The next time you burn through a roll film, also make an equivalent image of the same subjects using a non-film camera. While your roll is out being developed, study your non-film images. When the prints from the film roll arrive, then you can make a comparison. If you find that you really liked some of your non-film images, but their film based equivalents just didn't cut it, I'm sure the cause will reveal itself at that time. The purpose of the comparison, of course, is to demonstrate that memory is not always as accurate as we imagine to be. ;-)
I try to get into the mind of shooting roll film like sheet. This roll was spread out over two days - about five frames a day. I can spend half an hour or more deliberating over a composition, but it's as if I have a psychological barrier with the viewfinder. Sometimes I feel as though I can only perceive space, rather than perceiving the space in two dimensions. Is the inability to pre-visualise a cognitive disorder!? I've occasionally taken pictures with my phone through the viewfinder, then stood back and assessed the composition. I'm using a Pentax 67 and a Hasselblad, both with viewfinders which don't give me full coverage - which is another factor in my 'viewfinder anxiety'.
Originally Posted by Pierre Luzière
I try not to make excuses to buy new cameras, but my mental block with the viewfinder is one reason LF appeals to me. Then all I have to do is stand on my head
I used to say to the bride and groom on their return from the honeymoon: "Never mind I'll get it right at your next wedding"
Originally Posted by benjiboy
I have been in hiding for many years now
Do this, batwister: some evening, in the near-dark, bring your camera and tripod to a quiet, but visually intriguing place, one that is not too bright. (With few people around you will have the opportunity to ponder the photographic philosophy that Andy K brought us from the deceased Henri von Lier.)
Now, just look around without HAVING to make an immediate determination. I promise that you will soon see a configuration or two that will pique your curiosity. The darkness takes care of keeping the 'literalness' out of the picture and demotes that configuration to mere design, without tangible purpose. Expose, based upon a low lit indoor scene (like a romantic restaurant venue). You just might get an image worth looking into more closely, or, perhaps, one that will force you to now see what you just missed. This is how we grow visually. it is worth an attempt. - David Lyga
Gary Winogrand had a huge delay between exposing a roll of film and looking at the contact sheet. I think the delay was something like at least three months or so. Anyways, IIRC, he said that he did it to look at the images objectively, that he wouldn't be tied to what he thought they would be, because he couldn't remember them. The images became something that had been done by someone else.
Batwister, perhaps you need to do the same thing. Shove the return from the lab in a drawer for at least six months, and then you won't feel attached to it. I started off with a Pentax 6x7 myself, so I know what that camera is like. You might try removing the viewfinder, and just cup your hands around the glass to see the whole frame.
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My advice would be to relax before and when taking the photographs. You may then find some negatives that are quite a surprise.
Originally Posted by batwister
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
i never expect anything i shoot to come out at all,
so when i process a roll myself, or send it out
i am always happy if anything appears on the film.
it pays off having very low expectation !
Some very helpful advice.
David, your post piqued my curiosity. I've definitely felt that need to make an 'immediate determination' after a month or so of zero pictures. Getting into a meditative state of gazing would do me well.
Will have to try both of these suggestions.
Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller
I've gone through a great shift with my photography over the last year, with my subjective concerns (from the natural landscape to public spaces) and significantly in terms of my aesthetic sensibilities. I have a problem keeping productive and to an extent, forget that actually learning to work (or see) in a new way requires some consistency. I've upended my photographic concerns so much, that I've almost had to start again from the ground up.
Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller
this is a great suggestion ..
i have found negative-frames that i overlooked from years gone by and they were so much better than
anything that i had thought was good off the roll. what was "good" off the roll was OK but sometimes losing the
wishful thinking and stress of hoping something "came out" really helps ..
It's not worth it. Give up photography and send me your equipment.