Progress

The organization of my archives is slowly starting to look better. I’ve moved images to their proper month/years and removed the duplicates. The current process finds me removing the images I do not want. The example above shows over 15,000 photos in 2019 alone. I’ve since knocked that down to almost 1,800 instead.

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The Muse

She is creative, talented and good at everything she tries. She inspires me like no one else.

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Enjoying The Process

Long before my beautiful daughter was born I was heavily interested in photography. I used a compact point and shoot Fuji to bring in the new millennium. Then upgraded to a more robust featured Olympus with optical zoom. All of this was used as a hobby, to document life events, etc. The images were okay but they weren’t the best quality. I used this life changing event of her arriving in our home as a way to justify my first DSLR, a Nikon D50. I wanted more quality images to capture just how beautiful she is. The next step of course was to advance my photography into portraits of other beautiful people. I learned by doing and evolved. 

Twenty years later and my excitement and love for photography has grown. I find myself always looking for photographic opportunities. I’ve enjoyed learning the post-processing and organizing. The photo creativity has overshadowed my writing creativity. Now I am at the point where I want these images off the hard drive where no one can see them and printed up for full view. All the while keep learning and practicing for more. 

I’ve documented people, events, concerts, travel, landscape and street photography. I’ve recently gone back to film photography and am remembering the joy of making each image count. Taking the time to think and enjoy the process. After all this I realized something:

My best photograph is the one I haven’t taken yet. 

My best work is still ahead of me and this is what keeps me going.

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New Focus

Over the course of capturing portraits for the past twenty years I have met so many good and beautiful people and have been made all the better for it. Recently I have been giving some thought to looking for new photographic challenges and have decided to hang up portrait photography for a bit. Especially the sexy shoots. There are some of those challenges I would like to eventually tackle but am limited not by my imagination but by a lack of studio space and lighting.

Instead, I’d like to focus on street photography and even outdoor photography.

Street photography can be an excellent combination of people and life in an urban setting. Win/win. Outdoor photography will serve my needs for working with lighting and element challenges.

I am pleased with this decision and I’ll admit I am a bit paralyzed here at first wondering where to start. So I’ll just jump right in and do it starting tomorrow. I’ll take my newly purchased Canon 110 pocket camera with black and white film and see what I can find on the streets!

I’ll be redesigning my photography website soon to match this new focus and will add more thoughts here soon.

**UPDATE**

Photo Denbow has been redesigned again and has a renewed focus on street photography as well as travel. Other personal and photo project work will be here as well.

This is version #73 over the past twenty years.

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The Why Of It

Recently I was asked why portrait photography, or specifically portraits of people in various states of undress. My simple reply is always because I enjoy the challenge of capturing people in different light, angles and unique expressions. The fact that they were in various states of undress was moot. But then I also thought why keep doing it? What else is out there that I can find?

And that was it. I realized that I am again ambitious in my photography.
And curious.
And looking for different.

Different compositions, challenges, locations, adventures, formats and more.

I want to discover something from a new perspective and photograph it. To remember a moment, or document something for all time, or appreciate the subject more. I don’t want posed. I want candid, intentional, deliberate and authentic.

This is the why; a new challenge.

Goodbye Instagram

Yes, again. For good. I’m done.

It used to be a great way to network with great photographers and friends. It has evolved from a creative community into an abomination of memes, unoriginal work and advertisements. When Facebook purchased Instagram everyone knew that it would change drastically and not for the better. 

Shortly after, ads were popping up with no regard for anything. Nothing was relevant because Facebook hadn’t yet figured out your likes, dislikes, friends. It still hasn’t figured me out. I am seeing ads for candy, ads for salt. Yes, salt. Ads for a house flipping seminar by some faux celeb on a DIY channel. Ads for paint etc etc. What the hell does salt have to do with photography? This is a photography platform…or it used to be. IG has added video features, photo/video stories, IGTV for longer video stories. All laced with ads. 

FB and IG both have shitty algorithms that is distracting what we want to see. Their shitty algorithms have also destroyed the order in which we want to see our friend’s photos by assuming they know best. But FB and IG don’t know me at all. They’ve stopped caring and allow any advertiser to show whatever they want, relevant or not and then have access to our data.

