I spent the latter part of Saturday at a guacamole contest/party, and the latter part of that I spent tucked in the shade, talking to Ingrid. We talked about how much we enjoyed photography, doing freelance photography for the percentage of time that would make us happy, possibly bring in income, but still leave enough time for the real job that provided the real income, and how to balance all these things while not undercharging people because you love what you do and are kind of a soft-heart.
Ingrid really inspired me, and I made a resolution to practice photography more. Again. I love it so much, and there’s really really no reason not to spend more time taking photographs.
Technology has made this increasingly easy on me. To begin, I had a Minolta SRT 101 and the St. Ambrose darkroom. (The darkroom has the end of my finger – a story for another day.) It took hours and hours of processing film and paper to see my newbie photos. This was hard and frustrating, but I was full of energy and support (of both my professor and my friends – thank jeebs for running in the theatre/art/media crowd). I really had to work for the payoff, and because the stakes were so high, I paid a lot of attention to the details.
Then, after college, I found myself photographing less. I was dating Jason, and he encouraged me to get back into it. I explained the demotivator of buying supplies, handling chemicals, and using your apartment bathroom as a darkroom. He came up with a brilliant solution, and a really, really thoughtful gift – he got me a film scanner. Processing film is approximately 10x less difficult than making the prints, so I could shoot to my heart’s content, shake shake shake the film, then scan the negatives. The upsides were boundless – less work, and instant digital results I could alter as needed (flaws like dust or scratches weren’t the death of an image), and besides the scanner I didn’t need any new equipment.
But soon I found myself not shooting again. Why take my 10 lb. camera and a flash to a party when I could use a little digital Elph that took pictures that were just fine, with no film costs and processing time? Years passed this way.
Then, while living in New Bedford and having come into some extra money from my brief but brilliant stint with the Toe Jam Puppet Band, I decided to spend my extra cheese on a digital SLR.
There’s no excuse now, is there? Ok, my camera’s still a little bulky, and expensive to just leave in my bag as I play frisbee in the park. Also, there’s the unexpected problem of having too many images. When I shot film, I made a lot more small changes in my head before pressing the shutter release because of the cost. Now, I can take five photographs in a second on auto everything, which means slogging through all of them later, weighing the merits of images that are minutely different. I’ll have to work on using the display on the back of my camera to help me make decisions and do some more mental editing between clicks.
So here we are. I’m going to take more photos. I’m going to post them to Flickr, and blog the best ones, and generally get more practice. I tend towards documentary style (only the fly, no posing, not a lot of post-production cropping or altering, lots of me crawling around or standing on top of things), and I definitely prefer to shoot people. (I’ll never get over how that sounds.) So, friends, beware. Jason, be very ware.
Here’s the last photo I took with my digital Nikon. May it be the beginning of a new era:
That is, by the way, Orange Bear – my friend Elliott’s constant companion. There’s discussion between Elliott and his parents about refilling him, but I like how he drapes over Elliott’s arm like a doffed suit jacket.