I know I am not the first one who will be making bad jokes about 2020 and eyesight, so at least I have gotten mine out of the way! Still, I really do hope that the year ahead proves to be one where things improve for many – 2019 has been quite disturbing in many ways.
For myself, every year, at the end and into the new, I look ahead and think about what I want to do. Personally, I have no grand aspirations. Certain things keep me rather limited in what I can accomplish, but in other areas the only limitations are my imagination or lack thereof! And, in truth, my aspirations are more personal than external, though there are some thoughts moving into the areas outside myself. I realize that sounds rather vague, but that is exactly what some things are – vague.
One thing I have been thinking a lot more about is photography. I’ve never been especially passionate about it, but I enjoy it as a pastime. Some people I know are so good at it, take classes, win prizes. I don’t do any of those things. Also, in many ways, while I like the convenience of digital, there is a lack of tactility with it because you can snap-snap-snap without thought, and possibly get some good images. This lack of tactility in digital is what keeps me from being a “passionate photographer”. Digital is great to learn from, too, as it is cost-effective and very instructive if you take the time to, er, focus on the essential parts of what makes a photograph – iso, time, aperture. I have learned a lot in the digital photographic world and really like certain parts of it – but I also miss the deliberate qualities film forces on me. It is through the digital photograph that I have been able to improve my film photography, and that is where I am turning more and more.
Film has a life that digital does not. There is that indefinable quality of film. Combine that with a deft hand, a good lens, and a bit of luck and / or talent, and it becomes something you can drown in with pleasure. I’ve discovered that in the past year. I have a small collection of film cameras, some really limited in what they can do, others more sophisticated. Some are 35mm and others are 120 format, in 645, 6×6, and 6×7. I’ve only just moved into the modular medium format and plan to explore it in the coming year. The modular medium format cameras allow for different lenses, as do SLRs and DSLRs. Being able to work with different systems, their limitations and gifts, is a great experience. It makes me think differently in each situation.
In this next year, I want to learn to develop my own film successfully, both black and white and color, both 35 and 120. Currently I have a lab which does a decent job – not great – nearby and for a reasonable cost. I scan my own films using a Pakon for 35mm and, currently, an Epson V600 for 120. I want to try digitalizing my 120 using a light box and my full frame Nikon with a macro lens. These are the tactile elements of photography that I find missing in digital photography – the processing on different levels. Yes, the images are ultimately digitized and edited in Lightroom and other software, but getting them there is part of the fun, and very different than using a memory card!
But I also want to do more with my photography. I am an admitted addict to landscapes; however, I also want to move beyond the natural world and consider other elements of photography. For instance, look at the images I have put into this post. They aren’t mine. They are ones which have been staged and tell a potential story. It is this I want to explore in greater depth, too. The creative side of photography in what is put into the photograph itself. That is perhaps the biggest challenge to me with photography (digital and analog) – creating a scene to convey a thought.
Along with the more intense “doing” of photography, I also want to paint and draw (as I try to do), read more, spin, knit, walk, work out, garden, travel . . . and continue to enjoy the life I have and share it with friends and family and the blogosphere, too – readers and comments, though I seldom mention it, are a pleasure to me.
Here’s to a new year of adventure in 2020!