Saturday, September 21, 2013

oblivion

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This post and the following posts are a confluence of odd events. Let me explain a bit.

Before this post I had written Matthew that I wouldn't tweet or photography or blog throughout the upcoming week because I was going on vacation and I was pretty much burned out, and I needed a "recharge." But as life would have it, my resolve died rather quickly. Matthew had just written a review of his new Ricoh GR, which I re-read after I wrote Matthew and it triggered a memory of my Sony NEX-5N with its pair of Sigma E-mount lenses, and so, inspired (or jealous, your call), I went back to where I had it all stored and pulled it all out and started to drive around with it. I always carry a camera with me in the Prius, specifically the Olympus E-M5, but I hadn't been getting much use out of it except for the Cloud Lab blimp. I figured what the hell, change up the gear and see what happens.

And then I ran across Lee Reamsnyder's "Your Eye Is Not A Camera" post (very good) and in that post is a link to Garry Winogrand. And when I read about Winogrand it took me back to my first intense fling with photography back in Atlanta during the 1970s and how I used to buy 100 ft rolls of Tri-X (it was dirt cheap back then) and load my own 35mm cartridges (a technique I taught daughter #2 some 35 years later, in the late 2000s for her college film photography class at FSU) and shoot roll after roll because I could and because I was in charge of the college darkroom (with free and nearly limitless supplies of developer and paper) and I had no life except around photography at the time.

Unlike Winogrand I didn't wait to develop my rolls. I developed them and made thousands of contact prints. I have exactly one slim three-ring volume of negatives in acid-free sleeves sitting on my shelf from that period, split between 35mm and 120/220 (I had a Mamiya 330 pro f as well at that time). I did all that photography at the time for the same reason Winogrand did, to see what Atlanta and its surrounding environment "would look like as photographs." One critical difference being that everybody remembers Winogrand but nobody (outside my immediate family) remembers me.

And it re-opened, triggered in part by Matthew's 5Kphoto project (long finished and inspired in part by me he says) this deep upwelling to photograph, and all of a sudden I found myself with the Sony and acting like it was the 1970's all over again, photographing around Orlando just to see what it looks like photographed, like I'd never taken a single photograph before that point in time. And I'm going to be doing that for a while. After all, this is the digital age, and I have all the tools I need. And the whole world in front of me.

The title of this post is taken in part from the movie of the same name. What impressed me in the movie were the sweeping vistas (taken in Iceland) mixed in via special effects a buried New Your city. Utter desolation. That's what I feel driving around Orlando these days. The real beauty of the living landscape has long since been obliterated, covered over by the profoundly ugly works of man.

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Technical

Taken with the Sony NEX 5N and the Sigma 30mm f/2.8, with the 30mm wide open. This gives an equivalent 35mm PoV of 45mm, or nearly equivalent to 50mm, or 40mm for some. If you understand all this you're damned if you do, and if you don't you're damned if you don't. Oh, and the NEX 5N won a gold award from DPreview, which goes to underscore Matthew's point that my 5N "was new and shiny once, too."

4 comments:

  1. Very good and strong point, and the photos are the same.

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  2. Hi Bill. Interesting to read a little about Garry Winogrand on your blog. He's a huge inspiration to me. Hope all's well.

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  3. Hello, Hank! It's been a really long time. I just checked out your sites and I hope that all is continuing to go well with you up in and around Boston.

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