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Monthly Archives: December 2009
I am writing this during the afternoon of December 31st. 2009 is drawing to a close and I am not sorry to see it go.
As this blog is mostly about photography, that’s what I will concentrate on. There have been some highs this past year. The chance to spend 2 weeks in Venice, to be able to walk virtually the entire city and take time to photograph it; is an enduring memory. Out of this experience I have a beautiful book, produced by Momento, and an exhibition at Breizoz Cafe. I have sold two of the ten prints so far.
My small exhibition at Seddon Deadly Sins cafe was supposed to end in February. Several images sold and the owner asked me for some more. I seem to be a part of the permanent collection now.
I have spent a lot of the year, on and off, trying to learn more about portrait photography. As I don’t have access to, and can’t afford a studio; this has meant going down the Strobist path. For the uninitiated, this involves using ordinary flash units off-camera to stand in for studio lighting. It isn’t as easy as it looks.
And, it brings me to one of the bad parts of the photography year. Since switching to digital in 2002, I have relied heavily on a number of internet sources for sensible, sound, accurate advice. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but not everyone on the internet knows what they are talking about.
I have no illusions, not everyone is making this information available out of sheer altruism. Most use it to attract traffic to their sites so that they can advertise goods and services. And a lot of these are very worthwhile. However, having said that, many of them go above and beyond the call of duty to explain what they are doing, or to answer questions and give advice in forums.
This year seems to have been a very bad year for a number of these people. Several have given up in anger and/or frustration. There are many reasons for this. Two of the main ones complained about are:
Sense of Entitlement – some people in the forums seem to think they have a God-given right to demand information or answers to questions and get a little agitated if they don’t get what they want.
Criticism – some very experienced, talented photographers have been criticised heavily for producing work that isn’t up to a supposed standard, or doesn’t meet the accepted formula. Attempts to explain that there is a difference between work that you can sell to corporate clients and, well, crap get met with abuse.
I suppose I am surprised that any of them bother at all.
I have noticed a tendency for people to want to be told a formula that works, rather than learn anything. There were two posts within minutes of each other in one forum from people who got expensive flash units for Christmas and wanted to be told how to use them, because the manual was just way too hard to understand.
I am getting fed up with these seemingly endless discussions too. Maybe folks should read something, learn something, try something, practice.
The people who are being criticised are working photographers who spent years learning this stuff. It is embarrassing that they should be subjected to abuse for trying to share it.
So, in an attempt to redress this somewhat, I give you my 2009 Photography Roll of Honour (in no particular order):
This is another purchase. I saw it sitting in a second-hand junk shop complete with its “leather” case and instruction leaflet and I just had to add it to the collection.
The Clack began production in 1953 and continued through until 1965. A twelve-year production run is unheard of in the digital age.
The camera is very simple, basically just an update of the early box cameras. The Clack takes 120 roll film and the whole roll/spool assembly slides out of the camera so it can be loaded. The image size is 6×9 (centimetres) and only 8 shots fit on a roll.
The Clack has two shutter speeds, normal and bulb. But it does also have two aperture settings, one for sun and one for overcast.
And, I have to confess, at the moment it isn’t in a cupboard. It is in a packing crate under the stairs. But it will be unpacked and back in a collection cupboard eventually.
The photo of the Agfa Clack was taken ‘strobist’ style with a Canon 580EX 11 flash fired through a Westcott umbrella just to the left of the camera and a large white reflector just to the right to provide some shadow fill.