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Thread: in what things do we find satori?

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    in what things do we find satori?

    I've just browsed the forums for the latest photos made with Sony A7/A7r, Leica M Digital, Leica M Monochrom, Olympus E-M1, Fuji X, and a couple others. Stunning work in all of them, by about a dozen different folks.

    Yesterday I scanned 52 of my latest Polaroid/Impossible Project snaps. Yesterday evening we put on a Cinco de Mayo Festival for our friends and I shot another 21 Polaroid snaps of the revels. I'd be willing to wager that not a single one of these photos holds even the dimmest candle, technically, to what I looked at in the forums. But I find them satisfying, amusing, fun ... and even aesthetically pleasing anyway.


    Thomas - Guadalupe River Park 2014
    Polaroid SX-70 Sonar + Impossible Project 600 B&W

    The cameras are sure fun to use. I used the Polaroid SX-70 and SX-70 Sonar with IP 600 B&W and IP SX-70 B&W. When I get the subject and the light right, what comes out in my hand is a perfect print. No muss, no fuss. Exactly what my mind's eye had in mind.


    Shovels - Guadalupe River Park 2014
    Polaroid SX-70 Sonar + Impossible Project 600 B&W

    Why are we all so deeply, so intensely always looking for the better camera? Isn't what we have already good enough? Even if it's 42 years old and given up for dead by the popular trend?

    Time to take that deep breath and enjoy what things we have, put aside the debate on the new things to a sideline, and get on with enjoying our world, our photography, our friends and family. The stories of life—joy, sadness, amazement, wonder, tragedy, and hope—that surround us all the time.



    On Their Way: Harvey, Max, and Thomas - Guadalupe River Park 2014
    Polaroid SX-70 Sonar + Impossible Project 600 B&W

    Yes, there will be new things. I find little satori in them. In life, in art, in the stories that we have only this one chance to tell: That is where it lies.

    We only have the one time through.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    New tools are great because they are technically fascinating. However, old tools are often more fascinating. Photos are photos whatever they are created with, and most of the time, technical perfection only makes sense to me if somebody pays me to create that technical perfection.

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    If satori is "enlightenment" roughly speaking and I take one aspect of enlightenment to mean transformation, then photography does have the ability to transform awareness, or see the light so to speak. So it's before and after capture, seeing the light, and then having that vision transformed into a permanent object.

    so flame jacket on

    For me at least, I have not been able to allow digital photography to be "photography" in my mind, its is "imaging" and possibly more closely akin to "illustration" in its powers. Again, just me only, photography has to produce an object, there has to be a medium in which to work, and print aside, the data-bits are not a medium.

    Its the complete plasticity of digital that makes me feel like I am making nothing, the complete lack of cost of fixing an image- the lack of an actual canvas.

    Stephen Shore write in his book The Nature of Photographs that a photograph is 3-d object, on which a 2-d representation of a 3-d space is present, it has borders, a surface, etc. He is talking about the print obviously- but I take his object qualities as essential throughout- we are making things at all levels, and polaroid I think for many of us might have been a first experience with that thing-ness of photography- you press the button and out comes a thing- its the ultimate making experience, instant, fixed, you get success or failure.

    And it is transformative, the photograph transforms reality and either matches our perception (previsualization) or what I like better, surprises our perception and offers something akin but different. And we react to that transformation (edit).

    The digital stuff tends for me not do any of these things, it does not produce things, and it is not transformative- the results simply exist for us to move about with software sort of like a mixing board and then out pops something, something we have "fixed" usually (corrected), not something that was fixed by a medium (and is incorrect but better than if we had corrected it).

    These polaroids do it for me, they transform, they surprise, they are fixed, they are objects, they transform reality, they fix reality, they are a reality, but not reality.

