I feel like ranting… I don’t know what has come upon me these past few months but I feel the urge to rant about photography.
I did photography as a means to connect with my father (we had a small dark room) when I was 15 – 16 years old. This lasted a couple of years and then as life happened I slowly lost interest.
Fast forward to 2012, and after trying lots of different things and not really finding what I liked, I saw an ad from Fuji stating that they had re-invented the rangefinder. Moreover, I could use my Leica M glass and switch to digital… The price was fair and as I had 2 gems that I hadn’t used for 10 years, it seemed like the deal of the century. It didn’t turn out as expected, but it did get me hooked into photography again…
After bitching about that X-Pro 1 for over two years, my father told me to “shut it and buy that bloody Leica you are dreaming about!” Easier said than done, but after saving for a while, I bought an M240. It was ultimately the wrong choice for me, but that is another story. The bitching stopped right away, I was free from the impediment of the camera and able to try and find my style; my way of rendering an image. It took me a long time, during which I switched from Windows to Mac, from Lightroom to Photoshop, and from digital back to Film! Oh Yeah!
So what am I ranting about?
For the moment, nothing. I’m just explaining a bit about my journey through digital photography, and this mattered I think.
Ranting, Part I : the Social Experiment
So now I consider myself a photographer. I have the right equipment (or so I thought), GAS hadn’t really set yet, and that M240 and I went shooting 3 times a week. Mostly street photography. I did a session and, as if by magic, 200 pictures were in my camera, waiting to be sorted through, edited and finally processed. At that point I realised a few things: I only see in black and white, I hate sifting through hundreds of images to find the good ones, and I hate spending more than five minutes editing.
Enter somebody who has now become a dear friend, and who used to be a professional photographer. He once told me “why don’t you come with us one evening and we’ll take some pictures of a gathering. The lesson began then, and is still ongoing!
Back to the Social Experiment. We are in late 2014. Google+ sites are a great thing. You can find nice websites literally everywhere. You can post your street photography and have LIKES! Yay! At first, it’s like a drug. The more you get, the more you want. You check your damn thing every five minutes to see how many likes and comments you got. In my experience, that only leads to madness, no progress at all and could destroy your state of mind. At one point I was moderating a 200k+ members site on G+. That sent me completely sideways. It took me a couple of years to quit everything. Luckily for me, my pictures have always had their own distinct style, and didn’t attract hundreds of likes. The addiction therefore wasn’t too severe!
Ranting, Part II: They call me Nobody…
So for a few years I went without posting anything. I was shooting a lot, trying to find people to make constructive critiques of my work and amassing thousands of processed images. Of course all were not good, but at that time I think around 10 to 15% were good pictures, and maybe 4 – 5 % were great pictures. It was during this time that I realized I have a love (and a knack) for shooting musicians and children. Especially children. They are so filter-less! They either like you or they don’t! This is also around the time I started investing in what matters most: not equipment but knowledge! (big thanks to Eric Kim on this one!)
Yes, I did ask permission
So, where are we now? I am exactly at the point of my essay: what to do with all those images? I do not want fame, nor glory, nor fortune, not even recognition (to a certain extent) for my pictures. What I want is for them to be seen. To be enjoyed. I want to provoke a reaction when you look at them. I want you to feel something (Souvenir/Image/Emotion). But what means should I follow to acheive this? Book? Exhibition? Photo Club? Instagram? (hell no!)
Ranting, Part III: The Quiet Man
Am I achieving any of this? Not really, but I have made progress. Firstly, I created a Facebook page where I occasionally post a picture with a title that is in no way an indication of the individual (GDPR) and I shoot only film (no exploitable exif data). I do not shoot street anymore.
Here are the next steps:
- Musician: no need for consent in any form plus I share the best images with them, asking them simply to mention my name (I think that’s more than fair) if they publish the images.
- (Music) Events: Oooooooo my gosh these are the best! Especially with a bit of alcohol in me. My inhibitions leave me, and I am free to go speak to anybody, asking permission 90% of the time to take their picture. I usually forget about sending the pictures afterwards, but if I see the person again I do it on the spot.
- Children: anytime I can, at family reunions, events, friends kids… any occasions is good and parents are usually more than happy to get the pictures.
- Film: I love the rendering and love the imperfections I get with film! (there may be another article on this in the future)
Ranting, The End:
So no, I haven’t found the right way to “present/exhibit” my pictures, but perhaps you could help me? What advice would you give me?
I hope the text wasn’t too long, or too “self-indulgent”. Thank you if you managed to get this far!
small PS: all pictures displayed here were taken on an M 240 and predates 2016 with the exception of the musician (second from the top) which was made on film post 2018 …
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