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Thread: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    (Mods... feel free to move this to another forum if needed. I felt it would resonate here, maybe.)

    I just thought I'd take a moment to catch up with everyone here, as I kind of dropped off the face of this forum (the world?) for a few months. This post isn't going to be so much about medium format, as it is about priorities (artistic and otherwise)... and my return to the things I love.

    I though it might make for an interesting read in the face of all the brick walls and crooked sensors.

    This will be bit personal, but I hope it illuminates a few things about my points. On December 7th, 2009 I lost mom mom to suicide. She was a long time sufferer of bipolar disorder and finally succumbed to an internal pain that we all had no idea was so terrible. She and I were very close, so needless to say it was a devastating event in my life

    That's not really what this post is about though... it's about a chain of psychological changes spawned by such a shocking event.

    So, I've been struggling with a lot of things (artistically) for a long time. I was a professional trumpeter for more than a decade and had been longing for a few years to finish up some unfinished doctoral work and re-enter the world of music, both with the camera and the trumpet... but me and my kids were intertwined with mom's life and felt compelled to stay nearby knowing she was prone to deep depression. I also had become reticent about my current path in wedding, portrait, and fashion photography... hence the "Daily Landscape" practice I had started back in November (which ceased when mom died). It was an attempt to slow down and begin to "see" again. I still longed for contact with people in my photography as well as an expanded amount of landscape work...

    The loss of a loved one, in a way, was freeing in that it allowed me to sit back and really think about why I valued the things I valued... and for me "the moment" is more about taking time to get everything ready for the shot. It's about the setup before the shot that gives me the opportunity to catch the moment. It means attempting to set myself up for a single perfect capture (yeah, right)... all things that I find missing in much modern portrait and wedding photography. The "setup" could be on a wedding day (finding the perfect light, angle, or moment) or could be setting up lights, reflectors, and conversation leading to a wonderful musician headshot.

    I also would be remiss if I didn't mention something deeply personal. In the wake of Mom's death I went through a particularly disturbing event. In getting a slideshow together for her funeral I noticed a pain in her expression that I never noticed in real life. Over the course of some 50-odd years of photographs (she was 59 at her death), virtually all of them had a deep sense of pain behind the eyes. It's odd how someone can love us enough that their love can blind us to their internal pain... and only in retrospect do we see the pain.

    This has made me really push to strive for getting past the "look into the lens and smile" syndrome... which leads only to a subject/camera connection (as opposed to a subject/taker connectionwith the camera only being used to "freeze time")... and to get past the "you guys just talk and I'll spray off some shots in order to capture the moment". I can see where, for me, a return to slower and more intimate means of capture might just help me to connect with my clients in way to see behind the eyes. For me, MF is one means to this, although 35mm could be used just as capably (as this is a means of working, not a camera choice).

    I'm not sure where I want to go with this, other than to say "hey guys, I'm back" and to let you all know that the insights I find in this forum are important to me. I'm in the midst of picking up an RZ system (always was my favorite) and am going to be selling off most of my 35mm stuff when I've completed my current 35mm-intensive obligations (weddings!) and picking up a p25+ in order support a deep love of shooting faces... maybe a tech cam later... but in the meantime, a simple kit for slowly and methodically shooting lovely headshots (one of my true loves in photography).

    I'd love to hear how some of you have come to value a slower means of working (maybe as it applies to MF?)... and if you, too, have experienced things in your life that have called your artistic direction into question, and eventually brought you "back to where you always wanted to be".

    Oh... and I'll be at LSU this fall finishing up a doctorate in Trumpet Performance where they are going to let me minor in photography (funny, huh) in support of my inclination for a mixture of my love for visual and aural arts.

    And all due to the introspection afforded by the loss of a loved one.

    Me and Mom... in 1979. One of the few photos in which she looks genuinely happy... a crappy scan of an old blurry polaroid. I love it:

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby

    You're going to get a lot of love here. I hope you can handle that.

    So sorry about your Mom.

    We go through life sometimes and then something happens that jerks us to what is real.

    I wish you the best going forward my friend.


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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back Shelby!

    Sorry to hear of your loss, that is tough for sure.

    I'll address this when I have some more time to put into my response:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post

    I'd love to hear how some of you have come to value a slower means of working (maybe as it applies to MF?)... and if you, too, have experienced things in your life that have called your artistic direction into question, and eventually brought you "back to where you always wanted to be".
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  4. #4
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Thanks Steve and Jack... really appreciate the sentiments. I've missed the discourse and friendly gab over here. Look forward to it again.

    This is pretty much the only forum (and used to the Sony forum when I shot that system) I'll take part in these days... precisely because the sense of camaraderie, even in heated moments, is so clear. Good bunch of folks.

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back Shelby, all the best to you.

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back Shelby!

    Sorry for your loss - but I have the feeling you are stepping into an important new part of your life, not only with your photography!

    All the best!

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back, Shelby. I'm sorry for your immense loss. You're among friends here, and I'm glad to see you return.

