As promised, I made a little YouTube video to help illustrate the steps involved with loading film into a Mamiya Six IV properly. +1 to karma. 🙂
I was at a small market baseball game last night. Grass and roasted chicken in the air, clouds rolling in across a sunset over left field. Waiting for my friend, I took out my iPad and jotted down a melody to capture the feeling… a tune with touches of Springsteen and Don Henley.
We later won 6-5 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.
Being a film photographer is a rarity these days. When news spreads you take pictures on emulsion, cameras have a habit of working their way into your possession. I have inherited two 1950s rangefinders, a twin-lens reflex Yashicaflex and recently a folding Mamiya Six IV.
One thing that took a while to figure out was how to load the film properly. There are some text-based instructions on the internet which often gloss over an important point. When initially setting the film advance knob to the red spot from where you begin loading of the film, it is crucial that you get the knob to stop just before the red dot, with the advance lever in its neutral position. Doing so gets the knob into the position where the shot indicator ring is disengaged and you can advance the film without the shot indicator moving. Then you move the START line in the film to the white dot inside the body, at which point you may move the advance lever to proceed winding to the 1 position which will coincide properly with the first frame displayed on the backing paper (see below).
I went through about four or five rolls with the knob indicator ring out of sync with the film, quite a waste. The next time I load the film I’ll take a video of this and upload it, as there are no videos to be found showing how to properly load this camera.
Changes in your life are rarely binary. Feelings don’t switch off, they just grow and fade, like needle-thin vines along a weathered fence. The thoughts are with me often, sometimes stronger than others. Sometimes the thoughts need a vacuum to get started.
The sun was warm and the air still; for the first time I could remember. Little of my decision to go out was based on the weather, but it loosened my soul just enough to let all the sensations through past my preoccupied vanity.
Asphalt welcomed the tires of my bicycle. The thin cast wheels spun freely. The humble click of a transmission left open, wind through my hair, and the heft of long, glass lenses in my bag all came together. Wet moss and silt dotted between clumps of dead grass, the hush of the distant highway… each granule of stimulus was noted and catalogued carefully.
I knew the way well enough to keep my nervous nature at bay, and so I took to enjoying really looking at more of the common variety I love about Sweden: rows of houses in a handful of styles tied together with scores of footpaths and bicycle trails. The intention seems to say that urbanization may only go so far; settlements are pockets of humanity along the way and should never become the dominant part of the land.
Paths wind up and down endless hills, through largely untouched fields, running apart and together in so many places. There is some odd sort of blend between relinquishing direction to the terrain and haphazard planning that makes me wonder how much of it is intentional. Is this part of the core of Swedish mindset, or is it pure chance?
Stopping in a field to shoot graffiti on another odd, secluded steel door in the side of a bluff, I begin to take the journey inwards. Where do the boundaries lie between adequate confidence and hubris, how much of the way I behave aids or impedes those around me? Can one explain his heart without words; would doing so form a stronger bond? What do the intangible things that mean so much to me mean, in turn, to others?
The gravel emits a pleasant sound with the twisting of my heel as I turn. I look deep, deep into the field, through it, over the highway, to the sole concrete palace six hundred meters in the distance. The heat and smoke in the horizon clouds the edges of my vision. How can I take a photograph that explains all of this to another person? Focus, composition, the blurring of the periphery, and the shadow layered through each blade of grass that makes up this exquisite tapestry of Söderort. It’s probably beyond my skill, but still worth trying. I hold the camera up to my eye, let out a long breath, and push the shutter. I stand still looking for a second, then move on.
Times away from focused work are dry enough that they can soak up the mood you put yourself in. This is easily accomplished with music, or reading. I think there needs to be a balance in what we consume mentally. Maybe consumption isn’t the right word. I’ve been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance again and it’s coloring my thought. All evaluations of actions and matter is divided into the subjective and objective, the romantic and classic, as Pirsig would say.
I’ve had an opportunity to look at my artistic expression, and that of others, in that dual-pronged way which leads to the evaluation of its quality. Lots of thinking, not much sorted resolution yet. I don’t know how exacting I should be in coming to those kinds of analytic conclusions. “Elliot (Irwin) succeeds in a presentation of society from a whimsical and satirical point of view, but fails to deliver a message of any significant worth.” There’s the word, “worth”, which is indicative of quality. A subjective evaluation of the work is of course going to provide varying results, the opposite would lead to a very cold and rational metric for art, and eliminate all individuality in the field.
