Film photography and darkroom practices

Category: Thinking about Photography (Page 1 of 3)

Working the Landscape

Mention ‘landscape photography’ these days and many would immediately think of that style of photography that looks to the ‘beautiful’ or to the ‘sublime’ or to the ‘picturesque’ in our countryside. Perhaps we have Edmund Burke’s ‘A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful‘ to blame for that.

Romanticism in landscape photography is nothing new of course. 19th century Romantic photography provided a position which enabled a counter-reaction into Modernism.

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Zen and Photography

When I see the two words ‘Zen’ and ‘Photography’ together my in-built bullshit alarm starts to ring. An on-line search of the words ‘Zen’ + ‘Photography’ will retrieve ethereal long exposure landscapes and seascapes or articles about the need for an empty mind when pressing the camera’s shutter. And and so on. Empty indeed!

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Tunbridge Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church, North Dakota.

This photograph took some effort. The church is almost abandoned, lying about five miles west of Rugby, North Dakota. The problem was that the altar and its furniture was not quite square, so I moved the furniture to find symmetry around the figure of Jesus. Whereas I find asymmetry often pleasing, something that is supposed to be symmetrical but is a shade out gnaws at me at little.

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Five Women

Looking towards North Wales. Mamiya 6 Folder; HP5; Pyrocat HD.

I enjoyed taking this photograph. It is just a few minutes away from where I live. Five women had stopped to take in the scene with their sandwiches.

A view within a view type of picture, like we are eaves-dropping on a private moment. Of course, we are not secretly listening to a conversation; rather we are secretly sharing a vista with five women except ours is more inclusive in that it contains theirs. Or so it seems. Of course, there might have been someone behind me looking at me taking in five women taking in a scene.

Photography has this strange quality. It engenders the idea that the vista starts at you, with no cognizance of what is behind; that the world starts with you. But as we peer intently into the picture a doubt emerges… The world does not start anywhere. Like a photograph, this is a neat but necessary illusion.

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