Making a commitment

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Donald Miller, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    About two months ago I made a commitment to myself that I would make an average of 5 new view camera exposures each day for the next year. I recognize that there are days that I will not photograph and there are days when I will make 15 4X5 and 8X10 exposures.

    I calculate that in the next year with days off for printing and other matters that I will still make 1500 new exposures. Will I be able to live up to the commitment? I don't know but in the past two months, I have made well over 250 new exposures.

    My reason for doing this is that I believe that my ability to see and my photography will benefit from this exercise. Has anyone else made a commitment of this type and if so how did it work out?
     
  2. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I sometimes make different type of commitment to myself. I shoot macros and what with the high magnification and all the crawling around in the mud, there is the temptation to shoot off as many as possible once you get an insect acceptably in focus. I know a lot of digital shooters take the machine gun approach to insect photography - handheld flash and all - and then crop and sharpen wildly to get acceptable results.

    However, in my attempts to resist this sort of approach, I often say to myself when I am going out to shoot at dawn that I will make no more than, say, 6 exposures. It forces me to be meticlous with the framing, metering, focussing, even if it means missing some shots. Once I reach my quota, I pack my things and go home even if there are more shooting opportunities.
     
  3. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    My commitment isn't as specific, but I do try to at least do something photo related each day. That may be researching, shooting, testing, or developing. Lately I've been doing a lot of researching and testing. Hopefully I will be done with that soon so that I can shoot more.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    As my other post states, I am building a darkroom. My commitment is to work as much as possible to be completely caught on with my backlog.

    Plus, I have a show in August and then December, so my plan is to be done 30 days ahead. Wish me luck.

    And good luck to you Donald.
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Hey Don

    I shoot a short roll of film for myself, not a client, once a week.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    That is what I've done.
     
  7. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    My commitment is to pursue this project I've started recently.

    If I'm not actually out shooting, I'm contacting potential shot locations, scouting maps, doing research, working on my website for the project...this even goes so far as to cover preparation on the vehicle. Maintenance on my truck is paramount to this project, I cannot afford to break-down or get stuck hours from no-where, so even that is tied into this project.

    I admire the goal of actually putting a number of shots per day down and keeping it. A buddy of mine did a similar thing a while ago, but he shot one exposure of his daughter every day for a year. After the year was over he put together a collage which was very interesting.

    Anyway, the goal is a big one, but worthwhile. Good luck with it!
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    There needs to be balance in life...next year resolve to only take one photograph of each scene photographed which you KNOW will produce a strong image. You will probably condense ten years of learning into two.

    Murray
     
  9. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I love this idea!
     
  10. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Unfortunately for me, it doesn't work that way. What I consider a strong image now, may not be so later....and vice versa. I can go back to negatives that I didn't think much of a year or two ago and actually make better prints with it than the ones I thought were the best back then. You just never know...which is another reason I don't throw away negatives I don't like.
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ron,

    I agree. During the last year I printed negs that I had never printed but were exposed almost twenty years ago.

    Furthermore to the others who have responded, I hope that I didn't give the impression that I am some person doing the motor drive/35 mm approach toward indiscriminate photography in my commitment. I expose film only on the basis that the images are worthy of exposure.
     
  12. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Don I want to commend you for your commitment! I just rearranged my school schedule so I would have weekends (starting Friday at noon) free for the rest of the semester so I can pursue more photography. I don't think I'll be up to 5 sheets/day, but I do have 50 sheets at home waiting development and I plan to keep shooting and shooting and shooting (and developing, just picked up the sodium carbonate yesterday to make my B solution of pyrocat so I can get to work on souping).
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    that's great don.
    i can't say that i can keep up with
    5 sheets a day, but since december, i
    have started bringing a camera with me (on my person) every day.
    i can't say that every exposure i make is perfect or worthy of making into
    a print, but it keeps my mind and my eye atune to what is around me, even the mundane things i take for granted and have seen every day for the past 6 years.

    good luck with your project!

    john
     
  14. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I'd like to have one sheet for every five that you expose...Holy silver halide! That's gonna run a few clams!

    More power to ya Donald! I wish I was in a position to do so...
     
