) sometimes referred to as the “Bokeh King” and found that I was preferring its slightly longer focal length. It did render out of focus areas nicely, but most of what I shoot is at f16 during the day with 400asa film- so being interested in seeing if I could get the sharpness of the 28mm Elmarit I bought a used current-model aspherical version of the 35mm Summicron:
As Mr. Rockwell has demonstrated, all of the versions of the 35mm Summicron are extremely adequate, if not truly great. Regarding the construction of these lenses I agree that everything should be as solidly well built. When you hold one of these lenses in your hand you quickly realize why people call them gems. The only user-interface improvements of this new Summicron compared to the older lenses is that the aperture ring is easier to rotate and the focusing tab is not as stiff. Again, these little changes are more important to the person operating the camera than the viewer of the final image.
I suppose that for anyone who prints in the darkroom one of the difficult things to deal with is the gap between the intrinsic physical beauty and detail of a well crafted fiber based print vs. the degradation of that same image when scanned and put online. In your hand or on a wall on your screen the context of each way of looking at the same image changes the experience. I enjoy the detail which this lens can bring out in a photo- which anyone can see in a gallery but you have to mess around with some to share on the internet.
For example I’ll use a scan from a workprint of an image shot with this lens which I won’t be including in any show:
For sharing online I think I prefer this image proving its actuality as a (admittedly rough) work print:
Let’s take a closer look:
The postage stamp ought to help put things in perspective- – the crispness of this lens allows for more visual information in an open print.
The fact that the shadows for each groove in the tread of that converse sneaker, or pattern in the manhole cover are so well delineated doesn’t “make” the image- it’s not just about the sharpness- but these kinds of details give the image a richer feel and can keep things interesting.
When images seem to give you more back than you put into making them, that is, when they teach you more about what was there and how it appears in a picture- it’s hard to loose momentum as a photographer. Staying interested is what it’s all about.
June 12, 2012
The Izu peninsula lies to the southeast of Tokyo, the gold-fish tail part of Shizuoka Prefecture. During a gallery meeting in the beginning of 2012 ideas for a group show were tossed around- and the theme of “Izu” ended up with the most votes. The purpose of the exhibition wasn’t specifically to attempt to tell the story of this land or its people, but rather followed in that Japanese tradition of travel photography- get there and then figure it out for yourself. Each of the members, at different times, went to Izu and made some pictures. The six I showed were actually taken in the town of Atami on two different occasions last year. This was a helpful loophole as I was too busy to make it down there this spring.
When throwing around ideas for a title, someone (ahem, cough cough) came up with “This IZU Photo” and it stuck. The show was divided into two parts, the first from June 5th to June 10th, with the second half from June 12 to the 17th.