    Best wishes to you as you pursue new (and old) passions.

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Hi Shelby
    I'm really sorry about your mother - being bipolar is a terrible fate, something both my uncles probably suffered from (but died before diagnosis was quite so precise).

    But interestingly the loss of my father 2 years ago (after 88 fulfilled, useful and happy years) brought me to some photographic conclusions - but really rather different from yours.

    He was a fine photographer - he took a lot of images of the artist community in StIves in the 50's, 60's and 70's (From Barbara Hepworth to Patrick Heron to Terry Frost). By the time he died, he had made sure that all his 'important' work was properly archived, and went to the Tate, and other institutions. Most of the rest of his work is huge, and nobody will have the time to scan it or catalog it or whatever.

    Still, the point of this was that looking through his work I found that the decisive moments were not the ones imbued with thought and concentration, but those with serendipity, the pictures which exist because he had his OM2 ready to grab them, and the intelligence and reflexes to grab them.

    My current ambition is twofold:
    1. to reduce my 50,000 library of photographs to something more like 500.
    2. to carry a little camera at all times, and to respond to reflex instincts rather than intelligent design.

    I have a kind of mantra:
    If a picture is interesting then nobody cares whether it is technically good
    If a picture is not interesting then nobody cares at all.

    Of course, I'm not using this as an excuse not to strive for technical excellence . . . just that it should be a secondary pursuit after that of capturing the moment.

    Looking through the iconic photographs of the last century really bears this theory out - pictures are badly exposed, out of focus . . . whatever, the point is the moment, and the photographer's understanding of that moment, not the fact that they are technically excellent.

    Unfortunately making a picture 'interesting' is a great deal more difficult than making it 'technically good'

    Anyway Shelby - it's great to have you back.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Nice to see you Shelby and so sorry about your loss. Your among friends here that is something that you can count on. I know myself going through a difficult time with family health here in this residence and i look forward to this place with the great folks that come here. Be well my friend
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Hi Shelby,
    I feel sorry for your Mother.
    I am just in the situation to loose my grandfather and with all sadness I ask myself why do sad things have to happen to make us think and focus about the "real" important things in life.

    Regarding your question,
    I am torn between two ideas and approaches:
    1) on one side I am trying to get awy from constructed and composed images and to shoot more intuitive what I feel and see. This means I need a camera which allows me to take the image fast without thinking much about the camera but focusing on the situation.

    2) the other thing is to really take time, to not shoot 100 or 1000 images a day and afterwards select the best ones, but to only take 10 and to prepare those 10 in a way that they come out all good.

    Actually I do both. And I enjoy both.
    The second slower way of taking images has one additional thing for me: Besides the final result image the process of taking the image is nearly meditation for me. It slows me down in a elswhere fast and stressfull world.

    I think it is interesting to browse threw the image threads in the MF-forum vs the small sensor forum vs 4/3 vs Nikon/Canon.
    IMO looking at those images and the different scenes and subjects tells a lot of the (different) ways of taking images.

  11. #11
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Neat replies everyone... and I continue to appreciate the graciousness and kindness. Much love, all.

    Hey Jono... I do agree with you completely, on one level. Let me throw a bit of a twist into this.

    Losing mom, for me, has meant to learn to appreciate the temporal so, so much more. I now think it's what truly makes us human... realizing that all we have is what we are doing in this moment. Realizing that what were are doing now will be gone in the next moment... and so on. Learning to love that temporary-ness goes beyond trying to hold onto memories in photographs.

    Going through this sudden and unexpected loss has turned my faith in capturing "memories" on it's head. The things I find myself appreciating (as much) aren't the captured moments, but instead the intangible memories no camera can hope to capture. I look through those 5 decades of photos of mom and surely do get something good from it. Sure, the photos can bare out what was happening at a specific time and surely can help jog my memory of specific visible traits associated with mom (and in turn, bringing back some intangibles as well). There are indeed some intense feelings wrapped up in those photos, but not nearly as intense as my personal memories with her (and my other loved ones)

    But... in the end... it's not enough for me as a photographer to just be ready. I see so many people wanting me to capture moments in a compelling and thoughtful way... and I'll continue to try. But I believe that being more personally involved in the moment of the capture is now just as important to me. I think that's been missing for me. And that's just me.

    Make no mistake, this isn't about technical excellence. In a way, you are doing the same thing I'm extolling by always carrying a camera. You are "setting up" the chance to capture a moment as it happens. I'm just interested in doing it a different way.

    I've not been clear... in that, for me, it's wanting to create a much stronger connection between ME and the subject (which is not obviously photojournalist). Maybe hope for more serendipity myself, but being so involved. It's about ME being more involved in the moment, as I want the moments I'm involved in to be more meaningful. Kinda like those moments I remember between me and mom. For me, slowing down again and doing what my artistic heart calls me to do means probably spending a lot of time in the near future shooting MF. It means using a cable release and looking my subjects in the eye as I shoot.

