I did speak to this photographer not to long ago. He use film, of course. Actually he's an engineer working with landslides and complicated calculations and strange matters like that. In addition he used to learn to play the violin. I don't have any idea how good he is, playing that violin, but most likely quite good. That's just something I say, because I have seen his snaps from all over the world. Oh, and I just happen to know that he's absolutely top notch in his daily job engineering those landslide calculations as well. That's why I, probably rightfully, think he's a great violin player too.
There's a few multi talents around, putting their fingers into more or less anything, and out comes brilliance.
To get to my point about the above stuff about this most likely genious man, and his photography and things. He told me that if he would be able to draw this art instead, using charcoal or some other decent and proper technique, he would rather do that instead. That's what he told me, no kiddin'!
Like I said, a true artist and engineer in one person.
I could never say that about myself. Oh, and don't get this wrong, because I would certainly love to be able to draw stuff, and especially with charcoal as that just looks amazing to me. I just don't see myself doing only that, if I could, and then do no photography. To make everything absolutely clear here; I am not able to draw anything, and will never be!
I love art in many forms, and if I could I would, with no doubt about it, use my skills to draw masterpieces and poem like drawings. But I can't.
My point is that I also love the mechanic wonders of a good camera. To me there is no (or at least few) such joys as when that shutter fires and I know I have captured a moment or two on that small piece of film. To listen to that shutter sound is pure music with the right camera in hand. As is the action of winding forward to the next frame, which with the right camera is more like a thrill. I can use well engineered machines to snap pictures the way I like them, which is good for my soul. Or so it seems, anyway.
I happen to be an engineer myself as well. Just a lousy marine engineer for sure, but an engineer nevertheless. I love mechanical things. I am the kind of man who use an old fashion mechanical wrist watch rather than a battery powered thing. When I listen to music I want it to be played on good old vinyl records rather than CD or just a computer file.
When I open something up to have a proper look inside I want everything to be understandable to my simple brain, to which electronics are the absolute opposite. Springs, levers, gears, taps, rods, bearings, pistons and camshafts... it all makes sense, and it just seems to work. At least for a while. Then, when those mechanical things stop working they usually do so in a predictable way. Like gradually, for you to get a chance to do something about it before it's all dead. If you know what I mean?
Electronics works as well, for a while. Then it just kills itself in a fraction of a second. Always with very bad timing, of course. That's just murphys law, which still is very much relevant even with todays technology and all.
Open landscapes. I could easily live right there at the end of this beach... I love open landscapes.
I am not to sure where I want to go with this, or what I was trying to say initially.
I think it was something like this though: It seems like there are different kind of people. Some use their brains like this, and others like that. Some are true artists, others are more like me... mechanics. Or something similar to that. But with a wish to make something that is good on the eye on a sunny day.
We use our brains in totally different ways, and there is not much we can do to stop it. An artist will always find ways to create art, no matter how bad the circumstance is. A mechanic will try to find a clever way to get himself out of that bad circumstance.
And then you got just a very few, like the man I told you about, that seems to be able to switch their brains in all kind of directions just like that. I will leave them be, for now.
Oh yes, it's in Wales all right! At a place overlooking the Minch and all. Or we could have been overlooking the Minch, but as you might will guess we just listened to it for a while...
It was a good day though!
There are moments, though they are not happening too often, I feel I got a foot in each of the two worlds described. I get inspired and feel capable of taking a snap that somewhat is reflecting my mood, or any mood I want it to reflect, and it makes some kind of odd sense to me. That's just in moments, of course, but still that makes me kind of proud in some weird way. Proud because I went out to make something special, and made it all the way to the finish line.
Anyway, I have started to try to think a bit about it. Tried to be aware of what I do when I'm into a good period, if ever so briefly, and hold on to the thought and feelings for just a short period of time.
I have also been thinking a little bit about what simple steps I can take to make these moments come to me a bit more often. I don't claim to be sitting on the truth here, but I think something of it might be worth writing down. As a not to self, more or less.
First of all it seems to start with the choice of camera, or rather more precise; cameras. I usually bring to many choices when I move around, which is only good for one thing, to slow me down. Both physically and mentally. To many decisions to be made, to many choices and possibilities, and everything is just ruined before it even starts. If you ever again catch me out walking around with more than one camera system in my bag, just tell me what an idiot I am!
I take my best pictures when I only got one choice of camera and lens, and it's actually as simple as that. It does not matter if it's a big, bulky Mamiya medium format camera, or a tiny german 35mm type of thing. It just got to be manageable, and a no-brainer. It all comes down to a limited number of things to choose from.
I went to Bath one day. Snapped this one, and a couple of others, and ruined them more or less in the developing process... as I usually do. The romans had been there a few years before me.
Then it's about what disturbs me. As you know I'm a social guy who love to talk and have fun. I like people, and to interact with them. But again, I'm a simple brained man, or I'm just a man... you know, the kind of spieces that just are not able to do two things at the same time. I need to focus on what I do to do it well. Or maybe not focus as such, but I have to be there in the moment and kind of roll on when I feel I'm in the flow. Or something like that.
Otherwise I will only get crap captured, and what's all that good for if I'm going to please you picky readers and watchers of this blog and all?
I got a bunch of cameras, as I have told you before. More or less all of them are mechanical film cameras from a different time and era. From back in the days when mechanical engineering was at it's best even for the consumer market, and things were made to last a bit longer than things made today.
I love my cameras, but for a different reason than only the artistic one if you get my point? I could easily live with just a couple of them if I only was a photographer with an artists brain. The thing is that I think I got a very small part of my brain for the artistry stuff, and a bit bigger part where the love for mechanical wonders is hidden deep inside somewhere.
Meantime, My old Guitar Gently Weeps... but in a bit different way than the more famous one that George was singing about a couple of years back. It's a fantastic instrument!
When I sneeze it will ring out in a full tone just to make itself heared.
I usually pick it up to play it for a while when that happens.
.I'm sorry for all the flying thoughts folks, and I hope I did not manage to make everybody sleep of the whole thing. As I said, it's more like a note to self for the time to come. A way to remember what I think I have discovered, and what probably has been written by someone else long, long time ago. It's just that you got to get the grip of it by yourself, isn't it? You need to do the research and the conclusions to be able to understand what it's all about. At least it's like that for me. Then I might get a chance to do better photography as well. Or at least photography that is better for me. I don't expect everyone else to jump in joy about my stuff, because it's probably not that good.