Murray,

As I get older (not sure I'm maturing) I have increasingly rejected perfection in what I do and with who I hang. It is the imperfections that give character and appeal to people IMO.

As far as photographs, I'm a very good printer and have been employed by a couple commercial studios in that capacity in the past. I teach photography and darkroom skills at a community college on a daily basis and so have continued my darkroom endeavors there. Until lately. After reaching a place where I could pretty much make great negatives and prints, I turned to Diana cameras and minimal printing manipulations. I found I enjoyed the process more when I recorded the image on film pretty decently, accepted the imperfections, and didn't worry about tweaking the image so much in the printing stage. And, although it may sound blasphemous here, I even dabbled in making digital inkjet negatives and correcting images in Photoshop. Those digital negatives printed perfectly in van dyke brown. And I absolutely hated the prints and the digital process after I had achieved that perfection. I have absolutely no interest in that arena now. Nor am I drawn to enlarging any longer.

That perfect digineg print was a turning point for me. Now I do wetplate collodion and each plate is uniquely flawed. Sometimes there are development streaks or "comets", sometimes the plate is fogged or veiled, sometimes the pour is too thick or thin or absent in "islands" altogether, or the developer rips part of the image from the plate, etc. None of them are "perfect." I love the flaws and the uniqueness of each plate.

My Muse walks with a limp.

Joe