    It means a glass of wine before the shoot, followed by a bit of coffee afterwards.

    Not sure that's any clearer, but it's what I feel compelled to explore these days.

  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I have a kind of mantra:
    If a picture is interesting then nobody cares whether it is technically good
    If a picture is not interesting then nobody cares at all.
    This is an interesting mantra, Jono. I'm not surprised by it coming from you and your fine image-seeing ability.

    What I will put forward is this... at this time in my life it's not always about the image content itself. I'm hoping that a more deliberate and WAY more involved image taking process will bare out photos that are interesting and have a sense of serendipity... but via my involvement. I won't be capturing a serendipitous moment that I'm not a part of... I'll be capturing a serendipitous moment that I'm a part of (even as the image taker).

    Avedon's portraits had an interesting-ness that were all part of a constructed reality... but his interaction and inventiveness overcame what some describe as contrived.

    Who knows where it'll go.

    Maybe a year from now I'll be shooting a holga

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Hi Shelby,

    Just let my thoughts scroll down after reading your post :

    I lost my father in an accident at the age of 20. While I was watching him liveless on his bed I kept asking myself what could be that difference between life and death. He was looking the same there was just a very tiny and fragile link missing and that made the big difference. Our life is just a hair, that thin and breakable.
    I was already a contemplative, then it gets worse.... to my benefit. I know how to appreciate time and I am able to do nothing all day long beside grasping my surrounding, smell, cool or heat, light, color, wind, sounds.... all these are more than enough to fulfill my day.... and if someone scratch my back, what a wonderful day !

    So no surprise I am unable to snap a roll of even 24 pictures within a day, and with my small P&S it is the same. I am so used to see what's around me, I need a lot to dare keeping it on to a pict... well I could fire for the tactile pleasure to trigger the buttons like a kid. I have many long periods of time without taking any picture now, I mean I won't feel frustrated of "missing" a snap.
    But age come to play as well, once you enter a bunch of decades things lose their power they had before.
    When I see a beautiful light for example, before I would have turn and twist to try to fix it on film and get may be unsatisfied if I didn't success, now I whatch first so I am not missing it.

    I would say don't crack your head too much with planification of what to do or choose, if you look at your camera and have no idea of what doing with it at the moment, may be a beer, a book or a bicycle ride will do !

    A photo could be good or bad, this is secondary, the main point is "did I enjoy making it"? Pulling the trigger in itself can be a thrill, so the camera has a certain importance to me, I like this physical relationship. I believe all of us here are a bit like that, we speak so much about cameras

    Keep coming here, we appreciate.

    Michel

  14. #14
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by sinwen View Post
    I would say don't crack your head too much with planification of what to do or choose, if you look at your camera and have no idea of what doing with it at the moment, may be a beer, a book or a bicycle ride will do !

    A photo could be good or bad, this is secondary, the main point is "did I enjoy making it"?
    Michel... this really is a better way of saying what was at the heart of my post... being in the moment! Savoring everything that is going on around. I made the distinction (not nearly as nicely as you did!) of putting it in the context of being during a shoot.

    You made a better one... in the context of life!

    Thanks!!!

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    This is an interesting mantra, Jono. I'm not surprised by it coming from you and your fine image-seeing ability.

    What I will put forward is this... at this time in my life it's not always about the image content itself. I'm hoping that a more deliberate and WAY more involved image taking process will bare out photos that are interesting and have a sense of serendipity... but via my involvement. I won't be capturing a serendipitous moment that I'm not a part of... I'll be capturing a serendipitous moment that I'm a part of (even as the image taker).

    Avedon's portraits had an interesting-ness that were all part of a constructed reality... but his interaction and inventiveness overcame what some describe as contrived.

    Who knows where it'll go.

    Maybe a year from now I'll be shooting a holga
    Well, with respect to my Mantra, 'interesting' is a big word, it's not necessarily relevant to content, it could be composition, or colour, or whatever.
    I rather envy you your attempt at 'involvement' though - something I've long since realised is that those of my personal photographs that ARE 'interesting' are always the ones which have resulted from an immediate response rather than a considered thought process. You know, you see something, grab a shot, then think about it and do it properly - round here it's always the grab shot that works!

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

  16. #16
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    (snip) something I've long since realised is that those of my personal photographs that ARE 'interesting' are always the ones which have resulted from an immediate response rather than a considered thought process.
    Just shows that I have to think about everything a lot more than you do, lol!!!

    My best as well,
    Shelby

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back Shelby. I haven't conversed much with you on this forum, but I have followed your posts and admired your ability to photograph people. It is ironic that you would choose to create this thread today as I have just returned from a funeral of a beloved uncle. He lived a full life and his passing, while rather quick, was not that unexpected due to cancer. Anyway, my point is that I completely understand the introspective evaluation of ones own life that comes out of the passing of a loved one.

    I am very sorry for your loss of your mother - you were clearly very close to her. It is a credit to your being that you have taken such a tragic/emotional event and used it in a positive manner.

