Wednesday, March 20, 2013

03/18/2013: Old Paint

Location: 10th Near Noble St., Philadelphia
File size: 10” x 14.5” @240 dpi
Camera: Nikon F
Lens: AF Nikkor 35-70mm
Exposure: By Guesstimate (Underexposed)
Film: Tri-X rated at ISO 200
Develop –1 Stop, HCll0 1:49, 6.5 min @ 68F
Scan: Epson V500
Proof: Canon Pixma II Glossy

The old school street photographers are known for playing it straight photographically. Anything additional was cheating, fakery, and inauthentic. If you tinkered, the boys would put a bad mojo on your Leica and lace your espresso with old fixer. Of course, with advent of digital photography, computerized post-processing as well as an epistemic shift in how the public perceives photographic “truth,” the continuance of such an attitude is antiquated, pointless, and tragically bitter, akin to seeing the first automobiles tearing down the streets and shouting “Get a horse!”

Still, when I shoot the urban landscape I make only straight images and my preference is to use a mechanical film camera. When I print, the only things I modify are tonalities and contrast to bring out the structure of the image. Because I’ve done so much Photoshop manipulation over the years and continue to essentially “build” images in my studio figure work, I keep to the simple, un-manipulated path for another reason: I want to “get out of my own head,” forget the idea of making art and simply discover and bring back the oddities of the enfolding landscape; to allow myself to dream while I’m behind the lens. I don’t want to create fabrications or be looking for pieces to collage together.

This photo was a little different. The final image is actually two combined frames from an identical vantage point and separated by less than a few minutes. In this shot I saw a kind of stage and really wanted a figure in the far area, so I waited; noticing that an occasional person would pass behind me, walk to the corner and then consistently cross diagonally. I took five frames. The one where the figure worked did pick up the detail on the bottom of the trestle, so I used another one that did. I then added back the figure I wanted, which required minimal tweaking.  

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