My year long project to photograph using only a Sony A7II body and legacy lenses is nearing completion. I plan to do a full postmortem of the project later this year. In the meantime some things have become clear. Most importantly I have discovered that using manual focus lenses is an advantage in almost all situations except for fast action shooting. Going into the project I expected that manual focus would be a limitation. It is not a limitation at least for me. Slowing down and thinking before shooting has improved my photography. I see no reason to go back to using auto focus lenses any time soon.
Another interesting thing I’ve discovered is a preference for using shorter focal length lenses. In the past I relied upon zoom lenses and often used long focal lengths of 200-300mm simply to frame shots without moving. That is a bad habit. Now I find myself using a 35mm prime lens for almost all my photography. Long lenses do have a place but they should not be a crutch for sloppy technique.
This photograph was shot a few days ago using a forty plus year old Super Takumar 35mm m42 mount lens. It has proved to be my absolute favorite lens for the project.
Lately I’m been making quite a few experimental photo based images. The most recent works are composite images combining photos from my archive with various found textures using a variety of techniques. The results range from good to downright awful. Many people who see the resulting work find it quite annoying and without conventional aesthetic appeal. Guilty as charged.
For many years I constrained myself to making photographs in the predictable way most non-professionals work, which is of course to emulate professionals. I worked especially hard to learn digital black and white photography. It is fun and interesting to produce good black and white work that fits within that conventional niche. Making a good finished photo is still satisfying to me.
I have reached a point where I need to be able to exercise more creativity in my work. I still make black and white images but they are often interpreted into something more like photo based digital art. That is not a term I embrace but it makes the point that many of my images are no longer completely photographic.
I’m not giving anything up by doing interpreted images. It just means my practice has broadened to include other types of image making. Right now I’m only using digital techniques but I hope to start physically modifying paper based images with paint and tools in the future. I’m not a great artist, but I draw inspiration from Matisse who worked with paper and scissors in his last years. He had courage to continue making excellent new work. Maybe I can do the same thing.
The first year of phototrice.com is drawing to a close. I really had no expectation that the blog would still be up and running at the beginning of 2017. Since publishing the first post in February I have managed to contribute a total of 110 posts and more than 30 calendars. The truth is that phototrice has helped me understand photography in ways that I probably would not have considered otherwise. It has helped me grow as a photographer and image maker. The next year should be even better.
The images in the gallery above link to posts which have 2017 calendars available for download. Please feel free to grab any or all of them at your convenience. Just click on any of the images to go directly to the post containing that particular calendar.