    Mark

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby, your initial post is a very fine essay. Thank you. I think we all see/feel some of what you are experiencing, but you express it so well.

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother.

    As for carefully considered shots vs serendipity, it's all been said by you and Jono and I think you're both right. I strive for contemplative photography because I appreciate my surroundings so much more that way - it's partly a spiritual thing. But I must admit that some of my best pix were spur-of-the-moment grab shots.

    Go figure! But be well,
    Bill

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back, Shelby.
    Those of us who have experienced the human condition in all its glory and pain understand and deeply.
    -bob

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Hi Shelby,

    What you wrote was so beautifully written, as an Englishman I'm horrified sometimes when I see and hear the world bastardize our beautiful language just for speed and laziness. Your gentle, thoughtful and humble words are wonderful, like a great photo, I was immediately 'there' with you as I read each paragraph, thankyou for that and you are very brave to share the recent turmoil in your life.

    As many others said, you are loved here and no doubt loved by your children, be strong for them, find some positives and set a great example of how to conduct life after death.

    I for one am so glad to see you actually doing something to change your life and move it forward, congratulations... making yourself shoot a landscape a day is awesome, i hope you can get back to it..

    Glad you're back.

    Steve

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby,
    Your Mother looks very beautiful and happy in the photo. I can see why you treasure it.
    You have my sympathy.
    Welcome back.

  22. #22
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Thanks all for the continued sentiments and condolences. I'm sure I'll miss someone, but know that all your comments are appreciated.

    Bill... thanks. "Spiritual" is probably a good word to describe what I'm wanting to find in my photos again.

    Steve... thanks for the kind words and positive thoughts. I love writing, even if it is a messy post in an online forum. I'm glad I could give at least some sense of what it's been like to go through some of the last 90 days.

    Cindy... thanks. She was a beautiful woman and I do miss her terribly. Luckily, time is healing wounds and I count myself lucky that I've had no guilt as to her passing. She and I had a great relationship so I mostly left with good memories (and of course the sorrows of what could have been). All in all, I'm in a decent place these days, all things considered!

    Dale, Peter, CMB... thanks as well.

    I hope my OP didn't come across as extolling some "right" way to photograph... my intention was to show how I've come to a realization that there may be a "right" way for me, only at this point in my life, that I want to delve into... one that involves being more involved in the process, and being more involved with the subject such that my role is less passive within the confines of a photographer and his (portrait) client... less "fly on the wall" and more "partner".

    I think I said earlier... I like to think of it as wine and hors d-oeuvres before the shoot, easy going conversation and illumination during, coffee afterwards... hopefully compelling photographs in the end.

    (this all in the confines of a single photographer and his subject... probably a headshot client or a landscape)

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby,
    I'm glad you've come back to the forum. I recently thought of you wondering what you were up to. Sorry to hear about your loss. On the flip side, I think it is great that you are able to head back to school and work and pursue the activities you love. My best wishes to you and your family and I look forward to watching for you daily landscape postings.

    terry

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby,
    Welcome back and sincerest condolences on your loss. My father is currently suffering pre-frontal dementia which will ultimately be fatal as it causes his health to slowly deteriorate. My siblings and I are trying to prepare for it, but one can never truly be prepared enough and not lose one's humanity.

    Regarding your desire, I can truly relate to you as I had realized that a couple of years ago when I first got a DRF. It slowed the pace of my photography down allowing me, as a photographer, to become more involved in the crafting of a shot. Like Jono, I too am always armed with a camera at my side. Medium format digital is a goal for me now as well.

    The ability to truly "capture a moment" is a nebulous combination of devotion, skill, lots of luck and most of all the instinct to recognize it. I can happen to anyone, but realizing it and consciously striving to do it is what transforms a photographer into another HCB.

    I'll stop now, but know that you are among friends.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Shelby, I'm so sorry for your loss. My sister-in-law and my cousin both struggle with depression and I worry about them often. Sometimes no amount of kind words or medication can lift their spirits. Like your mom, their eyes tell a story different from their forced smiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    I'd love to hear how some of you have come to value a slower means of working (maybe as it applies to MF?)... and if you, too, have experienced things in your life that have called your artistic direction into question, and eventually brought you "back to where you always wanted to be".
    At this point I have to apologize in advance for rambling. I have thoughts on the subject, that really only pertain to me, but they are far from concrete.

    Photos stir the soul and great photos stir the soul deeply by conjuring feelings, thoughts, emotions, memories. They are nothing on their own.

    I think writing off a camera as 'just a tool' is either naive or perhaps wishful thinking. What it took for me to really grasp this was listening to an interview with Ira Glass from NPR about story telling. Asked about the biggest mistake that new reporters/interviewers/storytellers make, Glass responded that they often try to pretend that they are not part of the story. The interviewer is the conduit of the story and their experiences, beliefs, prejudices and curiosities shape and color the story.

