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Archive for September, 2012

That isn’t Photography

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

As an amateur photographer my role isn’t to denigrate other photographers as being more or less valid in their experimentation or practice. I just make and appreciate photographs. My current tools include a Nikon D90 DSLR, a Zenza Bronica ETRS, a Holga 120n and a (borrowed) 35mm Fujica ST705w – digital to analogue to low-fidelity.

The definition of photography, at its root, is the capturing of photons to create a picture. A photographer uses one of many existing techniques or technologies to capture photons that have bounced off the subject and environment to make a picture. By intention. By accident. Or by casual serendipity. On film. On plates. On paper. On tin or any number of surfaces.

A photograph is measured as valid by means other than aesthetic beauty. Yes, aesthetics and design principles are going to count but a valid photograph or a good photograph are as much to do with the photographer’s intention and the surrounding context. All good photographs aren’t tack sharp. And all good photographs aren’t colour (or black and white). A snapshot in it’s context is as valid as a family portrait. A landscape is as valid as a still life or street. There are photographs I enjoy and others that repulse or offend me – but unless I have a reasonable critique to offer I definitely refrain from trying to pull others down or to dictate my opinions onto their personal practice.

I don’t care if you make photographs with a $50,000 camera or a $20 plastic camera. I don’t care if you use large format or you shoot 110 or Polaroid or a home made pinhole or even if you Instagram from the iPhone. The same goes for processes – digital, roll film, tintype, cyanotype or whatever floats your boat. That’s your deal… I will either enjoy those pictures or not.

It’s not my place as a photographer to tell anybody what is or isn’t valid photography. If they catch photons with a piece of rubber and a light (somehow) and it makes a blurry picture that lasts a minute then they have succeeded.

Fujica ST705w is an Under-rated 35mm

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

I’ve only put a half dozen films through the Fujica ST705w but it is an impressive 35mm single lens reflex camera that you might want to re-consider. The viewfinder is super-clear, the camera body is solid enough to knock out any muggers and the lens is very sharp.

Fujica ST705w front view

Fujica ST705w top view

Read the rest of this entry »

This Blog is my Photography Sketchbook

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Some people don’t understand the purpose of this website as my photography weblog. The paradigm we’re meant to follow is to hang out on Flickr and 500 Pixels with the in-crowd amassing large quantities of content, nurturing aspirations to greatness and following rock-star gurus with career motivational conferences that plot out paths to photography fame and fortune.

But I’m really not that kind of guy (or amateur photographer).

In a world where everybody carries a camera – and the still photograph is increasingly devalued – I like to make the occasional “well considered and theoretically sensible” photograph. I shoot some digital on my Nikon D90 – so I’m not a total film snob – but I also shoot 120 roll film on an old Zenza Bronica ETRS and a Holga 120n plastic camera, I shoot 135 film (aka 35mm) on a borrowed Fujica ST705w and I’ve recently acquired a Polaroid “Super Shooter” Land Camera that takes pack film. And no I don’t shoot film to be Richard Avedon or Cartier-Bresson… no. That’s just being a little absurd.

I make pictures to resolve the universe inside my own creative little head in a way that I don’t care to elaborate with strangers. And I do it in the same spirit that I talk to myself about whatever is going on inside that same skull; sing in the shower; skip rocks on water; or, enjoy washing dishes instead of employing a machine to wash them for me.

I enjoy making those pictures every now-and-then… nothing more, nothing less. I enjoy the process. I enjoy the magic of the slap of that Bronica’s large mirror in the street; or the way people look at me with a cheap Chinese plastic camera in a 21st Century suburban landscape.

I don’t aspire to shoot weddings. It would be a horror story in my particular end of the universe. I just like to create pictures. And every now and again I like to create something that might be worth framing and planting on my office wall for a few years. How’s that for ambition!

This weblog is purely a dynamic internet picture frame that I use as a passing sketchbook. It’s impermanent by design. Transient by nature. The entire concept is about a single image (or a limited number) being available on an ongoing basis before they fade back into our shared universal reality. It exists for the sake of creating a train window where you can all look in and see my miniature life as I look back outside to the landscape and the curious giant.

This is the world of Eadweard Muybridge – stopping time and destroying distance. What an incredible notion.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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