Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Confessions of a digital photographer 2

A little bit of time has passed and the thread has pretty much run its course so I figured I have one of two choices, I could let it pass quietly into the night or I could try and round it out with one last message.

I have decided for the latter principally to to put my thoughts on the record with respect to responses from my topic starter. The responses to my first, wide ranging, post have extended the scope of the discussion still wider, so I won’t try and address everything that has been raised. Instead I will focus upon two key, and related observations.

The first was that my post was an attack on film and therefore naturally inspired a defence of that medium. The second was that I had gone overboard in using the word “hate”. So was I intending to attack film as a medium used by other people generally? Absolutely not!

The whole intent of my post was to expose my feelings towards film. Far from being a general attack, my post was intensely personal. Doing a quick word count, in an essay of just over 1100 words, I used the word “I” over 70 times. “I” was the most common word used in the piece for a very deliberate reason, as was the use of the word “confession” in the title. The dictionary meaning of a confession is “acknowledgement or avowal; admission or concession”. It was written in that spirit. I was admitting my dirty little secret, I was going public with my feelings on the medium many loved and cherished. I wasn’t intending to launch an argument (though I suppose in retrospect that was inevitable), in fact I explicitly noted that my piece was part of a story, not an argument. Perhaps I should have started "Forgive Dyxum for I hav sinned........"

So why did I use the word hate? Isn’t that deliberately inflammatory? I used the word hate because, frankly, its how I feel. Perhaps I didn’t explain my feelings enough in my piece but the clues were certainly there, particularly in the following passage: “From 17 to 37, twenty years, I reckon I have maybe 100 photos, that’s it. (I have managed to fill in a fair few of these gaps by going through my parents albums fortunately).” What happened during those 20 years? I met friends and lost them. I got married, had three children, travelled the world, learnt to scuba dive and ski. I flew in choppers and jumped out of planes. I raced sailing boats and took up building cars. All of this was covered by about 100 photos. I don’t have the record of those events I might because film was such a painful thing (for me) to use. As I finished my piece: “The truth is film kept me away from photography”

It isn’t logical, it isn’t fair, it doesn’t make sense but I blame film for not having been able to enjoy photography for all those years. In those circumstances I don’t think “hate” is to strong a word. Do I also blame myself? Do I wish I had been able to get through the difficulties of using film – absolutely. I am certainly willing to bear part of the blame, returning to a theme earlier – that’s why I titled this a confession. Anyway that’s it – nothing more from me on this topic (unless someone asks a direct question, ignoring those is just plain rude.)

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