    Photographers make the photograph, but the camera is the conduit that shapes it. Imagine photographing a football game with a 1-series Canon and 600/4 versus an 8x20 view camera. Same photographer, totally different resulting images. Each type of camera at some level dictates a flow or process. This was a hard lesson when I bought a Fuji 6x9 thinking it was somewhere between MF and LF image quality in a 35 mm package. Because it handled like a big 35 mm camera, my photos didn't look much different from what I would shoot with a SLR, where my photos with a Hasselblad, Mamiya RB or a 4x5 with a roll film back (same 6x9 as the Fuji) were very different. I shot a number of rolls of film with the Fuji before I sold it, but I can only think of three shots that were anything more than big 35 mm shots.

    I don't feel that my people pictures (not head shots, mind you) shot with your old Sony lack intimacy or connection (though I would prefer almost anything with a waist level finder), but I feel that my landscape shots do. One of the main reasons I always want to add a 4x5 system for landscape work is the hunt for the same 'partner in the process' that you are looking for with portraits. It's not about image quality, it's the qualities of the image that count. I strive to take photos that make you feel like you are there, like you can just step into them, or if it is a person or animal that you can see their soul. A great picture makes you feel, not just see.

    I was introduced to medium and large format photography in an advertising agency and a photographer who was willing to let me tag along. Anytime you are woking in a studio on a shot with multiple packs and multiple pops on some of the lights, shooting 4x5, you have to be considered and methodical. This was a stark contrast to the type of photography I have always done which might best be described as landscape photojournalism -- a small Nikon FM with a couple small lenses and running shoes. I always approached sports photography just like studio photography, but perhaps it is because there is a lot of time waiting, thinking, planning between the action.

    What it took for me to slow down was a few things. First, I realized that I needed two discrete systems -- one fast and one slow. I bought the Leica DMR trying to find a single do-it-all system. It had medium format quality (overall image quality, not necessarily God's gift to pixel peeping) in a smaller size. What it really turned out to be was the wrong tool for the job most of the time. Most of the time I need light and fast. However, when I have time to make a photograph what I really want is a big piece of glass to stare at. Sure I would set the Fuji up on a tripod and expose a big piece of film, but I was composing on a tiny rangefinder. When I put a DSLR on a tripod I scan the ground glass to make sure the composition is balanced and press the button, then take a quick glance at the screen and histogram. Even when I am being slow the process is pretty fast.

    For me, composing an image on ground glass with both eyes open is a different mental process that results in a discussion between me and the landscape where I ask what story it wants to tell today and let it guide and shape the image. A far cry from scanning the viewfinder and pushing a button.

  26. #26
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    (Mods... feel free to move this to another forum if needed. I felt it would resonate here, maybe.)

    I'd love to hear how some of you have come to value a slower means of working (maybe as it applies to MF?)... and if you, too, have experienced things in your life that have called your artistic direction into question, and eventually brought you "back to where you always wanted to be".
    Hi Shelby,

    Actually personal traumatic experiences were at rim of lead me into to photography, plus living overseas and spending $ on travels. My thought was with cost of travels, thus why not get a serious camera to capture it with? Of course, one need learn a tad of photography also. Art is a pleasure (most my work is as an engineer). In 2003 I went around the world with my camera. That was my grand voyage into serious with photography, and... in learning to see, experiencing and seeing the world with my camera. My focus was: Landscape photography and people living traditional lives. This remain the essence of my passion in photography. Being out at a grand scene relieves my senses. Not only that, it has made me climb mountains, camp in Africa, walk on glacier, across desert, rain forest, camping with barely no English speaking on a mountain in China, visiting poor people in a village in remote India, the head munk at a temple in Angor Wat for a conversation etc. All these have touched my life. Perhaps I am lucky, I could have died in an accident in 1998, and seeing life with a camera is really wonderful! And indeed, while landscapes stay put in rapid changing light, people require contact for good result. And all this has touched and put added value to my life; experiences, seeing life itself --- in people and nature.

    Traumatic experiences are difficult, yet no matter how we feel and how they cling, we must go on, life goes on and must go on. Photography is a wonderful means to put our feeling to it.

    Slow? My camera when going around world was Nikon F100 35mm slides. Those DSLRs and point and shoot are difficult to me because technology runs them. With my Leaf on AFD3 is slower, albeit tad heavy to carry around. I like simple and tad slow. I still shoot film also; 617 and 4x5, and a little 6x7 in Mamiya 7. Slow is good. It makes you plan and think. The result is better images! Is it not simple and same as has always been? All it takes is one shot.

    One of my very favorite subject is now my wife. We married last November. And... in landscape... seeing the world and when traveling distant spectacular and exotic places... has yielded me to see a new favorite place for my photography: home where I grew up, very local nature in Sweden where I grew up and know the area!

    Best of luck, and the camera is a wonderful tool. Yet... far more than technology; with it we can experience and See, and with it also with a feeling for our subjects, albeit our interpretation of them.

