When I take pictures with a film camera I use Notes on my iPhone to record the equipment and materials and anything interesting about particular frames. When I develop a roll of film and make an inkjet contact sheet I print the notes from the iPhone at the bottom of the sheet. Reading through a lot of these notes recently I was struck by how many times the word “test” appears. Add to that the numerous references in the notes to the performance of the camera, the lens and even things like the bulk loader, it’s clear I’ve been doing a lot of testing. And in that context it’s understandable that not too many of the pictures are particularly memorable.
When I stopped taking film pictures almost three weeks ago I was determined to do no more testing. That meant, in turn, no new cameras, lenses, films or developers, and no changes to my film photo process. And, with nothing to test, I had no particular urge to put film in a camera and take pictures.
Living in a very small house with most of the available wall space dedicated to my mother’s paintings means I have few places to hang my photographs. One prime candidate is the pair of narrow walls flanking the window in our dining area. In a way I would miss the vintage motorcycle racing posters hanging there now, but if I could come up with a theme for a small collection of perhaps a half dozen photographs it might be worth it. Before my recent meltdown I was at a loss for ideas.
Then late last week an idea came to me out of the blue. What about a series of semi-closeup pictures taken within an easy stroll of our house? Guests might enjoy trying to identify the subjects. I would try to capture identifiable characteristics of the subjects to make it easier. The picture I posted last week is a detail of an unpainted shed at the back of our property. I chose the subject, the particular detail and the lighting with display as part of a collection in mind.
I have identified a second subject I’d like to photograph but, like the photo above, it will need direct overhead sunlight to show the detail, and it has been cloudy and raining all week. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow. I’m cautiously optimistic.
This is a new way of thinking about photography for me and so far it shows promise.