Throwing Away Dusty Old Hats

Over the past two and a half years, my photographic process has been under continuous reduction and refinement to the point where it is now all about minimalism. I've swept the floors, thrown out the empty boxes and sold off the items I no longer need to a point where I shoot many subject matters with one perspective on one camera. After years of making pictures, my process has shifted its weight to the making of the pictures themselves and little else beyond the resulting images.

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People Looking At Things

Bit of random day in the city (again) shooting with Rocky's Summilux 35mm (again). It's a curious thing, this depth of field tool we have as photographers. As someone who uses a rangefinder with an separate optical view finder, I've tried not to rely on having shallow depth of field, but as I add the razor thin focus of the Summilux to toolbox again, I find its effect to have resonated with how I want photographs to portray their subject matter.

I think I'll have to go back to my own Summarit f/2.5 to recalibrate myself and figure out if I really would prefer to have the separation that is only possible at the wide aperture.

Day With The Summilux

Rocky was kind enough to lend me his Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 lens instead of my Summarit f/2.5. I've really forgotten what it's like to shoot environmental portraits with such shallow and dreamy depth of field. I actually really missed it to be honest and may end up with one in the future to replace my Summarit.

West End Camera Club Catchup

Hannah and I came back to a consistent layer of clouds covering Brisbane all week, which if nothing else, made for nice soft lighting to take pictures with when catching up with everyone from the West End Camera Club.

Revisiting The Island Of Tasmania

In the year 2000, just after finishing primary school, my mum drove my brother and I down to Tasmania to live for a year. Fifteen years later, mum asked me to join her on a twelve day road trip around the island state. Knowing me, I was riddled with a cold within two days, sneezing my brains out, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

While a beautiful place, I found it quite isolating at times, especially when we drove out to Gordon Dam and back. There was probably less than five cars on that road for over an hour of driving, along with the gloomy weather.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The Best Thing I Ever Did In Photography

There are two things that have made more of an impact on my photography than anything else and that is the gear I now use and the processing styles I have chosen.

35mm

For the last two years I have almost exclusively been shooting in landscape orientation with a 35mm equivalent lens and a single, lightweight and compact camera, and this has given me an enormous appreciation for consistency in the photographs I make. My photographs finally feel like they are truly "mine".

Before 2013, it's like I had no vision whatsoever. It was a free-for-all of focal lengths, orientations and post processing styles. Other than my portrait work, the DSLR and zoom lens was the ultimate consistency killer in my pictures.

Fast forward to now and no matter what I take, if it's a good photograph it feels like it fits perfectly alongside entirely different photographs because the perspective is the same and my style of framing is consistent.

VSCO Film

Discovering VSCO also had a profound impact on the way my photographs feel. Before this, I would change all kinds of settings in Lightroom and as a result each photograph felt different, not a part of a whole body of work.

For a while I was using Kodak Portra 400 colour and Ilford HP5+ B&W emulations but have since swapped to Fuji 800Z and Kodak Tri-X. As a result of using VSCO, my colour and tonal range is consistent.

The added benefit is that I know what I'm going to get when I'm out in the world ready to make a photograph. It's like using film because the film decides the colours and black and white tone for the most part. You have to make sure the subject matter works, and you let the processing set the mood, and you only tweak one or two things like exposure.

Conclusion

There's nothing more disorienting than looking through a body of work and finding that it doesn't actually feel like a body of work. While it may not become your whole way of shooting, I strongly encourage anyone struggling to find their way to reduce all gear options to a single focal length and camera and shoot that way for a good many months.

You may hate it or it, if you're like me, it may transform your photographic journey entirely.