Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Few Choice Words

I've been looking at a lot of photographs lately (not my own) especially the works of Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank. I have to add them to my pantheon of all-time favorite photographers, which until recently was just W. Eugene Smith. The Garry Winogrand retrospective show, that began in San Francisco and is currently in Washington DC,  will be coming to the Metropolitan Museum in June.

I look at quite a few photo blogs, Facebook, and Google+ every day with the hope that I'll find something that grabs my insides - something from which I can steal an idea, or at least give a 'like' or +1. It doesn't happen often.

The best way to see work of the masters is to view the actual prints either in a gallery, museum, or on your wall. The second best way is in well produced photography books. It's probably least effective to see photographic work on a computer screen. I'm sure many would disagree with me, but I came of age working in a wet darkroom producing silver gelatin prints. Although I no longer make them, opting for pigment inkjet prints, I still feel the best way to view an image is as an actual print. I make a selection of maybe twenty of my recent favorites, lay them out on the floor, and slowly thumb through a book of Winogrand or Frank images. That helps me to understand what I have, what they have, and for what I need to aim. For right now I'm wrestling to get a handle on using a super wide angle lens. I love to work with them because they allow me to get in really close and still get a full scene. Lately I've been shooting with the Fuji 10-24mm f4 zoom, mostly at it's widest setting. When I'm looking through the viewfinder and framing shots as I walk, I get so close without realizing it that I bump into the the people. And sometimes I have to listen to a few choice words.