The slow-photography purist uses a large-format camera
...and says much the same thing (apart from the press cameras)!Quote:
If you really want to impose limits, try LF. Outside of press cameras it's nearly impossible to do LF fast. The essence of modern LF is slow and deliberate.
To be fair, I had the same snap reaction: "TLRs are slow? Ha!"---but by the standards that the article's describing, yeah, I think it's a fair point.
The only beef I really had with the article is that it doesn't give enough credit to the fact that people used to do the same thing with point-and-shoot film cameras; not so much the machine-gun imaging, but looking at the camera rather than the thing photographed is a complaint quite a bit older than d*g*t*l. That quibble aside, though, I thought it was a provocative article that discussed film much more accurately than the norm, and correctly concentrated on the photographic process rather than on gear per se.
Also, I thought this was a bit suspect:
"And yet fast photography is not the enemy of good results, by the logic of volume: If you take a thousand photographs, one or two will turn out great. "
In fact, good photos rarely come about by chance. Garry Winogrand took a lot of photos, but taking a lot of photos isn't going to make you Garry Winogrand.
In some cases, like much street photography, sports photography, and such things, the process can happen very fast, but getting something good is usually the result of being prepared and alert.
The way I read the article, the author has become totally bored and alienated with modern photography and in his search for pastures new has found a way to reconnect with an idealised past that never existed.
This is probably the same process that drives people away from Microsoft Word and toward Moleskines or fountain pens. Away from mp3s and toward turntables. Away from the supermarket and toward the allotment. Clearly this process won't work for us all and it's easy to pick holes in such things. But to me it seems like a much more personal project that's quite fuzzy but clearly makes some people happy. Convenience is all good, but maybe people need an outlet where effort and reward are better matched.
For the author he's probably equating extra time with extra effort and therefore greater reward. I feel the same way when I bake bread - it's far more rewarding than driving to the supermarket. My guess is writing with a fountain pen on nice paper is a much better experience than typing into Word. I think for most people there's something in their lives where they take a "more effort" route to get a greater reward, the slow food analogy fits here. For the author it's photography. We should probably encourage it - it'll help sales.
I really enjoy the article. I have gotten 'slow' over the years.
I'm not a great photog, but I'm pretty great at hiking with a lot of heavy gear over treacherous terrain and putting myself in harm's way to make sure my precious kodak view/calumet/mamiya TLR/tin can pinhole doesn't get dirty or scratched. I do like the idea that having more invested in the image (literally and figuratively in the case of an 8x10 or 4x5) makes you sit and look at your subject, try to "tell a story" or a particular mode of light, etc. I'll be the first to admit that I've got many times more invested in digtal equipment than film (film is cheep), but if I'm going somewhere were my primary goal is to look around, I grab the TLR or 4x5, if my primary goal is to record, I'll grab the DSLR. If my primary goal is self flaggelation, I grab the 8x10. I think it was a pretty great article.
Thanks for the link, it's interesting to see this type of discussion going on. I think it all comes down to what people want from their photography practice. Even calling it a practice suggests a certain choice. George Dewolfe offers and has offered for years a workshop in "contemplative photography". Seems to me the aims mentioned in the Slate piece are similar to what Dewolfe talks about, although I think his course is aimed at a fairly serious worker. The author of the article states that he does not consider himself a photographer. Lots of things compelling us to move fast, but that isn't always the most enjoyable way to go.
i don't know bruce ...
i have a graflex slr and can work pretty fast ...
i don't really think size of the camera has anything to do with it ..
sometimes slow isn't the way to go
sometimes it is ...
If you want to see slow, paint dries faster than I can shoot 8x10.