Friday, July 11, 2014

Gratitude: The Craft of Photography

Pampa the Editr shoots you
Today, I am grateful for:

Photography. Since I was a kid using somebody's castoff Brownie, I've enjoyed taking pictures. I spent the first half of my career in journalism watching photojournalists work and knowing they loved what they were doing. I wanted to join them, but company policies prevented me from learning and taking photos for my own stories.

That all ended when I was bounced out of mainstream daily media and landed at a weekly newspaper where I had to do everything ... and I really mean everything. I learned on the fly with an old Canon camera with two lenses: 50mm and 200mm. I used TriX, 400ASA film for everything and had no idea what the settings on the camera had to do with anything, what film speed was, what backlighting meant ... Nothing. I knew nothing. But I loved it.

I had to learn the darkroom and found an excitement in watching a photo "come up" in the soup. I learned to dodge and burn, to use different papers for different effects, to try different films, to use fill flash and shallow depth of field. I learned to shoot football in low light and theater in high light. I found I loved portraiture. I discovered, eventually, that the best use for the darkroom was impromptu sex (and I still contend that's the optimal use, since we have little need for darkrooms for printing any longer).

In any case, photography has been a blessing, one that follows me everywhere I go, one that has become more sophisticated with digital photography. I find myself giving away cameras to the interested these days and I get a great deal of pleasure watching people learn photography and fall in love with it. It is a joy.

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