i have a day off from practicing and hardly know what to do with myself.
wait: i'm doing
a double portrait session, and then a headshot thing, and then maybe shooting a dance portfolio if the girl gets back to me.
i know i could charge for these and make some pretty decent money but i dont feel like i'm reliable enough behind the camera yet, that i can't reliably produce the images people want. people keep asking me how much i charge and i tell them, "nothing-- this is for my portfolio" when i really mean "oh god, you think they're good enough to pay for?! does this mean that you think i can actually do this? which one of these shots is your favorite? really, but the line here --"
i have fucked up film in almost every way one can fuck up film. i've bent it, scratched it, torn it. i've cut into images with scissors and exposed the entire rolled reel to light. i've chosen canisters with the non-matching lids and so light-polluted the film in waves. i've opened the camera before rolling the film. i've developed film that was never exposed in the first place. i've dropped it and stepped on it. i haven't burned it. i haven't over-developed it. i haven't yet, in any fit of inspiration, eaten it.
this last roll was exposed to light when it was all rolled on the reel (read, no good) but i'm trying to make what images i can out of it. the image below is made from two negatives layered together. the time it took to get an image on the paper was unprecedentedly long -- 40 seconds on full light, as opposed to my average of 6 seconds on a small amount of light --, and i had to use the highest contrast-making filter to get any interesting kind of information.
i'm not particularly fond of this image because i feel like anybody could have made it, if they had access to a dark room and some tenacity. this image didnt need me to make it. maybe i'm being idealistic.
every day i am more and more sure that the quality of the initial image is the most important aspect of the final print. the negative has to be the strongest thing. the moment in the negative has to be the strongest thing. (and a moment that requires me, as an individual, to expose it.) but then it's like sending twenty four or thirty six of my babies, my hopefully strong initial moments, through a treacherous mountain pass of my own fumbling ineptitudes. some of them freeze. a large number are mangled.
so i have to stand in that halfway place between throwing myself totally, heart and soul and breath, into the initial exposures while simultaneously then being willing to never actually be able to do anything with them. bringing them into light and the taking them out.
i keep reminding myself that this is the first test.
meanwhile, the piano and i are pretending to be in a relationship because of the kids. they'll be grown up and recitaled in about two months, so it isnt so bad. the kicker, however, is that the piano and i are living in a tent until the recital. i hate it and i cant get away but, by god, the countdown itself is a prayer.
also, things i learned while doing the shoot with vanessa last weekend:
1. there is a necessary warm-up time (i've noticed this before, but the strongest shots are usually the later shots once you get the blood moving)
2. i need to be more critical in the moment; most of the failed frames could have easily been saved with a hair more attention on my part
3. spontaneous is good
4. i need to be more comfortable and assertive in giving directions; sometimes i worry that it is going to be too posed, too-fourth-grade-yearbook, but sometimes directions can help with the sitter's confidence and that comes across in the exposure
sum: 45 minutes, 150 shots, 10 useable portraits/posters. i feel pretty good about that. there is art, and then there are things you do for money.
see, i can make usable and family-friendly fourth-grade portraits:
took some shots today for a friend's senior recital poster, and then some more for "pictures i can give my family."
this was a snapshot when the LIGHT WAS SO COOL but we weren't in a position to ask the houses to duck down for a sec. i'll probably put a couple more up in a couple of days when i have a bit more time. ones that might actually work for either of her specified purposes.