So picking apart my feelings and actions is the idle pastime I enjoy while travelling. Whether it produces any long term growth of character I’m not sure, for as I mentioned it all ends rather fuzzy and vague, unrecorded with no notes or deliverables, or checklist for evaluating actionable items after the fact. Yes, we agree to endeavour to do better, to be more sensitive and aware of our actions. But perhaps these distilled spiritual doctrines are exactly what add to the mounting neuroses which impedes my happiness.
I’ve been intentionally avoiding writing lately due to the sensitive nature of what I’ve been working on, which has more or less been the foundation of everything I’ve been working on for the last five months. I started a journey to reinvent myself with a clean break, leaving behind the environment and figures that raised me through adolescence to adulthood. It was scary at first; disconnecting myself from the path I was on with really no idea whatsoever I was going to do was unprecedented for me. But I walked, and I walked, and I thought, and somewhere along the way I found the things that defined me as a professional were the roots I thought I could no longer take strength from.
Art, inspiration, and happiness… I put everything I have into the ideals I’ve carried all the way from youth. I was always afraid that growing up would be the end of what made me who I was, that I’d lose the hopes and dreams that carried me thousands of miles from home. But I now at the threshold of the next fantastic adventure, I find myself just as thrilled and starry-eyed as when I first left America, only now I’m stronger and more focused.
I’ve been writing to a development blog since going independent. I don’t know yet where this is going to fall in my list of priorities in the next chapter of my life, or if Autumn Tactics is going with me to the next continent. Maybe it’s a different blog, maybe part two of the same. Or maybe something just with pictures and captions to bring the taste to your lips.
Anyway it ends up, my period of sequestration is at its end. It’s time to open all the windows and let my song unto the wind.
Some photographs from my latest gallery exhibition, “Tokoya”, are up on my site top page. I’m currently working on a book with the complete set of photographs and interviews from the barbers I worked with on the project. In the meantime this can tide you over.
So as is the nature of things, the closer I get to my exhibition the more focus I gain in my activities and the pressure of time builds. It’s a trade off. I went to the dark room last Sunday and had a long session working some 2L sized prints, but one thing became clear quite quickly: the weighted metering of the A1 was all over the board and pushing all my film two stops had some serious negative effects on my tone gradients. If I was going to do all my prints by hand, it would take an eternity of finding the right time and filter combination for each one and a lot of finessing. So, I made the decision to go with digital prints this time, as I have a lot faster turn around loop in Photoshop than I do in the darkroom. Still, there is much to do. I have almost three hundred people invited to the show in Facebook but only forty replying so far. I need evangelism and physical media. Thus my postcard series charges to the rescue.
いつの頃からか、街から床屋が姿を消し始めた。日本の習慣が変わっても、床屋の店内で、確かな技術を持ち客を待つマスターたちは変わらない。 はさみを握り、くしを持ち、カミソリを磨く。 長年培って来た技術が、その腕にあった。床屋さんは世の中のもやもやとしたストレスを髪と一緒にきれいさっ ぱり切り落としてくれる。男たちは、ただ理容のためだけに通うのではない。密やかにたたずむ店のドアを開けると、１０年以上の付き合いになるマスターが笑顔で待っている。双方の関係は、いつしか気心の知れた存在で親友や親戚に近い。
So, various factors of things changing at home have seen my writing take a dent in the last several months. I have posts, they’re just not migrated yet. I thought the WordPress Android app would solve all of this, but there’s a bug in the version that my phone uses that prevents me from signing in. In any case I’ll retroactively add those posts back ASAP, so follow the RSS. In the meantime, I now have a Google+ page where I also post my photography as close to daily as possible, so please follow. I will be making a David Ventura Photography fan page in Facebook soon as well, but for now I’ve cobbled together a working stopgap for the top page, which has been stripped down and is eventually going to target mobile, but it doesn’t look good in the Android browser yet.
Thanks for keeping up, and if you enjoy my writing or photography, follow me or subscribe with Google Reader!
There are many solutions to any one problem. Ultimately it comes down to a matter of cost, which is a subset of a matter of will. If only will were infinite and nor organic, then life would be simple. But will is a muscle that must be trained. To be precise it is the only muscle that really requires training. When will is supple, everything else falls into place.
At least I went out to buy a couple cans of Creamy Top.
Today is National Foundation Day, so I have time to get some things done. Weekday holidays are always more productive that weekends, because I’m in a work mood. So today I’m going to focus on finishing scanning Kyoto photographs, get some albums up, and a draft of my site renewal. Huzzah!