When I first started sorting through these photographs I quickly discovered that I would need to operate a little differently. Typically I grade by quality, making further and further refinements as I cull down to the fewest possible photos, but the unexpected nature of these meant that I needed to form broader groups before I could do that. Instead I graded by characteristics, either 'smooth', 'rough', or indeterminate. After living with them for a while, I decided that I generally prefer to look at smoother photos.
These three photos are all examples of the 'rough' category, and have been processed slightly differently from the others that I posted. But this is an evolving series, and the treatments and selections are likely to change over time, so I'm keeping an open mind.
Last week I picked up another roll of film that has more of these photographs on it. I haven't had a chance to scan them yet, but holding them all to the light I saw how the dominant lines aligned across so many of the frames… the next set of images may be able to make use of that. I've always had a soft spot for Serendipity.
I won't say what the camera was pointing at when I took these photos, because what it is and what it looks like doesn't need to be the same thing.
Most of my photos are the result of reduction and control. For these I've set up a situation and guided the process, but don't know what the results will look like until the very last stages. Captured on film, I've layered the colours and adjusted the tones, but otherwise these photos are created as physically as possible.
I don't quite have a handle on this series yet. There are anywhere from four to ten candidates in the photographs that I've already captured, but my next set are going to be taken with a different camera, and I don't know how well they'll play together. I'm expecting this to become an open-ended project that I can return to with new methods and techniques as time goes on.
This is an out-take from a series that I've been working on recently, and as anyone who sees this would probably expect, it's not for the obvious reason.
The camera was pointing the wrong way.
The different cameras with the same subject. The first is from an Olympus XA, built in 1981, using modern black and white film; the second is from a Panasonic TS3 digital camera that's thirty years younger. Both are excellent compact cameras from their respective generations, and make a great team now.
I still have a few things puttering along, but nothing much to show right now. These are the photos that I was going to post before I was sidetracked by a couple of rolls of film.
I do really like low-key photos, and am looking forward to a time when I can print these properly. They might make a nice triptych as framed 5x7's, or possibly some others in the series could create a short folio.
A million dollars isn't actually all that expensive for a decent home in Toronto – it's not at all difficult to find examples of the disparity in wealth in the city. But in the same way that the poorest in North America lives far above the global poverty level of $2 a day, those who experience hardship in downtown Toronto are still in a more livable city, with better services, amenities, and options, than those who live in the poorer areas of the Toronto suburbs.
There are a couple of things that seem a little out of joint with the "Occupy" movement coming to Canada. One is that it's created out of an American experience, where the non-wealthy are systematically and institutionally screwed in ways that just aren't happening in Canada. The other is that despite the slogans, we here in Canada – and the USA, and western Europe – aren't the 99%. We are the top 10% that controls over 70% of the global wealth. Yes, The System needs massive changes, but we're also the bad guys who are keeping everyone else down.
But these people in their rain slickers are doing more about it than I am, no matter how much long-term impact they have.
The Occupy protest was also interesting for its lack of something to rally against. Normally, protesters face the building: City Hall, Queen's Park, the mining company, the hotel, the bank, the university. Day One of the Occupy encampment was mostly people gathered around listening to drum-and-guitar jam sessions, or small groups standing apart waiting for people to photograph their clever signs. Usually it wasn't a long wait – and I desperately hope that someone caught a picture of me as I was taking the second one in this set.
I have been considering breaking out some of my scrap bristol board and joining them for a few hours. I already know that my sign would read:
There are straws.
There are camels.
And there are backs.
When else will I have a chance to use that?
More from playing with my little camera. I bought the more expensive model with rangefinder focusing, and all of these have used the scale focusing that the cheaper models are designed for.
Still, there's something to be said for having the better one.
I'm not really into the Cultural Tourism photos these days, and I'm very self-concious of using a camera in public, but I've recently gained a little tiny 35mm camera and needed to try it out.
And the third photo in this set is weak, but the first two aren't strong enough to stand on their own, so certain compromises needed to be made.
I have to admit that I'm losing track of what I've posted here.
I've made four trips to the Spit (so far) this year. The first was in March with my Hasselblad and 150mm lens, which was a practice run for Coney Island. The second time was in July, after I was back from my second trip to Coney Island, and I used my Fujifilm GX680 for that. I have only posted one photo from those two trips – in fact, I still have a couple of shots left on my B&W back for the Fuji. I really need to finish the roll; the first photos are of people skating at city hall.
The third trip was in August, and used my small-format gear. Both of these photos are from that trip, as are all of the posted "Lakefill" photos, with the exception of the black-and-white panorama. (Which was taken in March.) Still on film, these were with the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder that I took to Coney Island the second time.
My most recent trip was with only my digital SLR, and I used it to add another thirty photos on white. I'm not sure if I'm done yet, but I want to complete the project by the end of this year, so I'll need to decide soon.
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