A Negative Result

A Negative Result

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We are discussing here I am a curmudgeon of photography, moody and unpleasant with a personality that makes Alfred Stieglitz look like Charlie Brown. I don’t like photography today! A difficult but true statement about a medium I once loved, the arts and crafts that intrigued me, helped clarify the world for me from the smallest to the greatest, helped me to see what exists and not what I think exists. With photography as art, the world was my palette. I only needed to compose it in the camera, to be aware of reflections and shadows, soft curves of the human figure, juxtapositions of objects, lines of rivers or fences or buildings making their way path through the scene, the gentle balance of rocks against trees or men against women, all framed to my satisfaction.

The world was my palette

Sometimes I saw the world as forms and not as “things”. A lighthouse has become a circle, a window a square, a shadow a depression. At other times, consideration of the subject as a subject has become a priority. A belt buckle has come alive in every detail, the smallest visible stripe. The veins of a rose are perfectly clear. I’m sure Edward Weston didn’t spend days photographing vegetables, especially peppers because they were vegetables. He photographed shapes, lines, and light, something beyond the subject.

As a photographer, Andre ‘Kertesz once said, “All you need to know about photography is what is printed on the film box.” I needed to know how the aperture and the shutter and the ASA / ISO worked together and how to push the film through underexposure and overdevelopment, and develop for contrast, sharpness, grain and use that knowledge to my advantage. I learned to listen to other photographers but never to believe them without experimentation or to let their thoughts become my thoughts.

Reminding me of the time I spent in R&R in Hong Kong

It’s ridiculous! He was stuck in some sort of exposure rule. A photo can be taken anywhere without a flash as long as there is “a” discernible light. What the PI the photographer probably meant was that the photos would be blurred due to the slow shutter speed. It would have been true. Just think about the problem and view the image differently. I used the camera shake to enhance the images rather than distracting them.

Long hours in the darkroom were often a delight, and just as often a pure chore. The developer feeling slippery on my fingers looked like a magic potion when the image started to emerge. Chet Baker or Miles Davis played from the corner of my red painted darkroom, reminding me of the time I spent in R&R in Hong Kong.

A Negative Result

I could spend the whole evening getting one acceptable impression. The feeling of satisfaction was overwhelming and I could even drive into town to show my other photographer friends.

The meaning of the prose is in the prose itself. “The man felt alone.” The reader knows how the man feels, he does not need to add anything more, no guesswork, no assumption whether the statement is true or not, no reason to speculate why the man is alone, no second guess. People who do not understand writing, often literary critics and teachers, often do not understand it. If they did.

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