I was in my darkroom last night for the first time in a couple of months. I am currently working on a portrait project for Square Magazine that has taken me away from the red glow of the safe light and the brittle perfume of fixer.
As much as I love still life, there is a lingering connection with a subject when developing their portrait.
The subject continues to look at you long after the portrait session has ended. You recall the conversation, their story. The experience grows a long tail and you become nostalgic.
So last night I asked myself: “Why was I suddenly feeling uninspired as I rocked the developing tray back and forth in the dark, patiently waiting for this “ripe” bulb of garlic to reveal itself.”
Still life photography for me has always been enjoyable. Suddenly I found myself questioning whether or not sill life was worth the effort. To be frank I was a little worried.
Worth the effort? Turns out the answer to my question wasn’t going to be found perched upon a rickety soap box.
Still life as an art form has always been about control. Control over the subject, the composition, the light, the shadows, reflections. The camera. Such mastery emerges slowly after years of practice, making mistakes, learning and more practice.
Last night I reminded myself that in photography – as in life – it is always about the journey, not the destination.
Easier said than done when even a tiny glimpse of the destination makes it difficult to turn back.
Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 120 f4 CF Makro-Plannar
Ilford HP5, ISO 400
Lightrein 400ws strobe with translucent umbrella