Scattered Thoughts on Photography
The sense of anticipation in the photographic process – from analog to digital photography
I started to take photographs in my teenage years, in the pre-digital era. I mostly relied on the professional development of films; even though at some point I took a darkroom course and started to print my own black and white negatives, I never really got into film development. That meant the inevitable ‘wait’ between the taking of a photo and seeing it.
Then came digital. Photography shops were closing all over the place and even getting films started to be difficult at times. The switch to digital was a bit of an agony for me. My first attempts with a digital camera were disappointing; I found the slowness of the shutter very frustrating and I ended up doing very little photography for a few years… till I met Fuji. In 2016, a colleague had an XT10 at a Christmas dinner party and let me take a few photos… It was love at first sight… I immediately felt at home with the camera’s body and old fashioned dials – very similar to my Pentax film cameras of old – and I was impressed by the quality of the straight-out-of-the-camera images it produced in the low light conditions we were in. I ordered one the following day with a few prime lenses and it is still the highly portable camera I always have in my bag, paired with a small 18 mm lens.
I am aware there are differences between film and digital photography – both technical and ‘behavioural’. One thing that has changed very little for me is the way I photograph. My mode has not changed much since moving to digital. I do not take many more photos than when I was limited by the size of a film roll, nor do I tend to look at a photo immediately after taking it. With digital, the waiting required for the development and print of a film has gone, but I have not allowed this to kill the sense of ‘anticipation’ that came with that wait: I still allow myself some time to think back at that one shot or other before going through them on my monitor. That sense of anticipation is an important part of the creative process, I think, which helps a photo grow and mature and that may reinforce or change what moved one to take the photo in the first place.
I recently had the honour to be asked for an interview by the street photography magazine Inspired Eye. The interview spans pretty much all aspects of my photographic experience and is featured alongside a number of photographs in their issue 121.
I was also invited by Emanuele Andreozzi, an Italian photographer with whom I have the pleasure to work in the f11 Collective, to be interviewed as part of a series of photographic podcasts he has started to develop for his blog Non e’ solo una linea (“it’s not just a line”). It was a rather relaxed chat and I found it very stimulating.
Interviews force one to think of what one does and why and help crystallise one’s thoughts a little bit and this can result in new ideas.
The interview with Emanuele is in Italian and can be listen to here: In conversazione con Catia Montagna.