    Regards
    Anders

  27. #27
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Shelby,
    I'm glad you've come back to the forum. I recently thought of you wondering what you were up to. Sorry to hear about your loss. On the flip side, I think it is great that you are able to head back to school and work and pursue the activities you love. My best wishes to you and your family and I look forward to watching for you daily landscape postings.

    terry
    Thanks Terry... I feel so loved here, lol!!! Let me take a moment to say something OT, I've been lurking for a week or so and have really enjoyed your work lately... especially the MF stuff.

    My "daily" landscapes may not be so "daily, moving forward, but I am gonna keep after it.

    Peace,
    Shelby

  28. #28
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by etrigan63 View Post
    Shelby,
    Welcome back and sincerest condolences on your loss. My father is currently suffering pre-frontal dementia which will ultimately be fatal as it causes his health to slowly deteriorate. My siblings and I are trying to prepare for it, but one can never truly be prepared enough and not lose one's humanity.

    ... I'll stop now, but know that you are among friends.
    Let me offer my thoughts your way, then... I'm watching my mother-in-law go through the final stages of dealing with her mother's worsening Alzheimer's disease, and I actually count myself lucky (in a twisted way) in that I won't have to deal with watching my Mom (possibly) slowly lose identity and function, and ultimately their life. I'm not sure which way is worse. You have my thoughts and well wishes, Carlos.

    Yeah... "the moment" is such a nebulous concept. I probably shouldn't have used it, lol ... but I think what ultimately counts, for me, is being in touch with what makes me the effective, artistically, moving forward.

    My best, Carlos.
    Shelby

  29. #29
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    I think writing off a camera as 'just a tool' is either naive or perhaps wishful thinking. What it took for me to really grasp this was listening to an interview with Ira Glass from NPR about story telling. Asked about the biggest mistake that new reporters/interviewers/storytellers make, Glass responded that they often try to pretend that they are not part of the story. The interviewer is the conduit of the story and their experiences, beliefs, prejudices and curiosities shape and color the story.
    Ah... exactly the sentiment I was meaning to express in my earlier post. I wasn't so much talking about what, when, or where I was going to take my photos... but how I was going to envision my part in the process... and then act upon that vision.

    It's not about image quality, it's the qualities of the image that count. I strive to take photos that make you feel like you are there, like you can just step into them, or if it is a person or animal that you can see their soul. A great picture makes you feel, not just see.
    This is also something I see missing in my work lately... and I know I'm being picky here. Everything has, for me, felt disconnected and unprepared up to this point. I'm not a landscape photographer, so I have much work to go in that arena... but even with pretty substantial experience shooting people and events I've rarely that my photographs have that special something extra that draws you into the photo... that "seeing behind the eyes" quality.

    ...I ask what story it wants to tell today and let it guide and shape the image. A far cry from scanning the viewfinder and pushing a button.
    Exactly.

    Thanks Bill... much appreciated.
    Shelby

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Here is a shot I want to share with you. My 12-yr old daughter took this shot for photography class (I'm her teacher) and i feel that it has captured "a moment". There's nothing awe-inspiring about the shot, it's just a little girl pulling on her socks, but I feel it captured "the moment" in an HCB sort of way.

    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

  31. #31
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Traumatic experiences are difficult, yet no matter how we feel and how they cling, we must go on, life goes on and must go on. Photography is a wonderful means to put our feeling to it....

    ....It makes you plan and think. The result is better images! Is it not simple and same as has always been? All it takes is one shot.

    One of my very favorite subject is now my wife. We married last November. And... in landscape... seeing the world and when traveling distant spectacular and exotic places... has yielded me to see a new favorite place for my photography: home where I grew up, very local nature in Sweden where I grew up and know the area!
    Regards
    Anders
    Neat thoughts and stories, Anders. You and I have similar thoughts on many things, with exception to the fact that I've never had the $$$ to travel the world

    I do find, as I move forward, a great fascination with things local and maybe mundane. There's so much compelling stuff we miss, visually, in our everyday lives.

    Thanks for the anecdotes and well-wishes.
    Shelby

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    I mentioned earlier that I'd come back to this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post

    I'd love to hear how some of you have come to value a slower means of working (maybe as it applies to MF?)... and if you, too, have experienced things in your life that have called your artistic direction into question, and eventually brought you "back to where you always wanted to be".
    I'm not going to go into the depth I originally planned, so here is a simple summary:

    Generally speaking, my love for photography was born from the therapeutic nature of the entire process. Through it, I can temporarily escape from my everyday real-world problems, and attempt to express myself -- or more accurately, express my more ideal version of the world -- through images.

    And for me, working slow is definitely a significant component for the therapeutic aspects, and possibly why I migrated to landscape. But IMO MF gear is not mandatory to achieve it; placing a DSLR on a tripod and eliminating zooms from your bag will probably suffice. Finally, the full benefit is manifested for me when one of my images brings some joy to another's life.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Generally speaking, my love for photography was born from the therapeutic nature of the entire process. Through it, I can temporarily escape from my everyday real-world problems, and attempt to express myself -- or more accurately, express my more ideal version of the world -- through images.
    Cheers,
    Jack, I think this is true for many of us... I know it is for me.

