Capri_2007

Why am I posting this picture? Sometimes, even I cannot answer my own questions. Its a beautiful landscape that I shot about 5 years ago on the Island of Capri in Italy. That day was for the most part a disappointment because it was just too touristy—even for me. It was 5 hours of constant hustling and being assaulted continuously by people trying to sell me everything from trinkets to ice cream. I really was not into taking any good pictures, or at least I was not consciously into taking any good pictures. When I become bored or tense, my creative juices just disappear— I just go flat. I suppose it is hard to stay up for everything, all the time. I am sure even the greatest of photographers have their bad days from time to time. I am no different and when these events occur, I just turn off, look for a good bar and wait for it to pass. It always does. In this case, Instead of taking pictures, I just got into being a tourist, enjoying the views, and having a good lunch. It prevented me from being bummed out all day and certainly made me better company for my wife.

For the most part I am a documentary photographer and most of the time, I have no interest in landscape photography, either as a viewer or photographer. The reason is that most of this stuff is just pretty—and that is not enough to peak my interest. This is not always the case. There are of course great landscape photographs, taken by great photographers, but for the most part, these type of images are just pretty, and nothing more. I look at them—briefly and then quickly move on. They never register with me in any emotional way. So on this day, in this place, being uninterested in shooting my types of images, I shoot landscapes to pass the time. Are they good photographs—not really, they are just pretty, that’s all. However I am sure there are people out there who would think that it is brilliant. Photography is funny that way. Everybody sees their own picture and there is enough of it for everybody.

woman_walking

It occurred to me today that it has been about 10 years since I closed my darkroom and switched to digital. Unlike a lot of photographers who have done the same and either struggled with it or were slow to warm up to it, in my case it was swift and painless. I think it had a lot to do with attitude, since I did not take this step reluctantly, but more important, I was pleased with my initial results and was excited to explore the possibilities in further depth.

We had purchased a small condo in Florida where we planned on spending the winters. It did not have space for a darkroom and I was reluctant to send out film for processing, nor did I want to wait until spring when I returned to Vermont to develop all the film I shot the previous winter so I bought a cheap Canon DSLR to carry me through. I started shooting with it immediately and was surprised by my initial results. It was not the camera that turned me on —it was what I could do to my RAW files in my computer. I realized I had far more control over my images than any amount of darkroom skill would allow. For all of my life, I had shot strictly B&W because I never liked the results that labs printed for my and I never had any desire to process color myself. All of a sudden, I was a master color printer.

I began to see things differently, almost from the start. As a B&W shooter, I had preferred shooting on cloudy days as opposed to direct sunlight. Now direct sunlight became far more interesting. My photographs began to change and I think for the better.