  15. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Donald I think your plan has some real merit to it. To me the most important commitment we can make is to work thru our own processes over and over again. Even with variations on themselves. For example instead of the LF take a 35mm one day then a pano the next. Experiment inside your viewpoint, shooting film all along. even if you don't nail the "ultimate image" each time you are excersizing. Every day is a new day . The conditions are always different so even if you take the same cameras and film to the same location at the same time each day for a month all your exporsures wil have subtle to extreem variation. No 2 will be the same. So with your commitment You really cannot "FAIL" Go Get It!!! (whatever "it" is)
     
  16. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Edward Weston did something similar - Charis writes about it in, IIRC, Through Another Lens. Again, IIRC, he had the theory that he could simplify his process and make it almost automatic, freeing him to rapidly pursue images. She writes about him sometimes making 15-20 images per day.

    I made a commitment last fall to do something photographically every day - shoot, print, file, go to an exhibit. I've been amazed at how much I've been able to get done.
    juan
     
  17. Shawn Mielke

    Shawn Mielke Member

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    I like this thread. In some ways it's almost too easy: I think about photography every day! I am totally into setting parameters and limitations for myself and my work. Some of my commitments, as a 35mm F6 shootist:

    Shoot with ONE focal length for an extended period of time. Right now I am six months or so into shooting with just the 50mm focal, even though I ache and yearn for other lenses. I'm hoping to go for one year (next October).

    NO ZOOMS. When I do finally shoot other focal lengths, they will be select. Three primes, mastery of each. Perhaps for my next year I'll shoot only with 24mm. Doing this for paid event coverage would be a REAL challenge for me!

    NO FLASH. Maximum understanding, respect, and use of available light.

    Make exposures as though I am shooting medium format or any larger format. This one is more challenging, especially when covering events.
    This obviously means no use of Continuous shoot mode. Less is more.

    I am heading for a prohibition of AF and AE very soon I think, for some extended period of time. Much more challenging than the above.

    Carry a camera with me always, day job hours being the exception. Right now, I have only the F6, not the easiest camera to put into my pants pocket. Will work on this one somehow.

    Social photography and the bravery of public or "street" shooting is going to be one of my next big hurdles.

    Pretty pedestrian commitments for many of you veterans I'm sure, but hey, I'm rather new to this craft.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Donald,I just read your posting, and think it's a very interesting, and thought provoking idea that real excites me, I would love to pass on to young people as much as I can about traditional photography to try promote it's long term survival. I meet on a regular basis a lot of photographic friends who are all into film , I'm going to talk to them about this idea at our next meeting, several of them are teachers or a couple of them are retired head teachers, and will probably have some ideas how to proceed to bring this about.
    The more I think about the idea the more I like it,I have had so much pleasure in the fifty years I have been interested in photography I would like to give something back.
     
  19. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    We try to get our workshop students to do the One A Day exercise:

    Each day, make the time to go make one, and only one, exposure. Take your time and make it the best that you can do. Try to do it at different times of day, in different places, in different light. But be disciplined and make one each and every day.

    This one exposure is over-and-above any other photography you may do that day, and any other photography doesn't count as your one for that day. It must be a specific, conscious exercise.

    When you process and proof them, look hard at each one. How could it be better? Go make it again and improved, if you want, but not as a one-a-day.

    Then, make a project for yourself that at the end of one year, you'll hang a show of your 15 best one-a-days. We have a local bagel shop that hangs stuff by local photographers. My friend Richard Ritter hung a show in a gallery of his one-a-days.

    I guarantee that if you hold to the discipline of trying to see photographically each and every day, your photographs will improve dramatically.

    Speaking from experience, holding to the discipline is really hard. But worth it.
     
  20. jeffneedham

    jeffneedham Subscriber

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    my plan is to do something "photographic" every single day. i got hurt at work a few years ago, and now face a second surgery with a fairly lengthy recovery time. since i have nothing else to do (besides collect workers comp benefits and go to the doctor's office), i've been more creatve with my work. yesterday for example, i worked on my website and caught up on developing ALL of my film that was waiting to be done. today, i have 15 rolls of negatives hanging in my darkroom. going out this morning to check on them felt great.

    today, i plan on making a few prints, experimenting with halo chrome (again) and maybe even going to the store and picking up some gold toner.

    when there are days when i'm busy with appointments, i'll take along a camera, be it 35mm or, oh no, my leica d-lux 2, since it can fit in my pocket.

    there are plenty of ways to make it affordable. freestyle has great deals on arista brand for poor folks like myself.

    maybe not everyone can do something EVERY day, but try. it takes a few minutes to develop that roll of 35mm, so why not get up 15 minutes earlier and do it before work.