    Shelby,

    Welcome back and I'm so very sorry for the pain you're going through. It's good that you have friends here to share your thoughts with.

  34. #34
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Some of these questions for me are hard to answer and the reason why is I really have been a working Pro since 18 years old and now 53 with only 1 real break or different job I did for a couple months. So for me it really is my life and style of life and don't or can't reference anything else. Sure I did a 16 year corporate gig in the middle of it all but I was the chief photographer for a Fortune 100 company at the time but I still was a photographer and worked my butt off shooting and traveling the globe. Obviously so many here have a different background or working career that photography is there passion which i find very very refreshing and maybe why i enjoy teaching it so much is you folks are like sponges that soak this all up in heaping spoonfuls. From me that is such a joy to see but from me it is my life and it is a daily growing event and i learn as well from all of you. I guess to maybe summarize what I feel for folks like Shelby is don't ever lose the passion. You just don't know how rewarding that is to oneself and to your personal being. From someone that does this by the minute it is so very refreshing to see and i get my joy from watching all of you folks. Honestly in all truth as co owner of this forum maybe one of the smartest moves I made was help create this place. This is my joy right here because i get to share my lifelong career.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  35. #35
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Some of these questions for me are hard to answer and the reason why is I really have been a working Pro since 18 years old and now 53 with only 1 real break or different job I did for a couple months. So for me it really is my life and style of life and don't or can't reference anything else. Sure I did a 16 year corporate gig in the middle of it all but I was the chief photographer for a Fortune 100 company at the time but I still was a photographer and worked my butt off shooting and traveling the globe. Obviously so many here have a different background or working career that photography is there passion which i find very very refreshing and maybe why i enjoy teaching it so much is you folks are like sponges that soak this all up in heaping spoonfuls. From me that is such a joy to see but from me it is my life and it is a daily growing event and i learn as well from all of you. I guess to maybe summarize what I feel for folks like Shelby is don't ever lose the passion. You just don't know how rewarding that is to oneself and to your personal being. From someone that does this by the minute it is so very refreshing to see and i get my joy from watching all of you folks. Honestly in all truth as co owner of this forum maybe one of the smartest moves I made was help create this place. This is my joy right here because i get to share my lifelong career.
    Guy,

    Besides summer jobs to pay for my bicycle then my first Rollei 6x6 & Nikon F, I started with a friend as a wedding photographer. We knew each other since our first day of school. He was the one who got the job under his name. After a couple of months, he didn't give me a penny, so I had to stop simply because I needed incomes.
    But the experience was positive in the sens that these few months made me realized that photography as being my profession would kill my passion.
    So I went doing something else and could travel the world while I was young.... with a camera for my pleasure.
    As of today, this friend is still what I call "a grocery photographer" behind his counter all day waiting for clients then running after weddings the week-end.
    How greatful I am he didn't pay me
    All my life (I am 59) I could dream "photography" and still with all of you here, watching and reading about cameras I will never be able to afford.

    Michel

  36. #36
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Well like anything else sometimes it is just a job no question for many many shooters. I have been lucky in that regard not stuck to one aspect of it and one reason i never tried to specialize. I like the diversity and again I went through many phases of burn out like anyone else. It is a job but for me it still gives me immense pleasure. The trick is keeping the passion alive . This forums helps me do that to be really honest otherwise i am alone just doing my thing . Here i get to spend time with people i enjoy and share. I know we have a lot of folks that just read here and never post. i think it is great but i also think they need to jump in even if they think they have nothing to add they do and just being part of the family here is good for the heart. I'm not saying that because I own the place but it is good to share this passion we all enjoy. More important to me is i made a ton of friends and Jacks friendship which is extremely dear to me came from forums. i know for many here this a passion away from work and can separate the two. I think that is just awesome. Some days obviously i wish i could. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Well some people make a living from their passion so they never feel at work, how lucky they are, it seems you are one of them Guy.
    That's a real pleasure to hear.

  38. #38
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Hi Shelby. Truly sorry to hear of your loss, as I can relate.

    I lost my Father at the end of last summer after a long and horrible illness. My father was a Detroit Firefighter, and to pick up a shadow of man in my arms who once carried people out of burning buildings, so we could change his paddings, is both a humbling and revealing experience.

    Throughout an ever changing life, the thread of creative continuity binds the years together. Your experience has led you to a new chapter to explore, as has mine. Go with it, and try not to over think it ... just absorb it as a renewal. It is a very human reaction to renew when something else you loved comes to an end.

    Be well,

    -Marc

  39. #39
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    What a wonderful thread.
    Bill

  40. #40
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    ...my love for photography was born from the therapeutic nature of the entire process. Through it, I can temporarily escape from my everyday real-world problems, and attempt to express myself -- or more accurately, express my more ideal version of the world -- through images....

