Tuesday, December 18, 2007


One of the unexpected differences of shooting with an older manual camera is that the first few frames are now alive, whereas before they were quiet. With my auto-advance Nikon, I inserted the film and the camera automatically advanced to frame 1, which was prefaced by a few completely blank frames back to the black of the takeup tab.

But loading manually the black mark marches right up into the initial frames. The frames seem to emerge from darkness like waking from sleep. The first half-black frame and maybe the one after are unfocused visions that are recorded randomly as I advance the film. These feel like groggy blinking as the camera gains consciousness. Then the thing is alert. The vision becomes tuned and accurate for the rest of the roll. All in all the film feels more alive, if film can feel that way.

When I cut my film now I am careful to include some black as well as the random frames. I think an interesting photo project would be to print them as a series. Pure random chance frames, yet as a series perhaps they would say something. Maybe I always hold the camera at a certain angle while advancing. Maybe the focus is always set a certain distance. Maybe the photos would tap into some unconscious feeling, some dream state.

Intriguing. I'll never do it.

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