There are times that I make a photo and it does more than the others. what I mean is, there’s certain energy the photos pass on and shares with me. Sometimes this energy is subdued and not calling out for attention. Other times, there’s a reverberation inside that conjures up memories and just keeps resurfacing over and over. We all do self-portraits in one manner or another. But there are some photos that conjure up messages that we may or may not want to deal with.
It was 1978 and I was in our bedroom and wanted to make a self-portrait. I was wearing boxer shorts and that’s it. I was using a 50mm Cron, early version. Anyway, I was framing the photo, similar to the one above. As I raised the camera to my eye, on the ready….my son2 years old popped his head up from behind the bed. I did not see him. I framed and made the exposure. 3-4 days later the roll was filled and time to make negatives. My fav part of the darkroom. I processed the film and decided to print a few negs. I put the self-portrait in the enlarger and looked at the image on the easel. I decided that an 8″ x 12″ was the right size. I slipped in a sheet of strips to get a basic exposure and then put in a sheet of Portriga Rapid. I made the exposure and developed it and when it was in the fix, I noticed my son Paul’s head on the corner of the bed, peering out to me. I thought the photo was funny and move to another negative. When I took the strip of negs out of the Leica Enlarger, it fell out of my hand onto the floor.
I couldn’t see it so moved around and got safe for white light. I looked down for the strip and low and behold, I had accidentally stood on it. I picked it up and it was destroyed beyond repair. I knew at that instant that this was the only print to ever be born from this negative.
I took Andre’ the Leica M240 and went into the bedroom. I saw the light come thru the curtains and the frame starts to form. I looked around and realized I made a similar photo 41 years ago. I had the feeling of energy reverberating and memories gallop thru my mind. I raised Andre and got ready and made the photo.
I miss my son Paul.
So I often wonder what the trigger is for the inspiration in making photos. I_ mean of course I know most of my triggers but the thing is, where do they come from and why? See, I believe making photos is more than pointing the camera and clicking. There’s an internal release and an external release. They each have a target of intent. Together, they make the moment of the experience happen. Apart and you’re just taking pictures. There are a time and place or making and talking and it’s only important if you understand the difference. If not, maybe you’re the lucky one, just go about freely and take as many pictures as you feel. Not a whole lot of accountability but some need to be that way. Looks around the room carefully and makes sure none of those people are here. Actually, anyone that does photography that way, won’t be here with us anyway.
Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. It means that if you developed a trigger mechanism many years ago, it’s still inside you and in working order. It also means that if you made a photo that you really respond to and love, you’re probably gonna have that photo in your heart and mind and maybe subconsciously hunt for it again. There’s nothing wrong with this process as long as you are aware of what you are doing. So there are many things in the tangled web of thoughts and emotions that we need to try and sift thru to make the experience of the next photo and rewarding as any before it.
look, of course you can always go on and just find things and hope for the best. It’s natural and acceptable and a proven way to work.
Back in the 1970s, I read a series of books by Carlos Castaneda. Some say he made the entire series up and discounted the entire thing. The thing is, if you read or do anything to give you input, good, bad or indifferent, it affects the way and what you think. Castaneda said that death lives on your left shoulder. As you go thru life, you need to pay attention to your death. He also said that when you do something, do it as if it’s worth dying for. That’s all heavy stuff but the fact is, you can’t escape that. What does all this have to do with photography? Perhaps you figure that out. I may, in fact, have it all wrong. I just know that there isn’t too much in my life that comes close to my photography. Maybe that’s not so great, but I focused on everything and saw most.
So, I have a thing for backgrounds. Funny thing. See, those posters etc are made for you to absorb a product or some kinda info. Oh yeah, I know it’s a hard thing to grasp but they are really advertisements. So, by making them a background, I am in fact maybe kinda responding to the ad. There is a communication going on and I find it very interesting. We are bombarded by images, media and info, and more every second. How we respond to it all is what I find interesting.
When I look at shooters photos, I like to find the trigger or stimulus for the photo. Not always easy and interesting to see what others see. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to wonder why they made the photo and not so much how they made the photo. If you wonder how they made the photo, you might end up in a camera store. If you wonder why they made the photo, you’ll more than likely end up looking for your own photos.
Look Y’all, I believe if your not thinking about stuff like this, before, during and after making photos…. you ain’t thinking. Ya probably ain’t feeling either. Not a good thing I tell’ya. If we don’t challenge ourselves to try and find the light, then we just see the light others shine on us. One of the techniques I used to get info into my student’s heads was….. tell them to bring 5 questions about why the others made a photo. See, we look at photos from all members. Then I instruct each member to choose 3 photos. 1 was to be their own and the other 2 from someone else. Now they have till next session to come up with questions and reasons for those questions about the photos. You would be surprised how difficult this really is. The learning experience was to read the questions for others and then the question and answer for their own work.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I got a message from my Eye, Heart, and Mind. The message states that I am not done writing and expressing myself. It also states the I need to go to the toilet so I need to end this post now. Not my choice but bodily functions rule.
I will do more over the coming weekend. As always my friends, be Blessed on your journey.
…..end transmission…..shooter out…….