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    Electrical potentials representing numeric values stored in a silicon dioxide matrix are just as "real" to me as silver grains clumped into a gelatin emulsion coated onto a bit of plastic, robert. I shoot with a digital camera in exactly the same way that I shoot with a film camera. It takes me a similar amount of thought, time, and effort to produce my prints, to produce a book. The digital recording medium and the manipulation of digital data is simply more versatile and consistent as a process.


    It's all good. I don't limit photography to the abstract notion that only a film recording medium is transformative. I get just as many surprises when I'm working a set of digital captures as I do when I press the button of the Polaroid.

    :-)

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    ...and I am a full on hypocrite, totally. I do have some digital work that I am proud of. And I scan negs instead of darkroom printing. But I find it very hard to work in the same way with digital as I do with film, and for reasons I can't explain (altho i try) I value the digital much less. I don't find them "fascinating" to borrow a leica word. Polaroids were one of the first things I did seriously, I found them fascinating, that sense of looking into something that held back as much as it revealed. Silver gelatin does that too for me. I can make technically great digital inkjets which after framing I can't really tell apart so much, but the surface depth of inkjets is just so vapour thin-they are more like book reproductions which is different, altho when I was getting into photography in the 80's-90's is all we had to share work apart from shows. So a beautifully printed book was something fascinating also.

    Maybe in time it will converge for me. But I love the feelings you are capturing with these images.

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    Hi Godfrey
    This stuff has been very much brought into focus recently with our little granddaughter and her tricky start. . .. . . . .

    . . . .it's taught me something my wife (Emma) knew years ago, which is that content is always always more important than quality. I can remember being really proud of shots of the children which were perfectly in focus and properly exposed . . . and Emma (quite rightly) preferred the ones which were out of focus but had soul.

    But I don't think the media matters much or the camera carries clout - it's only about the image, and that's a function of practice. I remember some fantastic black and white shots years ago by someone (name forgotten) on a crappy 2mp Kodak camera.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    Interesting work, Godfrey!
    Apologies in advance is this comes off as a dumb question... but is there a light leak in your SX70 or is the effect you're getting something you're adding post exposure? No need to divulge your technique. Just wondering if this is a function of the camera, film or your own process?

    Thanks,
    Lawrence

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    Quote Originally Posted by apocolibri View Post
    Interesting work, Godfrey!
    Apologies in advance is this comes off as a dumb question... but is there a light leak in your SX70 or is the effect you're getting something you're adding post exposure? No need to divulge your technique. Just wondering if this is a function of the camera, film or your own process?
    The specific rendering in these photos was a bit of an accident at first, I then started to fool with it to use the accident on purpose... :-)

    The Impossible Project B&W film for SX-70 is still light sensitive when it is first ejected from the camera. You're supposed to use a shield, or at least shield it with your hand, as it ejects to keep it from light in the first few moments, and let it process in the dark. IP sells a couple of gizmos to this effect, I usually use my hand. But for my first exposure that morning, I forgot and just fumbled around getting it into my pocket.

    When I saw what had happened ten minutes later, I liked the effect and started playing with letting a little exposure through my fingers, etc.

    The morning's shoot was a bit experimental ... SX-70 film is about ISO 80 while 600 series film is ISO 600. I wanted to see whether I could use the 600 film in the SX-70 as I like its rendering a little more (it has a slightly more brownish tone), and used it with the lighten/darken control set all the way to the darken side (about a -3EV adjustment). It turns out to work well, but you have no additional adjustment for when you might NEED a little darkening (like bright sunlight, or a bright subject against a dark surroundings). Because it's a bit more sensitive than the SX-70 film, it is easier to get the effect ... but SX-70 film would be easier to control it.

    Fun stuff indeed! I have two SX-70s and one SX-70 Sonar. Someone else has just sent me another SX-70 Sonar, which may be non-functional ... Let's see if I can make it work.

    G

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    Re: in what things do we find satori?

    Thanks Godfrey. Very interesting effect, and a nice bit of serendipity! Initially I thought it somewhat reminiscent of results I've seen with Holga cameras with their light leaks.

    Lawrence

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