If A Caveman Owned A Camera

Council House - Press Style
Council House – Press Style

If A Caveman Owned A camera

Its inevitable.  I have to write about old companions.  Leica.  Nikon.  Canon.  Pentax.  Fujica.  So important to me each needs a full stop not a comma.  There’s a hierarchy in the names on the pentaprisms.


The Kingdoms made by the well known photographers through their images, seem to me, to become muddy swamps which hold photographers back from their individual style.  As is the non sense of finding comparison’s with one’s style of work to another’s work.

BANG! Here I go.

If you watch Don MacCullin on his new Canon Sponsored video, where he uses digital cameras, he talks about photographers being at fault when they are ‘peeking’ (looking at the images taken) He says its wrong – well – it is to him – not to the millions who do it!

I feel we are all the better for looking at what we’ve recorded ON THE SPOT when its hot.

The computer I’m writing on.  The scales which horrify me as I stand on them.  The urine test holding the sinister truth.  Are all tests or evidence which guide to make changes.

Or are we fools?  Maybe we are on a holiday of a life time, an important composition has been recorded and it can be checked on the cameras screen. Then, because we’ve listened to MacCullin’s expert tutorial we say within our mind… ‘Oh! No! Big Don the ‘expert’ says this is not what photographers do.  I’ll trust to him.  NOT my internal golden triangle pythagorean theory expertise, that MY inner being seem’s to sense… Or does Big Dom the Profiteer of blood knows best? – He is after all the all seeing know all EyE’ 

No big D’s wrong….

Hey! We haven’t all been scarred by war nightmare’s and he wasn’t there for peanut’s was he?  Your right I will leave him alone.

I wrote about the the worship of idols elsewhere this week.  There is little point in wasting time re-visiting 600 word essays, so, I’ll continue.

I’ve no interest in the style or methods of other photographers.  The artisan should refine his art into uniqueness and the plagiarism of other work is restrictive to progression.  Its worth repeating – It is non sense finding a comparison with one’s style of work to another’s work or attempting to emulate the works of others.  The composition may be similar.  The people, situation, time scale, date, situation, will never be the same.

I believed the best camera I ever used was a Hasselblad Super Wide – Goodness, the filters for it cost the price of a decent camera.  I carried a SWC,  Weston IV light meter and 2 X 12on backs for two years of my life.  ( I only mention the configuration for those who like camerawork )   When life changed, I destroyed all the negatives and trannies taken with the camera and I once believed I was all the better for it… No I’m not, I would like to have those negative’s and Velvia transparencies.  Hell’s teeth they were part of my photographic archive.  Records of my life.

Lost forever in a municipal tip or even worst incinerator.

Note to mind…Never destroy in a moment anything which has taken years to piece together.

I do have 2 Ge-Pe mounted trannies I took with it.  They are worth more to me than gold.  I will never scan them!  I treasure them because in my empirical knowledge the film was with me when I took the picture.  It is a frozen moment of time.

Think about this.  Its amazing.  The Silver Image burned onto the negative by the reflective light of the sun is material evidence of the recording of a moment in time.  The Velvia ( Fuji Slide Film ) WAS in my hands when I recorded the moments in time.  Its a powerful meditation of recollection of memory.  Where was I?  What happened on the day?  I look through the vivid colours and I am there.

The pictures you see on this blog are a strange kind of evidence of the madness of the acute or dedicated photographer who desires the best recording tools money can buy.

Council House - Press Style
One Pound Fruit stall – Press Style

I have a strange addiction of taking pictures on one roll of film which is exposed through differing cameras and lens’s.  The pictures you see in this blog are recorded on ONE roll of 35mm Ilford HP5s – It was use in two different cameras –  And developed in the old “Press Photographer” way.  Which means, it has been developed to get an image from the negative.  The process is aggressive and takes no account of the instrument which recorded the image.

One picture was taken with a peanut price camera/lens combination.  The other taken with what is accepted as one of the best lens’s ever made.  You will never know which was a K priced image or a long forgotten name.  Because the ‘Press’ film development process needs to ensure an image, the film IS over developed by 35% AND the developer is a ‘stock’ solution (ID11 or D23 were the usual solutions).  This builds grain and increases contrast –  The ‘bastard’ is millions of photographers do not realise it is this process of development which forms the magical style on the negative!  The process disadvantages the high priced lens/camera combination.

It is my desire the pictures are more interesting than the camera and lens.

Thats the way with writing and recording ones thoughts.  5 Cent pencil or $2K   MacBook with Scrivener software.  If the writer is not within his own truths.  Recording his own images.  Following his own madness.  Being within his own lies.  Fulfilling his own imaginations.  Recording his words.  Using his OWN creativity to realise his ambitions.  Nothing else will work.  He will fail He will always be like the amateur photographer needing a Leica or Hasselblad.  Many teachers say its not the tools.  Its the creative mind.  Teacher’s teach what they already know.  It seems to me that the perpetual circle of education only teaches the tools (the photographers camera) of words.  Break the circle and your a renegade, maverick, cowboy on the range. Shoot up the town and marry the emancipated school teacher.  Anything happens when your explore the possibilities.

This is why the ‘Press Photograph’ wins.  It images the story at ALL COSTS. The print room could not take a chance on UNDER-DEVLOPING the film or story.  The darkroom technician HAD to over develop the film to get the image and what he revealed was gritty and rough edged.  The reader did not care she knew the meaning of the image.

Artists take the same charcoal used by cavemen and draw on the walls of a dark cave. They know it may take decades before the light of future see’s their creativity.  Write.  Record ones thoughts.  Expose the images for no other reason than you can.  Write so as no multitude understands and one woman can.  And then she becomes captivated and says ‘Who was this man?’


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