I've always loved taking pictures, I've always loved photography. I love light. I love the tangible world. I love the relationship of photography to memory. I
bought my Cannon Power Shot SD750 because I had always wanted to own a
camera. Also, I thought that it would be a pleasure and fun to share
taking photographs with Sandra, a wonderful photographer who had not yet crossed the digital
threshold. I wanted to cross it with her. I am totally sympathetic to
old school photography and the dilemmas caused by the phenomenon of
digital photography, but I also appreciate the immediacy of digital photography, especially in relation to the internet.
And it has been so fun. I found myself using Facebook photo albums as a kind of journal. For someone with an intense and elaborate internal life, it’s a joy to focus so much on the external world. I find myself uninhibited by the fear of taking bad pictures, or being cheesy or arty or whatever. My approach is completely naive, although I think that I do have a pretty good eye. Speaking of skills, here's an anecdote.
While I served as interim dean at the Corcoran (1987-1988), I relieved the concentration of administrative work by taking a photography course with my friend and colleague Paul Kennedy, a superb teacher. Another friend and colleague, Bob Epstein was kind enough to loan me one of his cameras for the duration. It didn't go smoothly, not entirely. Paul told me that I had not only made just about every mistake imaginable (such as opening a box of paper in a lighted room), but I’d come up with a few no one else had ever even though of. What’s more, the course was titled Beginning Photography, but I was the only beginner in the class. Everyone else was there (mostly) for darkroom access and (also) to get guidance from Paul. So, whenever I asked dumbass beginner questions, the rest of the class got really pissed. I was wasting their time. My critiques were savage. I made some fairly appealing prints, I thought. They did not agree. One guy virtually foamed at the mouth because of the way I’d used a telephoto lens. He told me I was cheating. I was saved by administrative predicaments requiring my attention and and I quit the course with a couple weeks left.
So, after having a wonderful time with my Power Shot, I began to think about how I could improve my photographic acumen, Take a course? I didn’t think so. Corrective eye surgery? Nah, And so on. And then I got it: I should buy a better camera, which was how I came to own my Leica C-Lux 3.
And so my journal
continues, and I’ve discovered that the process has seriously affected
the way I see. I now see pictures, just the same way language I hear
(or read) leads to poems, and the way stories I used to catch or imagine lead
to fiction. I’m grateful to the digital era for making everything
so much easier (the dark room was the worst aspect of my brilliant photography
career in the late 1980s). And I’m very happy with my journal. You just don't know.