19 June 2010

Bringing Back Sam

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
- Og Mandino

(This is how I feel sometimes!)



I can honestly say that I have just about adapted to digital photography in the way that I did with film. I could spend seemingly endless hours in a darkroom. While in grad school, a few years back, I'd easily say 75% of my time was spent developing film and prints in a lab. I've clocked more than 24 hours straight...minus the bathroom break and food on more than a single occasion. My academic peers struggled to understand how I could expect to handle the various class projects, papers, and exams since scholastic endeavors were not my priority. Nonetheless I finished among the top in my class for both degree programs. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy. There were many sleepless nights and days, for that matter. I just did what I had to do. Photo was important to me and I had to have it. It may not have been the wisest thing, but it has paid off. I've learned so much more because of my film background and its helped me appreciate fine art photography to a greater degree. The above cartoon was really funny to me. Trust me, I can relate.

Model, Samantha

I had just begun to play with darkroom manipulations when I ended up moving to Lost Wages, I mean, Las Vegas. I was dismayed because I was just beginning to discover my own style in the darkroom. Inspired by Jerry Ulesmann, I began to see what was actually possible with film that I never imagined could be true. I liken it unto Roger Bannister's quest to be first to break the 4-minute mile. It was imagined impossible until he did it, after which several other runners accomplished the feat within the next few years. This was the sort of effect Ulesmann's work had on my own art. Granted, I don't place myself in a Ulesmann category, but you get the idea. As for digital, its taken me another almost 4 years to began to feel comfortable enough to pick up where I left off in film. I've been doing more of this style lately, basically playing around in Photoshop and figuring it out as I go. I can pretty much look at a shot and get a general idea of what I want to do with it, but lots of it is trial and error. I still feel that there is a slight loss in craftsmanship in digital photography. Partly that may be because in most cases, a craftsman used his/her hands to mold, build, or create something from raw materials. It had an aesthetic value that was created from the common and your style or technique differentiated your own work from similar creations of another craftsman. I guess the same can hold true even though your efforts are in effect, inputs into a computer. I've looked at enough artwork though, that I can in many cases, discern  and identify a particular photographer's work just by the style of the photograph.

Back Patio, Sam's Place, Las Vegas


These are shots of Samantha. Its been more than a year since I've worked with her last. Things got a little busy in her life and we just never touched base with one another again. I was very much surprised to get a call from her while I was in Tennessee to express an interest in continuing where we left off. Sam has actually become a photographer in her own right in since I last met her and we've discussed a few collaborations of our own. Its always good to talk to Sam. You always leave her feeling upbeat and having been inspired from great conversations. These are some preliminary imagery that I sort of took off running with. I got almost 200 images in this session and have edited around 30 or so. You can follow her happenings on her blog Anais Productions as she details her activities as a photog and model.

4 comments:

Joanie said...

You've done an amazing job with these images!

Digital photography is definitely an interesting art form. You can manipulate and transform an image just as you would a film image, but with different tools and, sometimes, you can take the art to a totally different level. I think it all comes down to vision and the desire to keep pushing boundaries.

You have that ability. Far beyond what I know how to do. As usual, I am in awe.

Photo Anthems.com said...

"I think it all comes down to vision and the desire to keep pushing boundaries."

...I think I like that, Joanie. Well put.

Karl said...

I worked in the darkroom quite a bit as well and found that it made me a better digital image editor. It taught me that images can be pushed to be better and forced me to want to learn the new technologies. I am no where as proficient in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop as I was in the darkroom, but by knowing what good images look like, I have basis to learn.

Good article.

Photo Anthems.com said...

The last half of the last sentence pretty much sums up everything I was trying to say. Dang, it took me hours over several paragraphs to articulate that.