#qwerkyphotography

When Good Enough Has To Be Good Enough

At the intersection of being a photographer and a father who photographs lies a shot like this.

When shooting a portrait, a photographer faces multiple challenges in terms of the craft of making a photo. When you add the challenges of shooting family in general and an unwilling subject in particular, things get interesting. When you add some additional elements such as a malfunctioning camera (in this case, a fussy Russian Kiev 88 and a film back that scratched the film the entire length of the right side of all frames) and poor lighting (in this case, slow shutter speed and wide-open aperture), things can get really interesting.

What happens when all of the above challenges converge? Well, I got this photo. There is much wrong with this shot, but it’s still a memory and moment that I cherish, despite the imperfections (not the least of which is a slight focus issue). And one of only two salvageable shots from the roll.

It may not be professional. It may not be great. Hell, it’s probably not even good. But it’s still a keeper. Warts and all. And, truth be told, I love the bokeh.

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The Clarity and Charity of Time

I am not a patient person in general and definitely not a patient photographer. This is often at odds with the analogue, film-based photography that I practice. You might think that digital would be my thing, given my impatience. But no. I have to shoot old school and then practically run to the nearest darkroom.

Like Popeye, I am what I am. Yet, I am now involved in the long process of inputting, organizing and otherwise getting my photographic shit together while enjoying my new, custom-built computer, dedicated to my photo workflow. This means I have been viewing some long-forgotten scans. It’s been, well…eye-opening. It’s like I’m seeing some of this work with new eyes. And perhaps I am.

As I revisit this old work, new images now attract my attention. I still like most of the ones that originally got my juices going, but I’m finding some gems (to me, anyway) that have just as much merit and potential. I feel like a musician who is reinterpreting an old song. I’m thinking of my favorite version of Springsteen’s Born To Run; a very slow live version, not the album version. This is also like the advice that I received (and I still pass on to my writing students) about putting your piece of writing away in a drawer and then coming back days or weeks or even months — and it’s like you’re looking at something someone else wrote. Perhaps they (you) did.

This image is a case in point. I was shooting a light-leaky Agfa Isolette camera. Most of the 15 frames are shit. But a few from this sequence spark my imagination. This was lit with 100% golden-hour sunlight right in my own backyard. I think it has a David Lynchian quality.

Maybe I was channeling Lynch’s eye.

Monochrome Pentimento by CB Adams, Qwerky Photography.

Monochrome Pentimento by CB Adams, Qwerky Photography.

I Ain't No Chimp

OK. We know that there's a term called “chimping” that describes the habit of taking a picture and then immediately going, “Oh, oh, oh,” like a chimp, while reviewing it on the camera’s LCD screen. I shoot some digital myself, but I don't ooo or ahhh, but I do get that kind of chimp face when reviewing a shot I just took. Can't seem to stop that habit.

On the other hand, there's no opportunity to chimp with a film camera. That's one of the aspects I love about shooting film. Delayed gratification -- that's good for most things except sex. Anyway, I knew this shot would be a keeper as I took it. Call it intuition. Call it 40+ years of experience. Call it luck or karma. But it felt good and right and exciting.

Anyone seen my banana?