No Strings Attached
Photography has become my art.
Photography has become important.
Laden. Very serious.
Photography has become entangled in a web of emotional strings and hang ups.
Recently there have been moments in which I’ve found myself wishing for simpler times, wishing to take a photograph with no strings attached.
Back in 1989 when I discovered photography, when I had no pretensions of being a photographer, it was fun and done for the sheer joy of it, I took snaps and bathed in the simplicity of it. I didn’t mind spending hours in the darkroom printing anything – portraits of friends, holiday memories, pets.
I loved it.
I used a Kodak box brownie 6×9, the camera that brought photography to the masses. I used old bakelite cameras with 127 film. I used my new Nikkormat.
I tried different films, at extreme speeds. I used 3200 ASA films at 24 ASA or 100 ASA at 6400 ASA. I cropped prints into extreme shapes, vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, anything and everything,
I continued to love it.
But slowly, ever so slowly, that enthusiasm, that love turned it into a job. Into something serious, precious, laden with connotations. I no longer took photographs unless it was for a good reason.
The child like enthusiasm had dripped away.
And then, sometime around 2010, 22 years after my first B&W snaps, 18 years after I graduated from college with an-ever-so-serious exhibition of reportage photographs taken in Romania, about 8 years after the concept of West of the Sun had come into my life, I began once more, without realising it, taking photographs for the sake of taking photographs.
I had an I-phone.
Much like a box brownie, it was fixed lens, simple, easy to use and had helped revolutionise photography for the masses.
I could snap, without a second thought. I could snap without worrying about the amount of work needed in the darkroom. I could snap without my Art feeling threatened. I could snap, finally, for the sheer hell of it.
Landscapes I passed when I didn’t have my ‘serious’ camera with me.
Portraits of friends.
Of Carla, my beautiful muse, calling to the very essence of my creativity.
I was even doing what could be considered photographic jobs, taking photographs of Carla at work with Art Model Collective.
I could take wonderful, instinctive photos. I could experiment with the framing, I could have fun, I could still be a photographer, but without all the excess baggage.
What an amazing, creative, fun art form photography was proving to be. Again.
How wonderful to be able to enjoy myself. Again.
And, yes, to enjoy myself with no strings attached.