Photography Before

Photography before the accident was different. Subsequent to the accident, my relationship to photographic imagery has changed. Before the injury, I had a well defined sense of photographic style, an ideal that I strove to reflect in each image. I have no idea how this stylistic ideal originated. I expect it developed organically over a 46 year period (maybe more. My first camera was an Agfa folder found in a cupboard. After I persuaded my parents to buy me some film I was hooked by the discovery of this grainy method of capturing the transient events of life). My photographic experimentation was guided by a study of the photographic “greats,” the acknowledged masters of the medium: Frank, Brandt, Haas, Adams, Porter, Robert Capa, Eugene Smith. I discovered the greater world through their lenses. I discovered a personal world through my own.

Subsequent to the injury, I appear to have lost all connection with this personal sense of style. I found myself unable to create images in the desired way. Instead, I discovered I was recreating precisely the same images in a highly routinized way. This was not noticed until I returned home and downloaded the images from the camera to the computer and then entered them into a media database (Lightroom). Once that was done, I was surprised to see that I was unknowingly repeating the same series of image tropes. In fact I was imaging the same subject from the same position. A little bizarre perhaps, but my entire life has a quality of the unexpected, the sudden confrontation with startling new unknowns.

The other problem I encountered was that I was unable to remember the exact sequence of steps to perform within Photoshop to obtain the precise “look” I wanted. Photoshop is a very flexible program; if you perform the same steps in a different sequence you will alter the final result. Performing steps 1,2,3,4 in that sequence will deliver an image different from the same steps in the order 2,1,4,3. The differences may be subtle but they are nonetheless present.