Looking back, deciding to use vintage lenses was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It has rekindled my creativity, and it has forced me to engage what I am doing in a way I haven’t since 2005.
2005 was a watershed year. After two years of working as a professional, using only “program mode,” JD Milazzo and I had been forced to work in manual. If you aren’t familiar with program mode, it is the equivalent of fully automatic. Don’t think. Don’t touch the camera. Just point, and shoot. The only concession we’d made to “high tech photography” was our decision to save our images in the camera as raw. In case you aren’t familiar, there is a profound difference between raw and jpg. Jpg is 20% of what the camera “saw.” Smaller files, sure, but less detail and almost “unfixable” if something goes wrong. Raw images contain everything the camera “saw.” Larger images, more detail, higher quality, and a lot more work.
Any way, this post isn’t about raw versus jpg. It’s about the way back. So, back to 2005. That was the year JD photographed a model with her back to us in the old Burned Out House. I’d elected NOT to create an image of her because I’d get nothing. Well, I was wrong. That image became the foundation for all that we have ever done since. It is the basis for our NyghtVision Methodology. But, like everything else, sometimes ritual kills creativity, and that is what happened to me. I so internalized the Method, I lost my connection to what we were doing. Drifted into stone-cold emotionless instinct.
I’m sure I’m not the first professional to face the loss of passion. So, as I have noted before, it was time to reconnect or step away.
How do you reconnect? Hmmmm. Well, for me it was investing, as I noted in a previous post, in vintage lenses.
Not as easy as it might seem. After all, by stepping back in time, I was giving up things I’d long taken for granted. For example, auto focus. I am visually impaired. Could I even focus manually? I had no idea. Manually focusing also meant working more slowly. I had no idea how that would impact on my work or on my ability to emotionally connect.
As difficult as that was, well, challenging is a better word, post processing proved to be the most difficult transition. I can’t tell if it was me, the lenses, some other factor, for example, a change in my aesthetic sense…. No idea. But something was off. Not all the time. Just most of the time. Well, it seems whatever that was, I might be on the verge of getting past it. I think I’ve had to reconnect in every aspect of what I do, not just when the camera is in my hand. As these images suggest, I am may finding my way back…..