Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's a sensory deprivation thing

So I've noticed that a lot of the photographs I really like, are the ones I take when I'm out of town, traveling, visiting. These are the ones I've posted on my Etsy shop. I guess it's because I'm seeing things with a fresh eye, noticing things that, if I lived there, would just be part of the background.

Part of the problem is that I work primarily in digital now, and spend no time in a dark room what so ever. I miss the dark room. I really do. When I was working in film I found that I had a different eye. Shooting and developing your own film means that you spend long hours in the dark or in deep amber lit rooms, with negative images flashing in tight beams onto light sensitive paper.

If there's a developing machine to print with, your images go in one end and slide out the other. There's a lapse where you are waiting for one thing to end, in order to move on to the next. It's a methodical way of working that forces you to slow down. Working with trays, you have the sound of constant running water and the sloshing sounds of chemical agitation. You keep a careful eye on the timer or clock. There are brief forays into the light to check your exposure, the focus, the contrast, and then it's back into the dark to get it right or start all over again with another negative.

Once you leave that environment, you begin to see your word differently. Time in the dark causes you to look on your environment as a new comer. Things catch your lens and before you know it you're back in the dark again to see what you've captured. It's a sensory deprivation thing.

Digital is different. There's no sense of surprise in seeing what pops up in the developing tray, but depending on the number of memory cards you carry with you an almost unlimited number of shots at your fingertips and you know what's working and what isn't. Your time is taken in front of a computer screen and there's no emergence from the dark once your image is printed.

Don't get me wrong, I love my digital camera, it's served me very well in my photography pursuits. I'm just longing for a little time in the dark and a chance to view my world in that way again.

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