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After more than 20 years in photography, I started wondering: what is it actually, photography ? How does it work ? How do I make an image ? What do I make it with anyway ? I concluded I didn’t know. Right now, I use a sensor and a PC to “make photos”. A long time ago, I used film: I bought the film and chemicals, put them together in a tank and shaked the damn thing in the way described in the technical spec. Magic ? Hmm, there should be more to this.
I decided to start stripping down. I’m selling off the cameras that I’m not using any more, which are a 1980s film SLR and a digital point-and-shoot. And I’ll be trying a few things. There are two rules:
- I will spend no money except for what I have earned.
- Every step will be taken towards doing more by hand to produce photographs.
A bit of elaboration on the spending. The initial money will be the earnings from selling my unused cameras. If I need to spend more, I will need to earn it first through selling what I produced. Photography is sometimes regarded as an expensive hobby, but I disagree.
About the second principle: I want to do it myself to understand it better. With a mechanical camera, I learnt about exposure, something I couldn’t do with an all automatic one. With the sunny 16 rule, I could learn to understand light better than with a light meter. By making my own photosensitive paper, I will understand sensitisation and exposure behaviour of paper better than by buying paper.
It will be a road to travel. If I was looking for results, the road I am taking would not be particularly efficient. But then the road to results has become so efficient it’s boring: grab any digital camera (preferably a DSLR), shoot and the camera will make sure it’s good. Nothing interesting about it because the engineers who designed the camera did all the hard work. But how about painting a paper in blackberry juice and exposing it ? Could I get that to work so that I can make my own blackberry post cards (the fruity ones) and mail them home ? Now that would be something !
Ah, a final rule. No photography on this site, except by myself, of course.