Sunday, October 3, 2010

During the Exposure

Neighbor house

4x5 photography is supposed to 'slow you down' and to me, it does. I pre-visualize before I set up my tripod, go through the elaborate process of using the camera, then spend an hour re-visualizing the shots while I develop in the dark.

Alternative processes can bring a whole new meaning to 'slow' and I like that. I was initially upset at the incredibly slow speed of my first emulsion (Direct Sunlight 20mins @ f11), but I got used to it. So much stuff is compressed into a fraction of a second when a modern camera makes an exposure.

With my 15-20 minute exposures I have been allowed to explore what happens during an exposure. Its no longer over in an eye blink. With the longer exposure I can focus on the image being made as it is being made. I can walk around the camera, stare at my subject, and reconsider the angle of the sun all while the latent image is being created. I am not thinking about my next shot, or my last shot during the exposure.

Its kind of a special place that is only usually found by the alt photographers, and long exposure junkies. The length of time I have to sit with the camera makes me really look at where I am. I feel like the camera and I am really 'taking it in'.

Occasionally everything gets still and it is like being frozen in time. In the stillness I can become aware of the more subtle emotions and reactions I am having to a subject. It can be really profound, or not at all.

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