    ...Finally, the full benefit is manifested for me when one of my images brings some joy to another's life.

    Cheers,
    Thanks Jack... this is such a nice thought. I just posted some wedding images on my blog. Pretty mundane stuff actually. But the couple called last minute, when they had planned only to have a ceremony on vacation and the parents said otherwise... and we got together and shot their e-session, ceremony, and a short post-ceremony session in the same day. They loved the images.

    It is easy, from a therapeutic standpoint, to think only of yourself.

    Seeing someone else receive joy from your images, surely, is a step further.

    Thanks for the thoughts,
    Shelby

  41. #41
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Obviously so many here have a different background or working career that photography is there passion which i find very very refreshing and maybe why i enjoy teaching it so much is you folks are like sponges that soak this all up in heaping spoonfuls. From me that is such a joy to see but from me it is my life and it is a daily growing event and i learn as well from all of you. I guess to maybe summarize what I feel for folks like Shelby is don't ever lose the passion. You just don't know how rewarding that is to oneself and to your personal being. From someone that does this by the minute it is so very refreshing to see and i get my joy from watching all of you folks. Honestly in all truth as co owner of this forum maybe one of the smartest moves I made was help create this place. This is my joy right here because i get to share my lifelong career.
    Guy, this is what makes this place different... the fact that you and Jack get such pleasure in seeing everyone else's passion and growth. The fact that you guys, and many others here, have hearts for sharing says a ton. I know that since I've been off the face of the earth for the last three months... this is the one place I would occasionally check up on. It took awhile to get me legs back under me and find the energy to come back... but this is THE place I've looked forward to, even if only for the camaraderie (although in reality it's for so much more).

    What's wild is that I STILL don't own a back, and I feel like it's perfectly fine to interject here, lol.

    Guy, I'm just glad that YOU haven't lost the passion. THAT would be sad, my friend.

  42. #42
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Shelby. Truly sorry to hear of your loss, as I can relate.

    I lost my Father at the end of last summer after a long and horrible illness. My father was a Detroit Firefighter, and to pick up a shadow of man in my arms who once carried people out of burning buildings, so we could change his paddings, is both a humbling and revealing experience.

    Throughout an ever changing life, the thread of creative continuity binds the years together. Your experience has led you to a new chapter to explore, as has mine. Go with it, and try not to over think it ... just absorb it as a renewal. It is a very human reaction to renew when something else you loved comes to an end.

    Be well,

    -Marc
    Thanks Marc... and my belated condolences to you as well. I never thought the loss of a parent could be so debilitating for such a long time. Boy, was I wrong. It's still and everyday tragedy at this point, but time is beginning to heal the wounds, thank goodness.

    Renewal it is... and I am certainly ready for it. Damned the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!



    My best,
    Shelby

  43. #43
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    I know this seems strange, but I've had someone pm me and actually want to see a pic of mom from later times... as an illustration as to how a photo can sometimes illuminate the pain someone might be feeling even though we never noticed it in real life.

    I find this to be a really meaningful request... and thought I'd post a photo of mom... about a month before her death. Physically, she was already having some troubles with several things (none of them life threatening)... but what comes across most clearly to me is the strain behind the smile. The small child is my youngest son, and this was during his 4th birthday celebration. My mom completely idolized this child, and yet you can actually see her straining to appear happy.

    I did not notice this at the time. It's hauntingly mundane photo... but I find it illuminates the point that the camera doesn't lie. On the other side, it's meaningful to me as it paints a true picture of what mental illness can do to the soul. As you can imagine, mental illness awareness and suicide prevention are now causes I champion whole-heartedly. I have a photo project in the works already dealing with bipolar and suicide...

    Mom... i believe November 4th, 2009. If this picture post is disturbing or seems out of line... someone please let me know and I'll pull it:


  44. #44
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Welcome back Shelby! I am so sorry for your loss, I am familiar (as others here) with your mum's illness and I know how hard it can be both living with it and having to live without someone dear lost to it. You got great messages and wisdom from all the previous posters in this thread, so it's difficult for me to add something meaningful to all that has been said - let me just say that I am with you, and am glad to see you back!
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: (OT and Long) MF: death and a return to "the moment" for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    I did not notice this at the time. It's hauntingly mundane photo... but I find it illuminates the point that the camera doesn't lie. On the other side, it's meaningful to me as it paints a true picture of what mental illness can do to the soul. As you can imagine, mental illness awareness and suicide prevention are now causes I champion whole-heartedly. I have a photo project in the works already dealing with bipolar and suicide...
    Not mundane at all.It is revealing, and thus meaningful. We all see moments when we shoot - sometimes of people, and sometimes we are not quite sure what we saw. Photography gives us the chance to reflect, to consider and reconsider what the eye caught but might have otherwise been missed.

    While perhaps too close to look at now, it remains a good photo. Thank you for sharing.
    Last edited by Geoff; 30th March 2010 at 05:40. Reason: sentence

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