Accidents, mistakes, failures, and surrender
Another jem Alice !
Really enjoyed this, especially the ‘contact sheet’ format. Going to take away the idea of looking upon my work with less grip and more acceptance
Gorgeous Alice x
Love love love. I think so much about control and photographs. About how it’s taught as a tool by which to master taking pictures. I love the idea of a practice where as little as possible is intentional. Maybe if Sebald’s dog was running around in a frenzied panic. ❤️
Wonderful edition Alice, thank you for writing them. I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the reasons I have found my way back to using film is the relinquishing of a bit more control, that need to control and understand that I have. Also the introductions of more limitations. To achieve an ecstatic failure would be wonderful. But now I find myself as the photographer blocked. I look at the cameras and I cannot pick them up. I am confused and bound. I see pictures externally and internally that I want to make but I cannot bring myself to. It's like I don't know how to at the moment.
Loved this, thank you.
I often think about a past career as a forensic photographer and the required need for control/accuracy/reliability....15 years on and I still struggle to shake it off.
One of the most important rolls of my life taking a family portrait in Senegal… took so many readings, needed to be wide open F4 1/60th vibes… snapped away. Felt great…
Hour later in the car, looked at my camera… F22 1/250th… adrenaline overwhelmed me and cuddled up to sadness. Impossible to reshoot… shut my eyes and hoped for the best. Hoped hard!
2 weeks later got the rolls back everything was great except for that one, pivotal roll. Totally black frames… faintest of ghostly outlines… noise…
Thank you for your piece on stumbling with the photography and writing. It’s very insightful and I was moved and wrote a few pages in my journal. For that I thank you.
I’m curious how did this email come to me?
Did I sign up for it? I don’t recall doing so.
At any rate thank you.
True words indeed. For a few years now, I've been shooting exclusively analogue - primarily to slow down the process and to pay homage to a culture of error that prevents me from knowing exactly what the end result will be before I release the shutter. Fehler is king. Usually I do not know what I am doing when I shoot film. I do not ansel my shots - unpredictable. I like the way you put it in words. Thank you.
This was beautiful Alice, I recognised myself in a lot of these moments and how so many factors influence everything that we do. Love this piece.
I write, and I photograph, have been for sixty years. There's always a degree of control in both, sometimes more, sometimes less, even for people like Sebald who don't even know they're controlling. Steven King says the same, but he'll also tell you about the blood his editor makes him sweat, and the discipline it takes to keep his office door closed when his kids are howling. You learn control and then you forget about it. You just write like the world doesn't exist. Control in photography is hard, much harder work, and it never gets easier. It's perhaps because it's so closely related to painting. It there was no control people wouldn't care about which way the camera's pointing, or even whether the lens cap is on or not. There's also so many ways and subjects to photograph that control become necessary. Perhaps if photographers were only able to shoot a few hundred photos (or less, Vermeer only produced 36 works of art) in their lifetimes instead of having a few thousand buried in hard drives the photographic world would be a better place. There are luck-shots, there are right-place-and-times, but that doesn't mean letting go of control. Make friends with it. If it's your buddy, it'll follow you around like a dog, if not, it'll drive you into a ditch.
This was a beautiful piece of writing. I especially loved: "Allow myself to be surprised by the results, after the wait to see the pictures; look on them not with a critical eye, but with acceptance and curiosity, the way I do paintings, or the works of others, or children. Assume they are complete and perfect, and respond from that place." 💕