Rumors of my demise…

I’m still alive.  I’ve had a ton to write about as well, but the formula is broken without the images to accompany the narratives.  So I’ve put it all on hold while I’ve focused on making other kind of images using other techniques and technologies and concepts.  The deadlines for the various competitions I usually enter have come and gone.  I haven’t bought a monograph since December and I’ve largely retreated from Instagram except for my @nollergrams account where I’ve been posting my digital sketches.  So if I haven’t been commenting or liking or lol’ing it’s not personal.  I’m just nonexistent in that sphere.  The question is though, have those pursuits been as rewarding as analog street photography?  

The short answer is “not all of the time.”  

The long answer is more complicated but worth sharing.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find shooting digital a difficult circle to square.  The images feel flat, lifeless and lacking in value.  Highlights are wrong.  Shadows are wrong, contrast ratio is wrong and that’s just the aesthetic.  There’s there’s the physicality of it all.  That someone can spray at 10fps on their brand-new A7III and get lucky doesn’t strike me as a skill, it strikes me as equivalent to deer hunting with an AR-15.  Next comes all the Lightroom and Photoshop processing and we’re left with Frankenstein’s monster–a flat, lifeless foggy mirror of reality predicated by an “a la mode” view of current street photography trends.  And I’m not saying that I’m right and nor am I saying that my view is the only view.  I’m just saying it’s the only view that works for me. 

Well fuck that.  

I decided to build my own realities instead.  I realized that if some portion of what I was making was going to possess any single quality I despise with digital street photography then the only solution was to create a reality where none of it was real and thereby not bound to the same stupid dogma I so desperately cling to with my analog themes.  So I kicked my 3d learning into high gear.  It was the only way to break the chain so I decided to shatter that shit into a million tiny pieces.  I started small and built my way up until small props and pieces of my vision came slowly into focus.  Those pieces built on top of each other until I had scenes.  And as I keep learning and those scenes began to move and flow and have their own stories to tell.  I’m not sure I know what those stories are all the time but ultimately I know who’s voice their being told in.  

Mine and only mine.  

I’ve thought about posting those images here on this blog from time to time, but it doesn’t feel right.  They are opposing dichotomies to some extent and holistically intertwined to another.  No Face’s coin.  I have a few ideas for a series of images that could bind these two pursuits together but I’m still not capable enough of an artist so it remains an idea.  Maybe one day I will be but one thing’s for certain, I feel like I have found a side of me that I lost at some point when I was a child.  There’s something so incredibly lego about this creative process, but unlike lego, when I extend beyond my limits it’s super frustrating and I long for those metal-wrought limits of a camera and an uncooperative street scene–it’s just so much easier to come to grips with bridging that reality.  

Shot with my dear old Mamiya6MF on Kodak Tri-X 400 film, push-processed +1 at the Icon.  

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