The start of a new year, filled with fresh, new beginnings.
Lately, I find myself stepping back into my roots of photography, noticing what’s important, what makes a photograph in it’s raw state, doing 90% of the work in-camera.
I started out with film developed in a dark room. There’s nothing like the smell of the chemicals, the sound of the running water and the excitement of the image appearing in the developer that a computer can’t generate.
I had high hopes of attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after graduating high school but didn’t want to take out a loan. Living in northeast Illinois at the time I was able to afford several photography classes through the College of Lake County. It was here that my understanding of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed, the three pillars of photography, began to take form. The hours spent in the large darkroom was pure joy!
Recently over the past several months I’ve had conversations with other photographers about the transformation of digital imaging. There are some photographers out there that think film should be eliminated and photography should only be embraced in the digital form. I disagree. Just like any art, photography shouldn’t be limited but free to be expressed in whatever form the artist chooses, whether digital or film.
In 2011, I was able to purchase my first digital SLR camera. Though I could roll and process my b&w negatives with ease, my rural ranch home has limited space in the only room without windows to house a dark room. I also couldn’t find anywhere in South Dakota that could develop my color film like my favorite lab back in Lincolnshire, IL. Digital seemed to be a logical step for my growth and availability. When I first transitioned it was a learning curve and still is to some degree. I will admit I did get caught up in the over process of some of my early digital photographs. There is nothing wrong with extensive manipulation of digital photographs if that’s the look and desire the photographer has in mind but I have come to realize that is not my look or the goal I desire for my own work.
Going back to my film background, grounded in the darkroom, I want to keep my approach more natural while using digital technology. I don’t mind working in Lightroom to develop my RAW files but prefer to be spending more time outside, creating. This is the goal I have set for my photographs – creating while keeping to my roots.