What Have I Been Missing?
I’ve been in a malaise for quite some time. Despondent and diffident towards photography, particularly my photography. I’d lost all inspiration and desire to create images. It was like there was no outlet or outcome to producing the images, and slowly the desire to even pick out the camera died not like a deciduous tree over winter, but like a great gum tree that’s been desiccated from the inside buy a rising salt water table.
Recently I discovered some videos detailing how to make contact prints on wood, using Photo Transfer Media and Laser printed images. So, I thought I’d try out the process in conjunction with another project, namely a retrospective look at 20C Photography through the guise of my own work. What’s clear from this print process, is that I’ve been missing the print making side of photography for a long, long time.
Its just too easy to just print a photo from a printer or send the image files to a print store. But the actual process of selecting the paper (substrate) exposing an image onto it (coating and contact printing), then developing (removing the paper backing) to produce a final print. To then look critically at this and make judgement calls on what needs to be changed in order to make the image better (optimize it), before saying this image is ready for sharing, display or publication/competition.
This hands on process of making and developing prints is where the art and technique of photography become a physical self-standing object. This physical image is the photographer’s trophy piece, the “baby” of their creative endeavour. Its clear to me now, that for far too long I have been creatively sterile. That this is what I’ve been missing, the deliberate, considered, creation of a physical image with characteristics carefully chosen and melded into an image by me with my own two hands.
While I love digital images and looking at them on computer and printing them, they don’t come anywhere near close to the feeling and joy I get by following through on the physical process of getting my hands and clothes, dirty, wet and holding a finished image. Not by a country mile!
For today, that’s what’s in my
Line of Sight.