Tuesday, May 25, 2010

opposing views - photographically speaking

I've been experiencing an inner conflict with my photography recently. Not long ago, I purchased a new camera to serve as my primary "brush" to capture new images. When selecting the proper camera it is essential to choose one that provides the proper combination of resolution, image quality and low-light capability (as well as handling and for me, aesthetic appeal). Also there is the issue of buying the most technologically advanced camera available so it has some product life before newer, shinier technology is unveiled. Unfortunately, around the same time that I had received my new camera (a normally inspiring acquisition that sends me into a photographic frenzy), the Impossible Project began shipping its new PX100 film. As mentioned, technically the PX100 is a bad film. It lacks contrast and suffers from a lack of resolution. Used to its full advantage this film can produce some remarkably beautiful, dream-like images. So my new camera has languished as I have been extensively (and expensively) shooting with my 1972 Polaroid SX70 camera.

(Below is the same subject shot with PX100 film and my digital GF1 camera for comparison)

This week, as I await a credit from the Impossible Project for defective film, I have once again taken up my new camera. This has given rise to the inner conflict I opened with. I have been deliberately shooting "bad" images with the PX100 film for a few weeks and now must focus (forgive the bad pun) on producing images that do justice to the latest technology. While PX100 film images "suggest" the essence of the subject matter captured on its flawed photographic emulsion, the GF1 images should "pop" with the hyper-realistic resolution and color made possible by the newest generation of digital sensors. In shooting with the new camera, I have gone from the dream-like images of sleep to the harsh reality of the waking world. I'm not implying that beauty can't be found in reality (well, maybe I am when I use the word "harsh"), but it is a little more problematic. Honestly, I do become a little weary of seeing too many "dream-like" images and sometimes yearn for an identifiable "clean" crisp image. In the meantime, I grapple with myself as I try to move between both sets of photography. As Oscar Wilde once said, "Art is not a thing, it is a way."

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