How pervasive are these irrelevant advertisements? It averages one ad for every four photos in your feed. Four, maybe five of your colleague’s images and then you get a “sponsored post”. 

Think these offered options matter? Think again.

Why don’t you want to see this ad? 

It’s not relevant

I see it too often

It’s inappropriate

Goodbye, Instagram.

Creative Rebellion

“Most of the world seemed to have moved on from film stocks, and the cameras were no more than vintage keepsakes of photography history. I would get strange looks whenever people figured out I was shooting with a film camera. We were seen as a bunch of misfits — or hipsters, as the wretched label came to be. But, the deeper I got into it, the clearly I saw what shooting film meant for those who did: it’s a form of creative rebellion in a world that puts a premium on perfection.“

36

One roll of film, 36 black & white exposures and one hour to shoot it in. Chasing after light, shadows, textures, shapes and anything else of interest. Memories of a lifetime ago in the high school darkroom came flooding back as I blindly loaded the spent Ilford roll into a spool and tank in the pitch black room. Hand-agitating the negatives for forty minutes was both time consuming and time flew by at the same time. Washing, drying and stretching them out into a contact sheet over the light table and deciding which frames were worthy of enlarging them into prints. The excitement while watching the images appear like magic in the developing solution and the smell of fixer chemicals on my hands as the final images were dried.

I had forgotten this feeling because it had been so long. I promised myself my next visit will be much sooner. I had missed this.

Perfectly Imperfect

Ever since I switched from film photography to digital (2001) it seems like there was this mad desire to shoot the sharpest, balanced images. New cameras carried newer sensors to help compensate. Shortly after the conversion though, a lot of us played around with digital filters, fake grain and distorted images all in an attempt to emulate film photography.

Ever listen to clear digital music and then long for the hiss and pops of an old vinyl record? Still notice that advertising relies heavy on customer’s nostalgia? Why do so many mobile photography apps try to emulate old film?

What is is about the tiny imperfections that make us want to see more of it? Because somehow they are more tactile than a clean, perfect photograph.

For clients, I want the sharpest, cleanest images possible. But when it comes to my hobby I appreciate and look forward to the unexpected surprises. I love the light leak, the color variation and textures from film photography.

Film Photography 101

It has been a long time since I step foot into a darkroom to process my 35mm film rolls (high school!) and I have forgotten just about everything. I do remember enjoying the way my hands smelled of developer and toner as I watched my images magically develop. So, it’s back to the darkroom/classroom for me because I just signed up for a local workshop that will refresh my memory.
Honestly, this is even more exciting than breaking in a new camera because this is a process. The process will allow me to slow down, think and appreciate each frame shot so I can’t wait to see what will…develop.

110mm

I’ve been looking for another analog film format camera to compliment my 35mm and instant film cameras and I finally found a solution I cannot wait to try.

The Canon 110ED can produce high quality images and I love the James Bond-inspired design of this camera. It sports a fast 26mm f/2.0, rangefinder-coupled lens that can be adjusted from f2 to f16.

As soon as it arrives in the mail from auction I will then be able to finally purchase the LomoChrome Metropolis 110 film that will be released into the United States in December.


Photo Archival Project

DAM. Digital Asset Management. I don’t have it but I critically need it. It’s hell trying to determine where any of my photos really are. Despite sporadic attempts at bringing things under control, I’m still not very well organized.

I’ve read a lot of articles about the top ten things photographers would do if they had to start all over again and not a one has mentioned anything about photo organization AFTER the shooting and editing. Now what? At first, we only have few dozen images and then hundreds and it’s easy to find things when looking for them. That’s the attitude we start out with. But a photo organization system? Never occurred to me.
Over time they start to accumilate and then you change devices, copy these images to that other hard drive and then the year ends and a new one starts; and then the years go by. We keep taking pictures and these files pile up and then we realize that they really should be organized soon. By then it’s too late and overwhelming and also past time that this has to be done.

Since I don’t have my very own JARVIS artificial intelligence to sort, remove duplicates, purge bad images, organize by date, tag, and geotag then I’ll just have to do the damned thing myself.


