Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Seeing more/Enjoying less?

Used to be I'd take singular, prolonged pleasure in looking at photography, both in galleries and books. I'd peruse my book collection religiously, studying every photo's details, analyzing how they functioned and why they succeeded, or didn't. And after a great long while after they had ceded their secrets, they'd still reassure one with their grace and stamina.

Now I zip through photographs with the proverbial speed known only to deadline pressured photo editors. No sooner have I whisked through one photographer's website than I find myself looking for the next, hopefully even better high.

Website speed browsing is somewhat understandable. So many images, so easily accessed, more added every day. And web resolution records none of the intimate nuances that often make truly great photographs shine and excel upon closer inspection- that wonderfully illuminated screen is quite deceptive in what it actually delivers. Unfortunately, this web honed viewing expediency has extended to my book viewing habits, which are now discarded sooner and revisited less frequently.

So why am I mutating into an aging speed freak? It really came to a head when I recently rented a darkroom. Long story short, I found I no longer had the patience to dodge, burn and bleach what seemed countless times just to get that one final print. The thrill was gone.

Obviously, I need help. You can't appreciate this medium running through it at light speed, nor continue to learn from it. Seems I got more out of individual photographs when there were less of them out there and not available at a second's notice. I'm seeing more, but enjoying less.

PS- Advice encouraged; pot not an option (even though it did help me appreciate Eggleston back in '76)...

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