So what do you do when you realise that…
- your photography has become too difficult, your gear and process have become cumbersome and keep you from enjoying an intuitive and playful way of taking photos and creating images
- setting up your 4×5 camera is just not the same “meditative dance” that you could dance with a camera in your hands
- you no longer take your camera on hikes as it is too heavy and you would have to take a big bag (or two)
- you no longer have the time to spend hours in the darkroom to develop film and then more hours behind the computer to get the film scanned and all those dust spots removed which you don’t seem to be able to avoid no matter how careful you are
- you find yourself thinking…I wish I had taken that photo in colour…
- you are getting afraid to take out some of your film gear because it might break and you would not be able to replace it
- you would rather spend the time (outside) with your camera to get things right than afterwards developing and processing
- you have developed (pun intended) an allergy/asthma against the fumes in your darkroom
- your waste water disposal (septic tank) would require you to basically collect all the water and chemicals you use in the darkroom and dispose of them separately as they might otherwise end in your pond and kill your salamanders
- you would rather save some money to travel instead of spending it on chemicals and film
- it is actually not so much the look of a certain film or camera but rather the look of certain lenses (lens types) that you really love
- being able to see the result of a shot esp. a multi-exposure or ICM or super close-up immediately on the back of your camera is really important for your more experimental photography to get it right and not waste time and money and more important opportunities
- oh and there were also some expensive and unexpected dog-related bills that needed to be paid…
Every normal person would probably go and tackle the issues one by one, which also seems the most sensible and reasonable approach.
BUT what did I do instead?
I first looked at my guiding principle for 2019, not just reading it but feeling its meaning.
“Ma is the time and space for life and creativity to grow – an emptiness that is filled with feelings and energy”.
No time for the creative part of my photography, no time for experimentation with the camera in my hand – and for emptiness… that was filled with gear and films instead of energy and vegetables (film shooters will understand ;-)).
Second, I needed to silence that voice in my head that said that my work wasn’t anything special if it wasn’t done with film, film was the reason I had connected with so many people on Social Media…what was I worth without film. That voice was a lot tougher to silence than I had thought but in the end it yielded to my argument that my photography would surely not be special – especially not for myself which is most important – if I did not do it the way I wanted to and enjoyed it. So what if people will unfollow…does it really matter…no, because in the end for me they would have followed for the wrong reasons anyway. 😉
I don’t want to be put into the “oh, she is a film photographer box”, I am claustrophobic :-D.
Finally the decision was rather brutal but that is what I needed to free myself, to be able to move on.
I sold all my film cameras – yes also the Hasselblad and the 8×10 – all my darkroom equipment (except for Cyanotype) and most lenses and got myself a digital camera again which I am now using with my few remaining film lenses and some home-made lenses and filters that are still in the experimental phase.
I also simplified my digital processing. It is all done on my iPad using Lightroom CC Mobile and in specific cases Apps like Affinity or Procreate. Everything was selected to minimise processing time and maximise the time available to play and get things done in camera and to be able to work from everywhere, be it under a tree in the garden or while camping.
I will share more of the how and why of my current work in the future but for the next few posts I would rather take you back with me on a time-travel as I am cleaning up my archive & backlog of the last 7 years, selecting images and projects I want to put into the new gallery on this redesigned website. It is a bit like starting a journal with my memoirs – good combination? What do you think?