Jarvis? Organize my archives please

Now that I have some time off I can relax, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday while traveling and plan my approach. A new incentive has arisen: time. Currently is late November 2019 and a new decade is approaching. So I will organize the archives by decade and secure them into digital vault.

Archive 1970-2009
Archive 2010-2019
Archive 2020 and future

Only then can I begin to think about processing the keepers and organize them into prints and maybe even some books. Especially for my planned Daphne photo project.

Damn.

Film Is Not Dead

Analog film photography: it’s not perfect and maybe that is what I love about it.

In these days of instant gratification and little effort, everyone can make photos. Everything is digital, clean, sharp and then over-processed.

We make/buy/use filters and presets to emulate film photography because of its athstetic.

Film is not instant gratification and it doesn’t try to be perfect. Film is authentic and tangible.

And perhaps that is why I’m leaning more towards film these days.

Photography: A New Hope

A constant comment I hear among my photographer peers is that they feel like they’re in a creative pit. They’re bored and uninspired. And yes, let’s be honest, I have as well. Who hasn’t?
I’ve found a few cures for the ailing inspiration in the past and am looking forward to implementing new ones as well.

I’ve been too comfortable and lazy. In the past I would eliminate technical setbacks with gear and software. So, I’ve sold all of my equipment. And then I changed to a new system to see how the other half did it. But over time I was still unsatisfied. Lesson learned: equipment doesn’t matter.

For now, I am exploring and re-learning analog. Don’t misunderstand, I still enjoy my DSLR but I’ll be using it less and may even sell that as well eventually. But when I allow my brain to go manual and take control over automatic this or that is when I like it best. I get creative. I have to think and plan. It isn’t easy. I don’t want it easy anymore. There are constraints and limitations with film photography that are different from digital. If going analog gets too complacent then I’ll try an instant camera or a toy camera.

What’s Next?

I’m questioning everything lately. Do I need my photography website? Do I need a place to show galleries and portfolios? Who will see it?
I’m not offering anything unique then the next photographer. I may have some great work displayed there but so will she and he. What can I do that will set my website apart from them? Why should you follow me in the future?

I’ve been enjoying the idea of real, honest to God, tangible products that you can touch. I’ve embraced the physical portfolios and it all started with the art show in September when I offered prints for sale. I had prints leftover and so they went into an album and it thrills me in a way that photography hasn’t in such a long time. I had prints made from some of my recent road trips and those too went into an album. Magical. Now that I’m shooting 35mm and instant, they have their own albums/journals.

When I get my shit together and organized, I’ll even self-publish photo books and zines. I had. A few printed off in the past but that was back when the self-publishing industry was getting started. The offerings have improved and I’m honestly looking forward to this. Again, if I can get it together.

Perhaps these ideas will help distinguish myself from the bored, uninspired photographer. Perhaps these ideas will help me get out of those negative, bored places as well. The visitors to my website may appreciate the distinction from a bored photographer shooting the same thing as the other 12 million people fighting for attention. By making tangible products, I’ll be happier. Even if it is for myself.

Waiting for a muse is just not realistic. She isn’t real. I’ve realized that inspiration rarely comes to you but instead it is something to pursue. Doing the work itself can be inspiring. Planning the projects, cultivating my ideas, projects and products can be very beneficial.

Creativity is difficult to obtain and maybe this is why so many people are bored and uninspired.

This Is Going To Suck

I brought the old Polaroid One Step camera out of the storage box and decided to clean it up and put it to use now that Polaroid/Impossible Project/Polaroid Originals is creating a consistent, reliable supply of compatible 600 film.

Bringing an old toy out to play again is very exciting

I counted on the first few sheets or hell, even the whole box to learn and adjust to and I wasn’t wrong. Polaroid films prefer excellent lighting and shooting indoors without it is…challenging.

So the best way is to make these mistakes earlier so I can move on and produce the thoughtful, deliberate shots I want to.

I also charged up the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90, loaded it with some newly purchased film and it’s good to go as well.

I have this thing for monochrome, okay?

Next up is the Canon 35mm Sureshot point and shoot camera. I loaded up some some Fuji ASA 200 film and took a few shots yesterday to test it out.

I want to get back into the sure joy of analog photography and to have these physical reminders of my learning and developing. It’ll suck at first and that is okay by me.