As you may have noticed, the posting frequency on this blog has slowed down dramatically over the past few months. Don’t worry, I haven’t given up. I just started to feel that instead of trying to be a blogger who photographs, I should focus more on being a photographer who has a blog. Writing posts of any length is a terrible slow and painful process for me. I figure that instead of spending several hours every weekend hamming away on posts I never actually finish writing, I’d be better off just going out and shooting.
It seems to be working.
Since sometime in September I haven’t done much of traditional street photography. Instead I’ve been focusing on shooting large format environmental portraiture. Photographs influenced by the type of moments I’d be looking for if I were out street shooting, yet with a more controlled hand on the composition.
So far I’m finding this switch to be bliss. I’ve never been so satisfied with the work I’ve been creating as I have these last few months, and I’ve been getting a massive waves of positive feedback on the body of work. Shooting this way also adds a great facet to my photography that rarely appears while shooting candidly — actually connecting with people.
I’ve been happily using my 4×5 camera to shoot these portraits, but then a perfect storm of photography hit me right in the face.
1) I was given an old Korona 8×10 camera.
2) I found a Jobo CPE-2 at a thrift store for $30.
3) A kind man who I met one night in Minneapolis gave me 15 sheets of expired 8×10 color film he never expected to use.
So I thought to myself. “Hey, I only have $30 invested into this system. I wonder what would happen if I used that old film in that old camera, and see if I can develop them with the Jobo I just got?”
I think I kind of now understand how a largemouth bass feels the moment an angler sets the hook and he is ripped away from the only world he’s ever known.
Now, while the photos from the 4×5 look absolutely amazing, the images coming out of the 8×10 are just something else. This is photography with the volume set to 11. The camera is heavy and physically demanding to use. The film is expensive and I can only take a few exposures out with me at a time. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t just feel right.
So that is my quick summary of where I am at so far in 2012. Year of the 8×10. Also, the new Alcest album Les Voyages de L’Âme is pretty awesome. Go check it out.