Wednesday, March 14, 2007

of monkeys and typewriters

no man is an island (by ~ fernando)

«no man is an island»

It is a necessary in this art to know about equipment. I find that knowing the shortcomings of these well crafted lenses and sensors/films is an important step in getting what I want out of photography.

Recently I have caught a few discussions on blogs about equipment. There is the classic Nikcannon debate, and other goodies as technology moves on. It amazes me how these debates are so childish, defensive and, ultimately, does not involve the mention of photographs. That is, there is no context. What about just buying what makes one happy, never mind what others use, and show us what you can do with what you got. The forest has been lost because of the trees. Of course, I think a discussion about the physics/engineering/marketing of equipment is fantastic, illunimating and quite insightful, but such debates are rarely fruitful as they turn into a pissing contest. (Not sure that I have caught one female of the opposite sex involved in those discussions.)

I cannot find mention of equipment in one of the most impressive arrasys of images, I have seen in a while, from a film maker Nuri Belgi Ceylan Turkey Cinemascope offers a very impressive use of whatever camera he uses.

I use to love that aspect ratio, or at least 16x9 as in the image above. However, most of these days I am favoring 4x5, with some venturing into 6x6 and 5x7 to go either side. It seemst that 16x9 and above offer an automatic feel for cinema, and so to make a photograph be cinematic at 4x5 is a greater challenge. That is a nice thing, I think.

Monday, March 12, 2007

unattached, becomes involved

tinseltown in the rain (by ~ fernando)

«tinseltown in the rain»

In a strange way, inspired by Blade Runner, I have begun to wander downtown Los Angeles a bit more. After all, it is rather convenient to step out of the apartment and just walk. I know that there is a gentrification of downtown in the works, and I am part of it, that will change this decaying area in ways that can be hard to anticipate, but there is already hints about what will happen.

However, the main point here is that of attachment. So far, in my photography, there is an idea of looking where people usually do not. There is a post-photo idea of expressing some emotion about the (usually) atypical subject matter or angle, and that is just layers of what I want to express. In other words, the photo becomes an abstraction of something that people may not often care to look at, or even photograph -- at least I have the «Old San Juan» series, or the «Dying Beach» series in mind. This abstraction moves the image into my imagination and there is no emotional attachment to the subject, as in influencing where I go and what I photograph. I just wander around and see something.

This is not the case with downtown Los Angeles. The contrast is just too high in this area of the city. There is the Gehry Building and the ensuing series «Sketches of Gehry», which fits into the mold of the detachment expressed. However, the historic downtown has a more emotional connection, and as such, it is more problematic. The issues that arise so far with portraits are creeping into photographing this area. It is a bit like the doctor becoming involved with the patient, and that is going to affect treatment. In that sense, the same is happening here, whereas in the past locating "good texture" meant a number of takes with multiple angles, lenses, etc. goes ignored here. Not only that, I am venturing more into street photography, though no results to show yet. Also, I am walking around with an older camera and a prime lens (50mm), which is a different animal to me at this point. This focal lens (80mm equivalent in the digital camera), makes some shots rather difficult to take because to the narrowness of alleys or streets.

Although I will not be able to walk downtown next weekend, I am already anticipating doing more of it in the subsequent weekends. Knowing that I will not be here for the completion of the "makeover" seems to make it more interesting to capture what I can at this point, and try to either embrace or divorce the doctor-patience relationship.